Our new store item, the MUTTS Tagua Necklace, has an interesting backstory. First, a “tagua” is a nut, so though we could have called it the MUTTS Nut Necklace, we decided Tagua was a bit more specific, even if also a bit more mysterious.

So what is a tagua nut?

The tagua is one of several nuts encased within the fruit, or “head,” of the tagua tree, a type of palm. Three times a year, approximately 15-16 heads drop to the rainforest floor of Ecuador. Though the tree doesn’t produce fruit for the first 15 or so years, it continues to produce tagua nuts throughout its 100 or so year lifespan, making this a remarkable renewable resource. In fact, prior to the introduction of inexpensive plastic buttons in the 1920s, 20% of the buttons manufactured in the United States were made from tagua nuts, bringing $5 million into Ecuador yearly.

Today, there are organizations focused on the tagua nut as a renewable, sustainably harvested resource for many products. But for that to work, profits must go back into the community they originate from. That means supporting Fair Trade labor standards and providing opportunities for the individuals living and working there to ensure and nurture economic self-sufficiency, including empowering artisans to participate in all levels of the development of tagua products.

The yin-yang symbol of Mooch and Earl originated in one of Patrick’s classic Sunday title panels. One meaning of yin and yang seeks balance between two complementary, yet opposing concepts, the perfect setting for our two lovable MUTTS favorites.

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