The origin of a beautiful and exotic piece of work: Tagua Beads!

The origin of a beautiful and exotic piece of work: Tagua Beads!

You might ask what is Exotic Ivory? Well, let me tell you that in tropical and humid mountains of Ecuador there is a singular plant called Tagua, also called exotic ivory or vegetable ivory too. Wait a minute...! A tree plant called vegetable ivory!? Is that possible? Well, to give you an scientific explanation: Tagua because of its morphology looks like palms, but is not a botanically palmácea but belongs to the Ciclantáceas family.

Its scientific name is Phytelephas Aequatorialis. Etymologically from the Greek PhytelephasPhyton = plant and Elephas = ivory, ie plant ivory or vegetable ivory, or Tagua or Exotic Ivory. Wow, so many names for a palm treeTagua is remarkably similar to animal ivory in both looks and feel. Tagua is durable and easily carved, and it even mimics the porosity of animal ivory. The biggest difference: Elephant do not have to die.

The use of Tagua Beads increments the interest to protect Tagua Palms and therefore the Rain Forest. To get good nuts, mocochas (bag where the nuts are inside) have to drop off the palm by themselves. To protect quality of beads, palms must be taken care of, reforestation and so on. It is a cycle!

Well, I don't pretent to bore you, so let's skip this and go to the interesting part. The true is that this material is hard and looks like animal ivory, and it is completely natural. Therefore, we have ivory, but elephants don't have to die. How cool is that, ah?

Tagua is so versatile that we can use it to manufacture decorative figurines, buttons for the fashion industry, and also beads for jewelry making, which is very suitable for women in different countries of the world.

Fair Trade?

People always ask us whether the beads are fair trade. Not only do our customers ask this, some have turned up to inspect our factory! To be honest, we not know much about the trading within the rain forest areas as it is informal and not yet regulated. For an idea: " A family gathers 2 pounds of nuts, gets a boat across the river, gets to the town and sell it to local merchants." From that point though, trading is traceable. We pay a fair price and treat our workers fairly.

I'd like to take this opportunity to let you people know what the real process to manufacture the wonderful tagua beads is... Shall begin!?

The Beginning of a beautiful piece or work, exotic ivory bead:

1.- Drying: 

After the tagua seeds are collected we need to dry them. We can use 2 options. 1st option: sun-drying which takes approximately 60 days and is more desirable since it gives a better quality nut. 2nd option is to place the nuts in a dryer. This accelerates the process and it takes about a week. Quality is very good also, but sunlight is better.

2.- Peeling:

Using a peeling machine or a machete knife, we remove the skin of the tagua nuts. To remove any excess is used a small knife.

3.- Nut Selection:  

The next step is to sort the seeds by size using sieves with different sized holes. This is very important to offer a wide variety of seed beads sizes.

 

4.- Cutting:  

Then we use a saw-machine to cut the seeds into slices.

5.- Slice selection:  

The slices are selected according to size. It should be noted that only the outer slices of the tagua are used for animelas (blank) manufacturing or also called tagua disks.

6.- Drilling:  

We drill the chosen slices obtaining tagua blanks and eyelets.

 

7.- Blanks selection:  

Blanks are chosen according to two types: rustic and standards. Standards can be divided into 5 levels from 1st white, 1st light cream, cream, second and third. These blanks are used for making beads but most of all are used for making buttons, which are the designer's choice to use with clothing.

8.- Shaping beads.-

Tagua is very versatile and almost everything is used to make beads for jewerly making.

Seeds, slices and blanks are transformed into bead crafts using an automatic machine, however many beads are handmade.

9.- Quality Control 1 .- 

Once we have shaped the beads, we proceed to reject the parts showing defects and that do not meet quality standards. This process is manual, due to the many shapes and sizes we produce.

 

10.- Polishing: 

To correct any sign of tools usage we place tagua beads into drum barrels filled with water and small ceramic parts and let it shake for a while. We then rinse and dry the beads.

11.- Dyeing: 

To give the required color beads have to hydrate for a period of 12 hours and then shade is given using dyes and water. Once dyeing is completed, the beads are left to dry. We polish beads once dried. We use dyes toxic free on our premium beads, 100% guarantee!

12.- Polishing and Brightness: 

After beads are completely dried, we place then into another drum barrel with small pieces of wood in order to give the finish customers want (polished, semi-gloss, matte, double finish).

 

13.- Quality Control 2 - Color Selection:

Before the beads are packed must pass through the color sorting machine to guarantee the uniformity of tone in the seed beads colors.

14.- Quality Control 3 - Imperfections Selection:

This quality control is done manually, where trained personal rejects any bead that does not meet our high quality standards. Any bead that presents imperfections such as cracks, color variations, breaks, or even the tiniest one will be rejected.

15.- Product Packaging:

Finally tagua beads are packed for distribution and marketing in differente beads store jewelry, bead shops, and so on, to then be transformed into beautiful artisan jewelry such as bracelets, earrings, necklaces and all kind of beaded artwork you can ever dream of.

 

16.- Product Stock Room:

Finally tagua beads are packed for distribution and marketing in differente beads store jewelry, bead shops, and so on, to then be transformed into beautiful artisan jewelry such as bracelets, earrings, necklaces and all kind of beaded artwork you can ever dream of.

17.- Finished Product:

Finally tagua beads are packed for distribution and marketing in differente beads store jewelry, bead shops, and so on, to then be transformed into beautiful artisan jewelry such as bracelets, earrings, necklaces and all kind of beaded artwork you can ever dream of.

18.- Laser engraving:

We can engrave with laser almost any artwork you want. Eco Ivory Tagua beads customized with the logo of your company, or a love message, etc., are the perfect souveniers for any ocassion. Contact us for more info

Posted on 09/29/2014 by EcuadorianHands Beads and Jewellery 0 882

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