It is believed that in the mid-1800s the first tagua seeds made their way to Europe used as ship ballast. The Germans were then the first ones to notice the great potential of this material because of its hardness and its resemblance to animal ivory. By the 1860’s the Handelgesselschaft or German House of Tagua was established in Ecuador controlling the market for the production of buttons. Handelgesselschaft open several branch locations along the coast of Ecuador which exported the seed to Europe via the Strait of Magellan through the northern coast of Africa to make its way to Hamburg, Germany. The Germans managed to maintain the secret of the true origin of vegetable ivory for over 50 years. During this time, the Germans were the sole supplier of tagua to the Italian fashion houses.
“Travelling seed, you go from hand to hand with our ancestors, you travel through time knitting life.”