The tagua nut is an extremely hard nut that comes from the ivory-nut palm. Its endosperm can be carved and polished like ivory, making it a botanical alternative to elephant ivory and giving rise to the name "vegetable ivory." Before carving, the nut is covered with a brown, flaky skin and shaped like a small avocado. Tagua nuts can be found in the rainforest, typically on the ground, where their outer skin is eaten by the various animals populating the region.
The nuts' diameter ranges roughly from 4-8 cm in diameter.
Often, these nuts are used for carvings in rings and other figurines as microenterprises for third world countries in South America.