Carving peach pits dates far back, especially in Asian cultures. In America it has a sort of folk tradition, if I'm not mistaken.
I find carving peach pits really fun and challenging. I think it would be great practise for those wood carvers or sculptors who normally do bigger projects. I'm not one of those to "discern" some shape inherent in the peach pit, and then bring it out. I'm more of the I-have-an-idea-before-hand-and-I'm-going-to-make-it-work kind of guy. Of course, this goes without saying, you do indeed have to start with a peach pit that is sympathetic to your idea or vision.
You have to consider every cranny and curve and every piece of negative space, and incorporate it all into the final carving. I find the best of way of dealing with the sometimes frustrating negative spaces is simply to enlarge them. Paradoxical: you get rid of them by enlarging them. What negative spaces are left and noticeable I find goes into the charm of the pit carving.
I used this knife to carve these peach pits:
It is the kind of X-acto knife with the screw in blade on top. You go through a number of the blades (they come in little packs of five or so) but I find this knife indispensable. The pointed end is especially important. It is the knife that kissed my finger bones, giving me seven stitches and a four hour wait in emergency. Yes, if you decide to carve peach pits, I cannot emphasize enough: picture yourself cutting yourself and waiting in that emergency room every time you carve. Also picture yourself having to explain to everyone you meet for the following week what you did to your hand.
"What did you do to your hand?"
"I cut it carving peach pits."
Have a solid foundation to place the pit on while holding it with your hand; try not to do "free-air" carving.
The following peach pits also went through sanding and staining. I just use sand paper, no electrical tools; just a knife and sand paper. You cheat otherwise. The stain I used for these was a cherry stain. You need at least a week for the stain to fully dry.
This rose which I gave to my mom, is intended as a broach/brooch. We need to find a jeweller who can fix a pin piece on the back of it. I used the two split halves of one peach pit for the leaves. I carved at one end of each leaf a little arm so it could go into the notches made at the side of the rose peach pit. They were fixed in with wood glue. (I'm sorry, I don't know why some of the pictures will enlarge and others will not. Just try them all, and find out.)
I used the pointy end of the blade and turned it as a hand-drill to make holes in either side of the raised center on the back, so that a metal fixture can go in:
The two owls and tree I gave to my sister. The tree and its base together is made from three peach pits. I carved it so either one of the owls can sit on top. I used a super glue for the tree. The pit halves used for the base of the tree I tried carving to look like old tree roots. I should have spent more time on that part. It's fun carving all the pieces the best you can to get them to match up. As with the rose, notches and 'arms' are carved to fit into each other on all pieces that connect. You never do flat on flat connecting.