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Tips for buying Tagua Ivory

Travel Tips

Tauga Vegetable Ivory

No visit to Ecuador is complete without a tour of the Tagua “vegetable ivory” factories. The Tagua ivory is widely used as buttons in upscale clothing and the ivory is also carved by the locals for the tourists.

The "Tauga" is a type of coconut tree and the original cluster pods can weigh as much as 25 pounds.


The rock-hard Tagua “nuts” are then separated from the clusters and piled, waiting for their initial finishing:


Next, factory workers get the rough husk is removed, revealing an egg-like white inside which is sliced for buttons.


The rock-hard, ivory-like interior is used to make buttons for upscale clothing. The Tagua is also used to make a variety of tourist crap including statuettes, chess sets and other goodies.




The Tagua are also dyed and carved by local artisans into jewelry, chess sets, statuettes and other souvenirs:



Expect to pay up to $60 for a nice Tagua chess set, and up to $25 for a finely-carved statuette.

 

 

This is an excerpt from the book South America Insider Adventures by Rampant TechPress. 

This is the definitive guide for the U.S. American traveler who seeks to safely explore South America.  You can order it directly from the publisher and save over 30% at this link.


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