Can you use seeds in high-quality jewelry? Should FlorenceJewelshop or any other jewelry designer who makes high-quality pieces of jewelry, unique pieces to unique women, only using gemstones and high-quality silver use seeds in high-quality jewelry designs?

This question occupies me for a long time. Is it the quality of the design that is appealing or the high quality of the material or both? And can you regard seeds as high-quality material? We have to dig deeper into this!

Seeds and stones used in time.

Since the beginning of mankind and since the beginning of the urge of people to decorate themselves, jewelry is made of shells, stones, and seeds. Shells are used first because you don’t need any qualifications to make a hole in a shell and bead it on a piece of fiber.

The next step is using seeds and stones, since making a hole in them needs some practice and you want to dye them, using natural material. For all this, you need some practice and knowledge.

And using seeds and stones in traditional and primitive jewelry is been done for ages and ages. I can remember a birthday that I got a necklace from a friend made of red bean beads.

Seeds and stones used in time.

Since the beginning of mankind and since the beginning of the urge of people to decorate themselves, jewelry is made of shells, stones, and seeds. Shells are used first because you don’t need any qualifications to make a hole in a shell and bead it on a piece of fiber.

The next step is using seeds and stones, since making a hole in them needs some practice and you want to dye them, using natural material. For all this, you need some practice and knowledge.

And using seeds and stones in traditional and primitive jewelry is been done for ages and ages. I can remember a birthday that I got a necklace from a friend made of red bean beads.

Ankle bracelet made of oleander seeds, that makes a rattling sound when you dance. (collection Africa Museum Nijmegen)

What type of seeds and stone to use in jewelry?

There are so many types of seeds and stones to use, that I start with the common ones. Most of the seed jewelry is made of the ordinary palm tree and the cocos palm. You can find them in different natural colors, like brown, blackish or even red, like the pau Brasil and the huayruro seeds. Most of these seeds are found in South America, like in Brasil, Equador, Colombia or Peru. It’s hard work to transform the seeds and stones into beads and most of the time it is done by the people in the slums.

Making tagua beads, the modern way

More exquisite and rare seeds and stones.

The tagua nut

I love the tagua nut. The tagua is a kind of palm tree. When you dry (4-6 months) the nuts, you can carve it and make beads out of it. The outside is brown to black, but when you start carving an off-white color comes up. Since the nuts are a bit flat, they are excellent to make pendants out of them. Or flat beads.

You cannot find tagua nuts on the ground since they grow in a kind of clog in the top of the palm tree. The material is very very hard and it is quite a job to carve beads out of these tagua nuts.

I found some tagua nuts in a little shop near a famous market in Equador. The seller and producer have a lot of work to do before the nuts are ready for selling as beads on a string. After drying, carving, he has to dye them. He used very nice pastel colors and I fell in love with the result.
This Tagua nut is called the ‘ivory of the woods’. It does come from the tusk of elephants, but it is the natural plant variety of the ivory. It’s hard to find and the color reminds us of ivory.

Statement wooden necklace of tagua nuts, palm seeds and coco nut disks

Statement wooden necklace of tagua nuts, palm seeds, sterling silver, and coconut disks

Seeds of a walking tree, or Socratea exorrhiza

These seeds are used for making larger beads and they can be dyed too in great colors. That walking tree is a funny type of tree, that moves about 2-3 feet a year. This tree needs sunlight, which is not always available in a jungle, and besides that, he has to ‘fight’ with the other trees to get enough sunlight.

It found a very intelligent way of getting to the sunlight. Normally a tree has a trunk and branches with leaves and he stands in the ground wit hits roots. This walking tree has a trunk and leaves but the roots are not in the ground but a bit above it. When the tree wants to move towards the light there is a new root growing from the trunk and it hits the ground about 2-3 feet from the trunk. And the trunk leans during a time more on that new root, and more towards the sunlight.

Wooden statement necklace made of tagua nuts, shell pearls

The dilemma: non-precious material in jewelry?

Normally I only use gemstones and silver (sometimes gold or vermeil) of high quality. I buy my material myself to be sure of buying the right quality. And since I buy it on one of my frequent travels, every bead has a story, and the stories together from the piece of jewelry I design and produce. And I am always looking for exceptional material, regarding shape or color.

Besides that, I use also coral, mother of pearl, pearls, shell pearls and abalone shells in my designs. And gemstones are just as natural as the tagua and palm nuts.

The tagua nuts have a high quality, exceptionally beautiful, great and unusual shape, stunning colors. And even the rather ordinary palm seeds or nuts I bought in Equador were very professionally carved and dyed.

You already guessed it… I made two necklaces out of the palm tree and tagua nuts and let you decide whether they are great or very great 😊 Look for yourself! I won’t make more of them since I don’t go there in the near future and I used all the nut beads in these two necklaces. You cannot get it more unique and exclusive!

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