Seed the Difference combines both locally and globally sourced seeds to make our one-of-a-kind jewelry creations. We live next to the Gulf of Mexico, in Sarasota, Florida, and design our line of jewelry from our home.
Our Local Seeds
Our Poinciana seeds are hand collected from the Royal Poinciana trees found locally around Sarasota, FL. Originally from Madagascar, the Royal Poinciana thrives in many tropical parts of the world. In India, it is also known as the “Crown of Krishna.” In addition to their long brown seedpods they display brilliant orange-red flowers.
After the pods have turned brown, the seeds are mature, and naturally shiny. All we need to do, is determine where we would like to drill a hole in order to make a unique piece of jewelry.
Historically, they have been ground up to make a medicinal tea.
There is also a long tradition of using them as amulets for good luck, banishment of ill luck, or to ease childbirth.
We hand collect nickernuts from Nokomis and Caspersen beach areas and then drill holes into them to be used in our jewelry.
Miniature coconut-like seeds are collected from various local palms, including the Foxtail Palm. This palm is endemic to a very small part of Australia, but now has become on of the most popular landscaping palms throughout the tropics. The palm produces a clumps of red fruits that can be up to 2 inches in length. These fruits house the fibrous seeds that we gather, and sand down to use in our jewelry.
Lion’s teeth or lucky seeds are the unusual ‘tooth’ shaped seeds which are from the yellow Oleander (Mexican Oleander) plant. The seeds are very popular in Peru and Mexico, where they are used to make musical instruments, like shakers, or ankle bracelets worn by dancers. The fruit has been known to be prepared into a drink and used in rituals to protect from bad spirits. The bark of the tree is used in controlling fevers in some Asian countries. Medicine for toothaches and skin sores is derived from the seeds and insect repellant from the leaves.
We are currently growing a yellow Oleander plant in our front yard and we harvest seeds at home and from a plant in Englewood, FL.
Coral Bead Seeds
The Coralwood tree or False sandlewood tree is common within the tropics of the old world. We are lucky enough to have a few in Sarasota, FL. The timber of the False sandlewood tree has a high content of aromatic oil and was once harvested heavily for incense production. It produces long thin seed pods that house the small red seeds. These seeds have long been a symbol of love in China and its name in Chinese means “mutual love bean”. While they are toxic if consumed raw, they have nourishing qualities when eaten cooked.
The wood is extremely hard and is used in boat-building, and in making furniture. This tree is also used for making soap and a red dye can be obtained from the wood.
Beach pea or sea pea are perennial plants that grow trailing stems up to 30 inches long, typically on sand, and gravel storm beaches. They have tough roots and purple flowers and are useful as a sand binder. The seeds are known to float in sea water for up to 5 years, and this has led to the unusually extensive range of these plants. The pods can be eaten and the leaves of the plant are used in Chinese traditional medicine.
Globally sourced seeds:
Acai, a palm tree native to Central and South America, produces reddish-purple berries that are now very popular in juices and nutritional supplements. The fruit is known to be high in antioxidants and is now claimed as a “super fruit”. We were very excited to find out that the seeds of this fruit were also used as beads. The seeds are collected, then dried and dyed into many different vibrant colors.
Many of our açai seeds grow in the rain forests of South America. They are truly the gems of the rainforest and have an incredible feeling in your hand. They are also an ecological and social responsible material, providing a sustainable income for the “Ribeirnos” population that lives in the rainforest of Brazil. Preserving the forest became a priority as they can now live from collecting the seeds that won’t bloom, verses mining gold or tree cutting.
The small tree or shrub of the West Indies and tropical South America, produce long, twisted pods that contain the small, brown Dividivi seeds that we use in our jewelry. It is unique in its appearance. The tree rarely reaches it’s maximum height of 9 m because its growth is contorted by the trade winds that batter the exposed coastal sites where it often grows. It is the national tree of Curaçao.
In Venezuela the seeds are sold at local markets to be used in making curative remedies. It is better known for its use in leather production, as tannins can be extracted from Dividivi pods.
Tagua nuts come from the ivory or tagua palms, and are native to Brazil and also grow in the tropical rainforests of Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela. Their scientific name means “plant elephant”, due to the very hard, white endosperm of their seeds, which resembles elephant ivory. Amazingly, these seeds are helping to prevent elephants from being killed for the ivory in their trunks. Equally important, this ‘vegetable ivory’ stimulates local economies in South America, providing an alternative to cutting down rainforests , which in turn favors the ecosystems and the environment. We primarily use the slices of the tagua nut, which have been colorfully dyed or left in their natural state.
The fruit of the tagua palm is almost completely round measuring 8 to 20’ (20 to 50 cm) in diameter with a blackish exterior. It has many ocular cavities each containing two or more seeds. When the fruit starts to ripen it turns into a sweet and pleasant milky substance, transforming later to a gelatinous viscous consistency and finally becoming a extraordinarily hard substance.
We are currently trying to gather more information about this seed. We welcome any information you might have so we can update this section quickly!
Chambimbe seeds come from the Jaboncillo or Western soapberry tree. Its name comes from the Latin word, Sapindus, meaning Indian soap. This tree grows mostly at the heads of prairie ravines, or the margins of woodlands and fields.
It’s Latin name, Sapindus, means Indian soap, because the pulpy fruit contains saponin, which was used as soap by Native Americans. The fruit occur in large pyramidal clusters, and are golden colored. They contain a single black seed that we use in our jewelry. We typically use these seeds for closing our bracelets and necklaces since they are slightly larger than the other seeds.
There are many species of Mucuna Vines found throughout the woodlands of tropical regions of the world. These climbing vines, called lianas, twine through the rain forests trees like “botanical boa constrictors”. Their bat pollinated flowers and pods are produced on long, rope-like stems that hang form the forest canopy.
The seed pods are covered with microscopic velvety hairs that can be extremely painful if they get into your eyes. In Central America, the hairs are stirred into honey as a remedy to dispel intestinal parasites. Each pod produces several hard, marble-like seeds. The seed is known as a deer’s eye, (also known as a bulls-eye or hamburger seed). They are also described as one of the many “sea beans,” because they are commonly carried by rivers into the ocean and eventually wash upon the shore.
Rudraksha, is a large evergreen broad-leaved tree whose seed is traditionally used for prayer beads in Hinduism. Its name in Sanskrit is comprised of Rudra and aksha, meaning ‘Shiva’s eyes’. The tree grows from the foothills of the Himalayas, to Indonesia, Australia and even Hawaii. The seeds are covered by an outer shell of fruit, that is blue in color when fully ripe.
In India, the seeds are used to make a mala, or rosary, which is made up of 108 seeds. It is used for meditation purposes in Hinduism and Buddhism. One Hindu legend says, “Once, Lord Shiva opened His eyes after a long period of yogic meditation, and because of extreme fulfillment He shed a tear. The single tear from Shiva’s eye grew into the rudraksha tree.”
The seed may have anywhere from 1 to 21 faces, with the most common type having five divisions (also symbolic of the five faces of Shiva). According to Ayurvedic medicine, wearing rudraksha can have a positive effect on the heart and nerves, and relieve you from stress, anxiety, depression, and a lack of concentration. They also said to attract wealth into your life!
Job’s tears are tall grain-bearing tropical plants from the grass family, native to Southeast Asia. Nowadays, it grows like a weed throughout tropical regions around the world. The seed itself is perfectly ready for use in making jewelry as it is naturally polished and has a hole through its center!
In Asia, Job’s Tears grains are used as a source of food and can be made into a cereal, or even a type of alcoholic drink. It is also used in traditional Chinese medicine. They are also known as Angel tears or Krishna tears.
Orejuela seeds are from the Guanacaste tree. It is an expansive, flowering tree, native to tropical regions of the Americas and is the national tree of Costa Rica. Guana, means ‘ear’, and Cati, ‘tree’, so guanacati literally means “ear tree”. This is because the seed pods are shaped like big ears. The seeds themselves resemble a brown eye. In Mexico after the pods are harvested, the seeds are boiled and eaten. The pods themselves have a very waxy substance that people use to make soap.