Also known as tagua, corozo is a species of tropical palm found in northwest South America, starting north of Peru, all throughout Ecuador and Colombia, and southern Panama. The palm produces large fruits which contain seeds that are carefully collected, processed and used to make everything from artisanal figurines to high quality buttons.
Artists and manufacturers can make corozo into an endless number of beautiful items because, being less porous than ivory, it withstands most mechanized actions. Corozo can be treated with a laser, cut, pressed, heated, burned, bleached, tinted, and polished to extraordinarily bright finishes. After these treatments, the final appearance can be breathtaking. Corozo is a wonderful choice for buttons and other accessories, as well as for fine jewelry and other applications.
Absolutely. corozo seeds can be collected only after they fall naturally from the tree. Seeds that are picked from the palm before they fall are not ripe enough for button production. For this reason, our button production never harms the palm trees.
Corozo grows most commonly in remote areas of higher elevation. The process required to gather and transform these seeds from their original form into raw material is relatively simple, but it involves many steps. People with relatively little training can gather, prepare, dry, peel, cut, turn, grade and transport the seeds. Our process, which requires over five hundred thousand pounds of seeds every month, generates over one thousand full-time and part-time low-skill labor jobs in depressed and impoverished communities. These jobs help the communities to grow economically and prosper and, consequently, our button production increases the quality of life for the residents.
At a microscopic level, corozo is composed of very tightly wound fibers. Therefore, articles made of corozo are naturally durable, with excellent scratch, heat, impact and weather resistance. Clothing with corozo buttons can be machine washed, steamed, dry cleaned and even ironed with no harmful effects. Corozo is, however, a porous material that should not be submerged underwater for extended periods of time (24 hours or longer) as some warping may occur.
As the natural process of germination occurs, changes in the speed and density of seed formation create layers with subtly different densities. Because buttons are made from seed slices, these layers, with their beautiful, fingerprint-like patterns, are often visible.
No, because of the superior dyeing process we use, the buttons absorb the color several millimeters below the surface. That means the colors of our buttons will not run or get scraped off with a scratch.