By Brecken Branstrator
These Alexandra Mor earrings feature carved tagua seed, black wood and 22-karat gold (price available upon request).
New York--Through a new collection, one fine jewelry designer is hoping to promote an alternative for elephant ivory in the luxury space.

Alexandra Mor is celebrating her eponymous brand’s seventh anniversary with the launch of the Tagua Seeds collection this summer.

The off-white tagua seed comes from six species of palm trees commonly found in the humid rainforests of Central and South America.

Since they are seeds that can be harvested without cutting the plant down, they represent a sustainable resource, and they can be drilled, cut, carved and dyed.

Tagua seeds provide an alternative to ivory because they are quite comparable in hardness, color and texture, even garnering the nickname “vegetable ivory.” In fact, in just one year, a single female tagua palm can produce as much “ivory” as an average African elephant can in its lifetime.

The use of tagua seeds in jewelry is not new, but when Mor learned about them and the opportunities they presents as a botanical alternative, she thought her fine jewelry brand could help to draw attention to the material and help to end the killing of elephants for their ivory, and use her “voice in the industry and among collectors to initiate some important conversations about sustainable and mindful luxury,” she told National Jeweler. 

The project also helps highlight the positive effects the harvesting and use of tagua seeds can have on the communities where they grow.

20170727 Hand with taguaA tagua seed
In Mor’s jewelry collection, the seeds are paired with black and red Balinese wood, Sumatran pearls, 22-karat yellow gold, diamonds and other gems to create the look. The collection includes earrings, rings, necklaces, bracelets, cuffs and a clutch.

Mor sources the seeds from an Ecuadorian supplier but is looking to expand the outreach to include more areas. The jewelry in the line also highlights the craftsmanship and heritage of Bali, working with local master goldsmiths and carvers there to create the pieces and sourcing some materials from Indonesia.

The collection will be priced between $3,000 and $35,000 retail.

The new line will be unveiled during New York Fashion Week, at Vogue Italia’s annual U.S. Protagonist event scheduled for Sept. 6. Eleven other fine jewelry brands will be present at that event.

After that, Tagua Seeds will be sold online at and available to interested retail partners upon request.

Twenty percent of proceeds from the collection will go to an elephant organization, which will be announced soon.

In addition to the launch of the collection, Mor said she also is currently working on creating a nonprofit called the “Tagua Foundation” to help raise awareness about the seeds.

(All prices for pieces in the below slideshow are available upon request.)

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