Miami Sisters Make Green Jewelry Out of Nuts and Grass

Entrepreneurs use natural resources to create eco-friendly baubles

How's this for a nutty idea.

Three Miami sisters who are into jewelry are putting an old country idea to use in the hip South Florida accessory scene, making green jewelry out of nuts and grass.

Using the golf ball-sized seeds of a strange looking nut, plucked from palm trees found in the rainforests of South America, the sisters design vibrantly-colored necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings, and flower hairbands.

The Tagua palm nut, commonly referred to as vegetable ivory, is often used as a substitute for elephant ivory and it's widely used in Colombia and Ecuador.

Paola Vargas, 35, hopes to bring the eco-friendly concept to South Florida.

"Long time ago, Tagua was used to make buttons on your clothing during war, then plastic came along and it was not used. Now its coming back again," Vargas said.

Vargas, who also works part-time for an environmental consulting firm, and her two sisters Carla and Laura learned about this natural resource through their Colombian mother, who started making jewelry from the plant back in her country.

For the past year, they've been working out of their Miami condo, handcrafting each eco-friendly piece for their company, Nuna Collections. Each sells for between $15 and $60 on their Website,

The Vargas sisters rely on mother nature for basically all of their materials. In fact, they're now using grass to launch an eco-gold collection.

It's not the grass you see on your lawn, however. Golden grass is found in Brazil, and it's harvested only three months out of the year. The grass is indeed gold in color and it's nearly as shiny as the expensive mineral, but much lighter in weight.

So being that the jewelry is made out of edible ingredients, is it tasty?

"A lot of people have tried it and I don't think it works," Vargas said.

The eco-gold pieces will be on sale in the next few months.

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