The dark brown, glossy seeds in the jewelry come from the fruit of the Tamarind Tree. Tama- rind trees grow in tropical areas around the world and are prolific in the Caribbean where the fruit is eaten raw (green or ripe) and turned into drinks, jam, candy, ice cream, chutney and seasoning.
The tree can live over 150 years and grows up to 80 feet in height with a canopy that can span up to 40 feet. It is a great climbing tree, provides wonderful shade and has a beautiful, graceful appearance with its fine foliage. The wood is sometimes used to make furniture and wood flooring, the seeds are used to produce pectin, and the leaves and fruit are also used medicinally. Young tamarind fruit are green and as they mature the flesh turns to a reddish - brown and the skin hardens into a brown shell that is brittle.
Mature fruit look like a curved and bulging bean pod. Inside is a soft pulp around hard seeds. In Nevis most visi- tors will taste the mature tamarind fruit that has been de - shelled and has a little sugar on it - the seeds still inside - as it is commonly sold as a popular local "sweetie." The tamarind jam is well - loved by school children and it is sold in little plastic cups that they lick right out of. The tamarind tree in our yard was planted by Lightnin' about 5 years ago and now bears the sweetest fruits that the kids fight over. You simply crack off the dry, brown shell and suck on the fruit, which is tangy, and spit out the seed. These are the seeds that we then drill and use in jewelry. Yes, someone sucked on that seed you are wearing! But these are one of the few seeds that we treat with a fine glaze so that they retain their natural shiny coat. When you visit Nevis, seek out the Tamarind and try it for yourself, straight off the tree or made into a local product. And if it strikes your fancy - seek us out for a piece of tamarind jewelry to remind you of your amazing Nevis experience!