The tagua is a seed from a palm tree that grows in the Amazon region of Ecuador. This seed is used in handicrafts due to its hard and resistant texture, which makes it an excellent substitute for ivory and other similar materials.
The elaboration of tagua handicrafts in Ecuador is a tradition that goes back hundreds of years, local artisans have perfected techniques to carve and mold the tagua into beautiful figures, jewelry, ornaments and other decorative objects.
The product has been in great demand in the countries of the northern hemisphere until the beginning of this century, mainly for the production of tagua buttons and jewelry. It is estimated that, in 1920, 20% of the buttons produced in the United States were made of tagua, coming mainly from Ecuador.
The industry has had a great setback after the Second World War, when plastic almost completely replaced the use of tagua. Today people have become aware of the need to preserve the environment, which is why the demand for tagua handicrafts in the production of buttons, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and handmade figures has grown.
Process of elaboration of tagua handicrafts.
The elaboration of tagua handicrafts is a laborious job for those who are dedicated to carrying out the entire process to transform the raw material into a beautiful handicraft. Next, we present the steps of the process that the tagua must have:
Drying. –When the seeds are collected, they must be dried and two ways can be used, which are: direct drying in the sun for about 60 days or the seeds can also be taken to a dryer where they will be ready in a week, everything is given as you see fit..
Bare. – to remove the skin from the seeds you can use a peeling machine or simply do it manually, it is also advisable to use a small knife to remove the excess.
Seed classification. – The seeds begin to be classified by size, for this the sieves are used.
Mountain range. – Later these are cut one by one into slices with a machine with a saw.
Slice selection. – these slices also begin to be classified according to size. In general, to make the so-called anímelas, only the outer slices of the tagua are used because the seed has a crack in the center, which is not helpful for this work.
Turnstile. –When the slices are chosen, the lathe begins to process one by one, resulting in this way animate them and eyelets.
Chosen from the encouragement. – They are classified according to two ways. The rustic and the standard ones and it is these that can be divided into 5 levels.
Shape the beads and beads.- It is a simple step because the tagua is very versatile.
Quality control 1.- This process is given to eliminate the beads and beads that have some imperfection which in one way or another prevents compliance with the established quality standards.
Polished. – A drum with water and small pieces of ceramics are used to correct the traces in the tagua.
dyed. – For this, water dyes are required, the beads are hydrated for approximately 12 hours until the desired tone is obtained. Then it is left to dry to finally give it a touch of shine.
polished. – Another drum is used with small pieces of wood to give the piece the finish that the client wishes (glossy, semi-glossy, matt, double finish).
Quality Control 2 – Before they begin to be packed, they go through the color sorting machine in order to guarantee color uniformity.
Product packaging. – These pieces are packed to start distributing them to the different places so that they are in charge of transforming them into necklaces, earrings or bracelets or other types of items.
Laser engraving. – This step already depends on what the client wants. That is, if you want to engrave a message or the company logo on the tagua, among others
Tagua handicrafts are very popular in Ecuador and are exported all over the world. In addition to its beauty, tagua is an eco-friendly alternative to ivory and other similar materials, making it a popular choice for environmentally conscious consumers.