Tagua nut

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Carved figurine from tagua nut


A natural replacement for ivory obtained from the tagua palm (Phytelephas equatorialis) that is native to South America. Tagua nuts are harvested, the dried to form a hard, white, carvable material. They have been used since the 1920s as an inexpensive substitute for ivory. Tagua nuts were historically used for buttons and inlays, but in recent years, tourists have created an extensive market for small carved figurines.

Synonyms and Related Terms

tagua palm nut; vegetable ivory

Additional Images

Sources Checked for Data in Record

  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 424

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