The main raw material used for the candle and tealight holders are shells of the monkey apple fruit. (Strychnos Spinosa) The tree is indigenous to tropical and subtropical Africa. It produces juicy, sweet-sour, yellow fruits when ripe. The flesh of the Monkey Apple is delicious to eat, but the pips are very bitter because they contain strychnine and other poisonous alkaloids.
Generally, the fruit is eaten as a snack but most recently it has been used to make jam and preserve. The fruit can also be left to ferment in the sun and used to make bitter tasting beer.
The pips and the fruit shells(monkey apple balls) are dried for over six months. Once dried and cleaned, the monkey apple balls are decorated by local skilled artists into pieces of traditional and contemporary bijoux such as these tealight holders, table cloth weights and the pips are used to make jewellery. Note that because these candle holders are made from an organic fruit product, they vary considerably in size, colour and markings. These are natural variations and should be regarded as a feature rather than as a flaw.