The Materials

The Materials

Tribu ornamental jewellery is created from natural materials. We search the world for the best sources in order to ensure the very finest quality and highest standards for each material. Click on the material name to browse items within that category. 

Botanically speaking, a coconut is a fibrous one-seeded drupe, it is not a tree since there is no bark, no branches, or secondary growth. A coconut takes around 11 to 12 months to reach maturity. Tribu's products come from Patchi and Licuri palms. Licuri palm is also called solitary palm of the Brazilian caatinga, being a characteristic of the north-east of the country. Licuri palms were described by an explorer of the new world, and its coconuts provides 90% of the diet to the Lear's Macaw, as well as it is traditional food for people from this region in Brazil. Coconuts are rich in iron, calcium, copper, magnesium, zinc, manganese, mineral salts, and beta-carotene. The colour of the coconut varies from a yellow-beige through mid and dark browns to almost black, depending on the stage of its development. Tribu use many different types of coconuts, carefully selected from all over the world for our different products. Rings and earrings are made from the puttee, a smaller relative of the coconut (each ring from a different nut) and belts from the larger coconut. However, we also have plugs, bracelets, hooks, and pendants made out of coconut shell.

Browse through the according categories and find the perfect item for you.  


We have a vast range of products made up of water buffalo horn, including plugs, split plugs, hooks, split hooks, earrings, cuffs, rings, and pendants. Horn is an organic and biodegradable material that needs special care, such as being stored in a cool, dry place. Usually black but can also be translucent grey with an orange- or greenish tint. It polishes to a very shiny finish and is both strong and durable due to the fibrous structure of the material. Horn is made primarily from keratin fibrous material similar to that found in fingernails, hair and feathers. Our horn is sourced from the domestic water buffaloes, found in Africa and Asia. NOT to be confused with the great American buffalo, which is an endangered species. Water buffaloes are used as ploughs animals, as well as raised for milk and meat in some areas. The horn used to produce ornamental jewellery at Tribu is a by-product of these animals, they are not harmed or killed for the horn. In fact, these animals are treated with all the respect. By using the horn after they are dead is a way of giving importance and meaning to all their remains, rather than leave them to waste.

Horn has been used for centuries across a vast number of cultures as body adornments, as well as was one of the first materials being used for this purpose. As this is a natural product it needs special care and attention, in order to keep a charmed look throughout the times. However, it is good to have in mind that after prolonged wear, horn might lighten its colour. Some of the caring instructions include, cleaning before wearing, with a mild soap and water quickly, drying it immediately after washing, not soaking it. It is also recommended not to shower or swim with horn jewellery. At least twice a month oil it with coconut or jojoba oil, this will help preventing it from cracking. Also, avoid storing it in direct sunlight. 

Browse through our horn categories and find item that suits you the most. 


Bone is a semi-hard, porous organic material made of calcium phosphate and collagen fibre, it is quite light weighted, and can be carved into a variety of shapes. Bone products come in shades of outstanding light of white such as in ivory, to cream colour, with a similar  finish to horn. It can be slightly brittle than horn, yet still a strong material. Equally to horn, bone is a by-product of domesticated animals. The bone used to produce Tribu's ornamental jewellery comes from cows, which are raised by the meat, milk, and leather industries. The animals are not harmed at any stage to obtain their bones. We are following a tribal tradition of not wasting any part of the animal, therefore after the death of the animal their bones are reused to produce delicate and unique pieces of body adornments.

To maintain the natural beauty and smoothness of your bone jewellery, there are simple periodic maintenance tips for you to follow. As this is an organic product you should only wash it with mild antibacterial soap, and a small amount of water. In the case of accidentally been soaked, dry it and oily it immediately. It is also advised to leave it away from direct sunlight storage, and extreme temperatures. In order to revive and sustain its flexibility, you can oil it with coconut, jojoba, or virgin olive oil at last every two weeks. 

Browse through our bone categories, and find beautiful tribal body adornments that will suit you!


At Tribu we only use natural material to produce our carefully designed pieces of body adornment, therefore we could not leave wood out of the picture. There are eight different types of wood which are used for this purpose, Palm wood, Black Wood, Indian Rosewood, Sandalwood, Sono wood, Ghana Wood, Pacific Oak wood, and Olive Wood. Body adornments made of wood are light weighted, and of a vast versatility. The hardness of the wood will depend of the type of wood being used. Body adornments made of wood require specific care, such as being periodically lightly oiled with coconut or jojoba oil, to help it maintain their moister content. This will also prevent the product from becoming too dark throughout the times. Avoid soaking it, as wood absorbs water too quickly. A good advice to keep your wood jewellery with a beautiful appearance for a long time, is from time to time polish it with vegan palm wax. As we like to make the best out of every piece of body adornment, we have items that are inlaid with silver, brass, and also with some gemstones like malachite among other ones.

Browse through our Wood categories and find items in the best wood type for you!

Palm Wood:
This wood varies in colour from pale beige with thick orange veins through to a dark brown with beige veins. It is very light in weight.
Black Wood:
Very black in colour and looks like ebony. It is important not to confuse this material with horn, being a good alternative for people who don't use animal products.
Indian Rosewood:
Dark red hardwood with a natural sheen.
Mid-beige in colour and somewhat oily with a distinctive sweet fragrance. Sandalwood is not used for any piercing jewellery - but mainly for necklaces and bracelets. it naturally occurs in Eastern India in the states of Mysore, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnatika.
Spiritual Uses of Sandalwood:
Sandalwood is used in many different ways in the spiritual traditions of the east. It is considered beneficial for meditation, calming and focusing the mind. It is used in incense in temples or personal altars to remind us of the fragrance of the heavenly realms. Sandalwood was also used to construct parts of temples, when it was more available. Meditation beads or malas are made with sandalwood in which Mantras or a personal prayer is repeated as the beads roll through the fingers. Sandalwood paste is used in many rituals including fire ceremonies and to anoint the forehead as a blessing, as well as to make a design symbolic to particular religious sects. The oil of sandalwood is used to anoint deities. In this way the fragrance which is emitted over time also helps to remind one of the spiritual realm. This oil is one of the best fragrant aids to meditation. A drop or two can be applied to the forehead, the temples or rubbed between the eyebrows before beginning meditation, a way to set the stage and prepare the mind to begin its inward journey.
Sono Wood:
Dalbergia latifolia is a premium-quality timber species internationally known as "Indian Rosewood". It is a mixed brown colour or Dark red hardwood with a natural sheen and is used to manufacture furniture, panelling, and other ornamental products. Medicines and an appetizer are made from tannins in the bark. The tree is commonly called sitsal, beete, shisham or Bombay Blackwood in India, and sonokeling or sonobrits in Indonesia.
Ghana Wood
This is lightwood that originates in Ghana. It is often used in typical Ghanaian woodcarvings and is harder than other types of wood. It's light colour will gradually darken overtime.
Pacific Oak Wood
Misleadingly referred to as Ebony wood in certain parts of Asia. However, Pacific Oak Wood is a lot more like Oak and can only be found in Asia, whereas Ebony comes from Africa and is a lot more dark black in colour than the Pacific Oak Wood.

Olive Wood
Tribu’s Olive Wood originates from olive trees from Ibiza, Spain. Olive Wood is especially hard wood and therefore guarantees longevity. It is also particularly beautiful because of its texture and variation in its natural sandy colours. The Olive tree today is often used as a symbol for peace, because according to the Bible, a dove brought an olive branch to Noah to show that the flood was over. Like most wood, Olive Wood will also darken over time, but its texture will always remain visible. 



Brass is an alloy (mix) of copper and zinc, it is nickel-free. Most horn instruments like tuba and saxophone are made of it. It can be produced in a range of colours, from deep red to golden yellow depends on the metal's polish process. It can be formed into any desire shapes and forms while retaining high strength, that makes it into one of the most popular metals used for jewellery. Brass retains water spots so always dry it immediately and thoroughly. If need of a polish, it can easily be cleaned with a cloth and some fresh lemon juice. Some people have a reaction to brass jewellery as brass oxidizes & develops a patina (changes colour) quite nicely, but because of this, it can turn your skin green if worn for long periods of time, or when wet.


Tribal Silver

Hill Tribe Silver is made by the Karen tribe in Northern Thailand. These handcrafted pieces are 95% to 99% pure silver. The higher silver content (compared to sterling silver, which is 92.5%) makes the pieces softer and easier to shape.
Oxidation, hammer marks, and slight design variances are part of the allure of these distinctive pieces.
Usually, Karen Hill Tribe Silver goes through an oxidation process. This causes the silver items to turn black. The silver is then polished leaving the black colouring only in the grooves of the item, this allows tiny details and patterns to stand out. Please note that many of the pieces will not be stamped as the stamping process is a very costly procedure and many manufacturers cannot afford this.


Gold Filled

Gold filled (also known as "rolled gold") is an actual layer of gold-pressure bonded to another metal (such as brass) and it's the perfect economical alternative to all of you gold lovers. Anyone who can wear gold can wear gold filled jewellery without any worries of any allergies. Not to be confused with gold plating as gold filled literally has 100% more gold than gold plating and offers all the same characteristics as solid gold. It's strength, durability and colour resembles 14 Carat gold. Even with daily wear gold filled items lasts five to thirty years, it does not flake off, rub off or turn colours. The best way you can take care of your gold filled items, is to simply keep away from any chemicals, clean regularly with mildly sudsy water, rinse well and pat dry carefully with a non-scratching cloth. Polish with a jewellery polish cloth.




Petrified Wood

Petrified wood (literally meaning “wood turned into stone” is the name given to a special type of fossilised remains of terrestrial vegetation.
It is the result of the tree having turned completely into stone by the process of per mineralization. All the organic materials have been replaced with minerals (mostly a silicate, such as quartz), while retaining the original structure of the wood. Tribu our petrified wood originates primarily from India.


Ammonites are a group of marine invertebrate animals, which became extinct at the close of the Cretaceous (65.5 Ma) along with the dinosaurs. Tribu’s Ammonites originate from Madagascar, which are known for their iridescence and are often of gem quality when polished. Their colours can range from dark brown to yellow to deep green.


Onyx is a mineral of the Earth that is a compacted and coloured form of quartz. Unlike ordinary quartz, the crystalline structure is fine and compacted, making it ideal for gemstones, and cameos. On the Moh's hardness scale, which ranges from 0 to 10, onyx falls between 6.5 and 7; compared with diamonds, which are 10. Onyx is found in a variety of different colours. At Tribu we use the green and black onyx for our jewellery. Green onyx has a colour range from a very light lime-green colour to a very light forest-green colour. Green onyx is believed to foster achievement, while black onyx is believed to have powers to absorb and transform negative energy. Black onyx is also considered helpful for reducing stress levels and promoting mental health.


Opal is an amorphous form of silica related to quartz, not a mineral. Opal’s internal structure makes it diffract light; depending on the conditions in which it formed it can take on many colours. Opalranges from clear through white, grey, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, magenta, rose, pink, slate, olive, brown and black.Of these hues, the reds against black other most rare, whereas white and greens are the most common. Opal is believed to promote introspection, spark imagination and strength and intuition.


Lava Stone
Lava stone is porous in texture and holds a rich black pigment. The product of cooled magma from the earths core, this stone has been used universally in nearly every culture for jewellery. It is incredibly durable and has been known to have healing properties. Lava is extremely emotionally grounding and helps you to shed unnecessary emotional attachments, due to this it is considered the stone of rebirth. 
Jasper is an aggregate of quartz and/or chalcedony and other mineral elements; this is what gives jasper so many variations in colour. Jasper is most commonly red due to its iron content. Its frequency is slow and constant, aligned with the electromagnetic energies of the planet. It has historically been worn by shamans, priests and kings for protection.
Like Jasper, Agate comes in many forms; it can be banded in layers, striped, eye markings or specks. It has been named the ‘earths rainbow’ and comes in nearly every colour that natural elements can produce. It is a great balance for emotional, physical and intellectual energy.


Obsidian is a volcanic glass formed when lava cools rapidly and does not allow time for crystal growth it is generally dark in appearance, being known for its black sheen. However if there is the presence of impurities or slight stone growth, there can be great variation in its appearance. It has been said that obsidian is the revealer of information both about yourself and the world.