Tagua Nut in Contemporary Design

Christiane Theise is a German artist who carves tagua nut (vegetable ivory) into the most amazing jewelry.

The tagua nut is the seed of the Phytelephas macrocarpa, a low South American palm. When the seed is mature it has a similar density and color as animal  ivory -- thus its nickname "vegetable ivory." In the 1900's it was exported for the manufacture of buttons, but after the Second World War it was replaced by plastic buttons.