See you in Colombia: Vegetal Ivory Earrings

I invite you to join me on an exciting trip to Colombia, where we will explore a new material that could well revolutionize the world of fashion accessories : vegetable ivory!

From respectful harvesting in the jungle to artisanal processing in a committed workshop, discover how this sustainable and elegant seed embodies the perfect alliance between creativity, social responsibility and respect for the environment. Fasten your seat belts, the adventure begins!

Vegetal Ivory: Elegant, Durable and Committed!

Fasten your seat belts, we're heading into the tropical forest, in the heart of a region located in the south of Colombia, called Choco! After several hours of driving, we reached a small village nestled in the middle of the jungle. This is where we will go “hunting” for ivory trees.

Vegetable ivory is a seed that comes from the fruit of certain species of tropical trees, notably the Phytelephas palm. When I mention going hunting, it is because there is no cultivation of Phytelephas palm. These trees grow wild in the jungle, which means knowing where to look is essential to find them and harvest their seeds.
Also known as tagua or corozo, this seed is commonly called vegetable ivory because of its off-white color and texture that is strikingly reminiscent of elephant ivory.

Once you have located a tree, you have to find the seeds which are hidden in a huge prickly and rough bug. Only bugs that have fallen naturally to the ground are harvested, thus contributing to respect for wildlife in these tropical forests.

The seeds will be left to dry for several months, allowing the seed to become as hard as wood.

Everything is transformed

Once the seeds have dried, they can finally be processed. What immediately appealed to me about this material was its low environmental footprint at each stage of the transformation process. Sanding, cutting and carving require minimal use of water. What is particularly surprising is how light this seed is once cut into strips! So imagine the boundless creativity that invaded me when I discovered this seed. In Colombia, the tagua is transformed to create jewelry of all styles and colors, as well as small decorative objects and statuses. The shapes produced are diverse and varied, with the only limit being a size varying between 35 and 50 mm.

Vegetable ivory jewelry and figurines:

I literally fell in love with this material. You know my passion for preserving the planet! Consider for a moment replacing all those plastic or resin accessories with this material! That would be simply fantastic!

Commitment to Social Well-being

Then, I began the search for artisans with whom to collaborate. As you know, it is essential for me to know each craftsman, to work in complete transparency and to understand the impact I have at each moment!

This is how, while browsing a directory, I discovered Olivier's contact! More than 20 years ago, he and his family created a workshop specializing in vegetable ivory. To my great surprise, Olivier is Franco-Colombian. He explained to me that making vegetable ivory jewelry is relatively new for them. Previously, they were dedicated to making buttons. The arrival of China in the fashion industry dethroned them, forcing them to reinvent themselves in jewelry. This proved to be a successful opportunity, and it has seen success since this change.

Olivier also told me that in their workshop, the artisans are pampered and benefit from the best working conditions. They are paid the Colombian minimum wage, enjoy annual vacations, social security coverage, and have access to a retirement plan. This may all seem normal, but let me put you in the local context.

In Colombia, undeclared work is a very widespread practice. So, obtaining working conditions similar to those we could have in Europe is rare.

There remained one aspect to clarify: the dyes. The good point was that the dyes used to color the tagua were certified to European standards. But what about the waste from dyed water? Olivier immediately dispelled my doubts and explained to me that the dye residue was collected and stored in sand, which was then reused in the construction of buildings here in Colombia.

As you know, my main concern in this project is to evaluate its impact on both a social and environmental level. I had finally found a nugget that satisfied the three key questions I always ask myself: Where does the raw material come from? How is it transformed? And who carries out this transformation?

This seed, harvested with respect, then transformed by simple cutting and sculpting methods, in a workshop where working conditions are optimized to ensure a healthy and respectful environment, meets all the ideal conditions. BINGO!

I absolutely wanted to work with this material and support these artisans!

An Elegant and Conscious Choice

This exploration on Colombian soil allowed me to discover a revolutionary material for the world of fashion accessories. I am delighted to have been able to travel to the jungle where these seeds come from and see for myself the positive impact of this material. The process of harvesting, transformation, and the social and environmental commitment of the artisans in Olivier's workshop correspond to the vision that I wish to share through Mazonia.

Discover today the collection of earrings that we have carved from vegetable ivory: link to the collection

With much love,


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