Tagua Chess Pieces

Brand-new in stock and we are probably the only UK chess retailer to offer you chess pieces of a different kind: Tagua. Tagua is a natural material, gaining increasingly in popularity due to its fantastic properties and being environmentally friendly. It is great for artwork and our tagua chess sets are living proof of what can be achieved by combining an exceptional material from nature with superb craftmanship from rural Ecuador.

While this new section is still small, we keep expanding it with more sets and it's worth to regularly check for new ranges

While it is possible to play chess with those sets, they are better suited for decorative purposes and due to the nature of the product a smaller board of 45-50 mm square size accomodates the pieces snuggly and well. Do you prefer using a bigger board but don't know how it will look like? Make use of our Photo Service and we show you the pieces on a board in the size of your choice.

The Andes
The Andes

What better design than an Andean style can there be for Tagua Ches...

£ 120.00

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Tournament (Staunton Style)
Tournament (Staunton Style)

Most tagua sets are of artistic nature and therefore not ideal to p...

£ 120.00

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If you are looking for a chess set with a maritime theme or perhaps...

£ 130.00

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An interesting alternative to the usual materials – wood, stone, metal – used for chess pieces is tagua. It inhibits some very excellent qualities and allows for the crafting of stunning chess pieces while being environmentally friendly.

So what is Tagua? Tagua is the fruit from the tagua nut tree and most of those trees grow in Ecuador. Since only the nuts are collected, trees don't need be be felled or otherwise harmed to get access to this wonderful resource. On the contrary, locals often care for the trees since they provide an etthical income source for them, free of planting opium or otherwise engage in illegal activities. As such, tagua is both good for the environment as well as an ethical traded resource.

Tagua nuts can be eaten but once dried they possess a great hardness, similar to that of bone, which makes it an ideal material for carving. Its colour is similar to ivory and for that reason it is commonly referred to as "vegetable ivory", but it can be easily discerned from real, animal ivory. Therefore, you can get beautiful chess pieces and other artwork which closely resembles real ivory, without the problems of poaching and slaughtering of animals being involved. It is also easily dyed and allows for a multitude of colourful variations and subtle shades, something which is harder to achieve with wood.

While tagua is a wonderful natural product with amasing properties, it is of course not perfect, and it would not be fair to only look at its positive attributes while concealing the less good ones. One of the biggest drawbacks you will find is that nuts are limited in size. Thus, any bigger artwork or chess pieces are assembled by smaller parts instead of crafted from a single piece. The same is true for some chess pieces made from bone or wood, but in the case of tagua it is certainly true for any chess piece of a decent size. Therefore, tagua chess pieces are normally smaller in size than their wooden counterparts and this can be beneficial if you don't have the space to put a big chess set on display but still want to exhibit chess pieces of outstanding artistic qualities. An other thing to pay attention to is that it breaks easier than wood does due to its hardness and the lack of fibres to give it additional strength as is the case for wood. But it is exactly the hardness which allows for fine details and great carving properties. Lastly, being a natural product, it can decay if not properly taken care of. While the same is true for wood, tagua is more susceptible to it than good quality hardwood. But would you really want to store such gorgeous chess pieces in a dark damp place? Probably not!

We hope you find this information about tagua useful and you can always talk to us should you have any further questions.

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Lion Chess Blog

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