Friday’s Favorites is all about “tagua nut buttons”. The vintage buttons on the necklace and bracelet are made almost entirely from tagua nut (the necklace has a few celluloid buttons). I have used mostly natural colored buttons, but a few have a darker brown dye added to the carved ones, some even have a cross-hatch pattern which is quite pretty. I used a variety of buttons on the necklace, two hole, four hole and shank; in designs such as “fish eye” and whistle; where as on the bracelet just shank buttons. The vintage roses on the necklace are carved Bakelite, and the round discs on the bracelet are wood. The necklace is a variation of my “Vintage Bling Bling” pattern, and the bracelet is the “Bohemian Button Bracelet” pattern.
Vegetable Ivory- or Tagua Nut from the Corozo Palm (except from Button Identification and Cleaning)
This nut comes from the Corozo Palm that grows in South America. It is a hard, versatile nut that can be carved and dyed. It has been used since the late 19th century s an alternative to ivory because the striations of the nut resemble those in ivory. It is softer than bone. The dye only absorbs on the surface layer, so the carving is left as the natural color of the nut. The tagua nut was popular from 1890- 1920, but has found resurgence since 1990.
All of these buttons here except for the red button are vintage.
What is amazing about tagua nut buttons is that each vintage one is made, one at a time, hand carved, hand dyed. Pretty remarkable.
The colors are so pretty close-up, rich natural browns; when dyed the colors tended to be greens both dark and light; black (which I ask what is the point because it is hard to see the beauty of the nut); browns from light to dark; and red as seen in the group that is tied together, notice the carving and how it shows the nut underneath. Some tagua nut buttons were inlaid with shell, or metal, some were dyed, carved and another color rubbed into the carving.
For further reading may I suggest “Button Button Identification & Price Guide”.
Enjoy your day, play in the button box if you have time! Christen