A story from the BBC about a special South American seed called tagua, called the vegetable ivory:
They are the off-white coloured seeds of six species of palm trees. They can reach up to 9cm (3.5 inches) in length and when dried become very hard indeed. So hard in fact that they are also known as “vegetable ivory”.
And like ivory, tagua can be polished and carved, and turned into ornate carvings or jewellery.
Tagua has gotten more popular as people look for alternatives to ivory. A French jeweler, Nodova, sold $300,000 euros worth of tagua jewelry last year alone. Tagua costs about $30 per kg.
Sadly, elephant ivory is seen as more desirable by the ultra wealthy as it is a very limited resource. It still carries prestige rather than shame in certain circles.
Photo: tagua in a locket, Flickr by Meryl, Wikipedia