Extremely rare double coco de mer, polished, Seychelles, circa 1900

Extremely rare double coco de mer, polished, Seychelles, circa 1900


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A late Victorian Coco de Mer (also known as a sea coconut) polished to a high gloss finish. This is one of the most unusual item for any collector but what makes this one particularly rare is the fact it has both halves of the nut still together (more commonly there's only one half).  

Formerly known as Maldive coconut, its scientific name, Lodoicea maldivica, originated before the 18th century when the Seychelles were uninhabited. In centuries past the coconuts that fell from the trees and ended up in the sea would be carried away eastwards by the prevailing sea currents. The nuts can only float after the germination process, when they are hollow. In this way many drifted to the Maldives where they were gathered from the beaches and valued as an important trade and medicinal item. This association is reflected in one of the plant's archaic botanical names, Lodoicea callipyge in which callipyge is from Greek words meaning 'beautiful buttocks'.

Until the true source of the nut was discovered in 1768 by Dufresne, it was believed by many to grow on a mythical tree at the bottom of the sea. European nobles in the sixteenth century would often have the shells of these nuts polished and decorated with valuable jewels as collectibles for their private galleries. The coco de mer tree is now a rare and protected species.

Condition: In perfect condition aside from remnants of modern putty/glue in the middle of the nut where the two halves appear to have been stuck back together at a later date.

Dimensions: 30cm high, 25cm wide