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Beans from Trees

All trees produce seeds, but not all are considered beans, much less sea-beans. More often the seed pods have floatation abilities, though short as they are since salt water starts to break them down as soon as they get wet. These are a collection of my favorite tree seeds that I consider worthy of jewelry and craft design.

All specifications are written Width x Height x Thickness / Quantity polished purchases will be matched for size and color when possible.

Guanacaste (Enterolobium cyclocarpum)

Origin: Costa Rica

Specifications: 9mm x 14mm (± .5mm)

Price: Polished starting at $9.95 for 20 grams (± 26 beans)

One of the most beautiful beans of the New World tropics comes from a huge canopy tree. It is a fast growing species and one of the largest trees found in Central America. The word Guanacaste, which is also the name of the Costa Rican province of Guanacaste, is of Nahuatl origin and means "ear tree." The coiled, leathery pods resemble the shape of a human ear. Guanacaste seeds have a distinctive brown "eye" and make some of the most striking seed jewelry.


Makha-Mong (Afzelia xylocarpa)

Origin: Thailand

Specifications: 16mm x 20mm (± 1mm)

Price: Polished starting at $5.95 each

This tree grows in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Burma in deciduous forests. In Southeast Asia, the seeds are harvested for medicinal purposes. The seed pulp can be used to make cigarettes, and the bark and seed are used for herbal medicine. The highly figured lumber is often sold as Afzelia Xylay. The wood is used for ornamental woodturning, pens, knife handles, carvings, and musical instruments.


Laurelwood (Calophyllum calaba)

Origin: Florida

Specifications: Small 15mm round (± 1mm) / Large 25mm round (± 2mm)

Price: Polished starting at $5.95 for three

Also as santa-marĂ­a or false-mamey, this medium-sized tropical evergreen tree is frequently used for reforestation, as a shade tree or a protective hedge. The seeds are perfectly round and coloring runs from light beige to dark brown. At certain times of the year, they can be plentiful on beaches, looking like small ping-pong balls. Polishing brings out their natural coloring.


Royal Poinciana (Delonix regia)

Origin: Florida

Specifications: 6mm x 20mm (± .5mm)

Price: Polished starting at $9.95 for 20 grams (± 38 beans)

In the Caribbean, the pods from these trees are used for fuel and called "woman's tongue" for the rattling noise they make when the wind blows them. The empty pods are classified as sea-beans but only have a maximum flotation of about a month. The seeds are gathered from pods and fashioned into jewelry around the world.


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