Several weeks ago I participated in a most interesting event. I had been approached by Vogue Gioiello earlier this year about it and was immediately enamored. The entire event is to support elephant habitat conservation efforts, not only by donating a 20% of the proceeds of sales to the WIldlife Conservation Society, but by promoting the usage of Tagua nuts in jewelry. The tagua nut is a fascinating and as yet still little known material sometimes known as vegetable ivory or palm ivory as a result of its strong resemblance to elephant ivory. Many elephant conservation organizations encourage the usage of tagua in jewelry to replace the poaching of elephants for their tusks.
As a vegetarian of 35 years and an animal lover, this cause has always been dear to my heart, but took on a special meaning for me after my visit to Thailand in January. There, my family and I firsthand witnessed cruelty to elephants at a tourist institution, and subsequently spent a day at a wonderful elephant camp near Chiang Mai (see HERE to read my account and see some photos of this incredible trip) where I spent time with people whose lives are devoted to the ethical treatment of elephants. While the mistreatment for tourism and entertainment purposes is completely different from the killing of these majestic creatures for their tusks, it nevertheless puts a face to this specific brand of cruelty, and ignited a fire
It was my pleasure to design a necklace featuring a carved tagua nut, and incorporate it into a style that is so personal to me.
Coverage of the event by Vogue Italia can be seen HERE