Jade has an ancient history in Mesoamerica, where it was used by cultures from the Olmec to the Maya to the Aztec. It symbolized life and death and was used to make figurines, jewelry, and even inlays for teeth. The Maya believed that a jade bead would provide passage through the underworld. Because conquering Spaniards were more interested in gold, the sources of ancient Mesoamerican jade were lost for hundreds of years. In 1998, Hurricane Mitch, one of the most powerful hurricanes in modern history, exposed boulder-size jade deposits near Xalapa, Mexico. Archaeologists now believe this location was a major source of jade for ancient civilizations. The simple designs of these hand-carved accents let the stone’s mottled colors take center stage. Handcrafted in family workshops in Antigua Guatemala. Stone colors may vary.
Handcrafted in Antigua Guatemala. Approximately 1/2"W x 7 1/2"L. Toggle clasp.
Guatemalan jade was prized for its density and strength as well as for its color, which ranged from the blue-green Olmec jade to the bright apple-green shade preferred by the Imperial Maya. Until a 1998 hurricane exposed jade deposits in Mexico, Mesoamerican jade had been found exclusively in Guatemala’s Motagua River valley and the Sierra de las Minas Mountains. Its rarity for millennia suggests that the exact location of mines was a well-kept secret.