Corozo nut from the Tagua Palm

There’s something almost magical about the corozo nut from the Tagua Palm. Nothing embodies natural luxury better.

When sanded into button form, its wave-like unique grain is highlighted to stunning effect and nails the look of casual discernment, especially if left in its natural ivory shade. And yet the porous nature of corozo makes it perfect for dyeing to match garment colour. The pigments penetrate so well that they glisten better than most man-made materials. Given its similar consistency to a hard resin, corozo proves how versatile it can be when lasered, pressed, heated, burned or bleached. At microscopic level, corozo is made up of tightly wound organic fibres, making it incredibly durable and scratch resistant. When looking to nature to find versatility and durability in design and application, there’s no going past this sustainable material.

Corozo nut is actually a seed from the tropical Tagua palm tree. Its botanical name is phytelephas macrocarpas, which translates to “plant elephant” in reference to the large size of both the fruit and its seeds. It is also often referred to as vegetable ivory, because of its similar colouration to elephant tusk. The dark brown fruit has a diameter of about 30cm or one foot and is covered in hard spikes that encase the cone-like clusters of seeds, referred to as the corozo nuts.

Corozo buttonsCorozo buttons in their natural ivory colour.

 Raw corozo nuts from the Tagua palm.

Tagua palms grow extensively in South America, all the way from northern Peru, through Ecuador and Colombia down to southern Panama. The corozo buttons that feature on all the Kerrin shirts, deck shorts and the all-days denim short are manufactured in northern Portugal using natural corozo specifically sourced from Tagua palms in Ecuador. The corozo arrives at the factory in Portugal in the form of “blanks”, essentially slices of corozo that can be styled into any finished button shape. The most exacting design request can be achieved by making a steel cutting tool, where the “blanks” are poured into a hopper at the top of the cutting machine, then clamped tightly as they move toward the cutting tool. This part of the process is known as styling the blanks: a spinning blade advances, then retracts before the button moves beneath the set of drills that create the button holes. Like the cutting tool proper, the hole drills can achieve precise design specifications, for example whether two holes or four, the diameter of each hole and what space is to be left between the holes.

After the blanks have been styled, they go through a finishing process where they go through a hexagonal tumbling drum for up to 24 hours that contains water, a foaming agent and an abrasive material. The buttons get bounced around until they are smooth and ready for your new favourite Kerrin holiday shirt.



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