A warm welcome to our guest blog post written by Tracey of Artisans In The Andes,  a family run business based in Ecuador………..

Sometimes issues of sustainability feel far away and irrelevant to our lives and choices of the moment. But take a deep breath – 20% of the oxygen you just breathed was from the Amazon rainforest.  And the rainforest is disappearing quickly. It used to cover 14% of the earth and now it’s down to just 6%.  The rainforest is being cut down by short sighted corporations who are using the timber and repurposing the land for mining and farming.  We need to switch this thinking around.  What the rainforest produces now is of great value. Like oxygen and medicine. But more importantly – Fashion!  

beaded earrings blue brown acai nut danglingbeaded earrings blue brown acai nut dangling

In my shop, Artisans in the Andes , we have chosen to focus on jewelry made from seeds and nuts that naturally and sustainably produced by the Amazon rainforest.  Harvested from Amazon palm trees, nuts like tagua can be made into fabulous beads for chunky, unique jewelry.  The tagua palm trees produce seeds and nuts for 50 years, it doesn’t hurt the tree or damage the rainforest to harvest the nuts. 

Blue Hugs and Kisses Beaded Tagua BraceltsBlue Hugs and Kisses Beaded Tagua Bracelts

Tagua is a large nut, about 4 times larger than a Brazil nut. It is very hard, and once dried in the sun, it is even harder. Once dried, it can be cut, carved and shaped into beads. Tagua is similar in texture to ivory – hard and smooth and fine to the touch. Sometimes it’s even called vegetable ivory. Tagua was widely used for buttons before plastic buttons were invented. Within the hands of an experienced artisan, tagua retains its organic character of swirls and markings. Each tagua bead is distinctive and beautiful.  Tagua also takes dye easily, so the beads are vibrant and luxurious, making for stunning jewelry without harsh chemicals. Check out this necklace made with tagua.   

Beaded Necklace Orange Tagua SliceBeaded Necklace Orange Tagua Slice

There is a lot of talk in the fashion industry these days about sustainability and being environmentally friendly. People are recognizing the environmental and societal costs of harvesting cotton and mining gold. Our choices in fashion reflect both our values and our uniqueness as an individual. Jewelry made from the seeds and nuts of the rainforest is a perfect marriage of sustainable values and beautiful fashion. 

Guest blog post by: Tracey of Artisans In The Andes

www.ArtisansintheAndes.com – fair trade, lovingly made
www.tbeads.artfire.com – handmade wire wrapped jewelry