With a small team of highly skilled craftsmen we are working to keep Mayan traditions alive.
As you visit Jades Imperio Maya you will have the opportunity to witness the transformation of heavy jade rocks into fine jewellery and exact replicas of Mayan artwork, which meet highest quality standards.
The main workshop and exhibition rooms are located in a 17th century building in the heart of Antigua, Guatemala.
Jade defines two different minerals - Jadeite and Nephrite
The term Jade was created by the spanish conquistadors when they learned the natives in Mesoamerica used jade to cure kidney diseases. They called it “piedra de ijada” or “stone of the loines”. With time it became known as “Jade”. The Romans also hailed jade as a treatment for kidney diseases and called it “lapis nephriticus” or “stone of nephrite”.
In 1863 a french chemist discovered that the term jade was actually used for two different minerals with different chemical compositions. He created the terms “nephrite” for chinese jade and “jadeite” for guatemalan an burmese jade.
Jadeite is much rarer and more valuable than nephrite.
Unlike most gems, which are single crystals, jadeite is a mass of interlocking crystals. Therefore there is no other stone as resistant to breakage and chipping as jade. This inherent toughness made it a superior weapon and tool for the ancient Maya. To him it signified survival and its colours were reminiscent of nature.
As a result jade became known as a gift from heaven. It was valued more than diamonds or gold by some civilizations in Central America, Asia and the South Pacific.
Chemical Composition of Jadeite: silicate of sodium, aluminium and iron.
Hardness: 6.5 to 7.0 in the Mohs-Scale
Las Sierras de las Minas - Guarding the Maya treasure.
The Maya used the same jade-mines as we do. From “las sierras de las minas” in today's Guatemala they transported jade to all places within the Mayan empire, which occupied huge parts of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras.
Jade is found in Guatemala in all shades of green,lavander , black, “gold jade”, translucent white or “moon jade”, various other translucent jades like “princess jade”, “jade azul”, “lavander jade”, “jade gema” and “imperial jade”.
All in all we distinguish about 25 different colours.
Jade - the stone of heaven
The Maya used jade as a symbol of good luck and health. They cured kidney diseases with their holy stone.
For its life spending qualities they put a piece of jade below the tongues of deceased kings (Tikal Mask and Mask of Naranjo) and placed many offerings of jade artwork inside the tombs of their leaders.
An example is tomb 116 in Tikal National Park, where archaeologists discovered an extraordinary amount of jade jewellery and important artwork.
Heritage of the Maya.
Today we may visit the different cultural centers of the Mayan civilization, such as Tikal or Palenque. The architecture itself gives us an impression of how sophisticated this society was. But the Maya also told their history, engraved in stone. Archaeologists around the world are still trying to interpret them.
And again - jade was the tool they used to tell their faith.
The Maya also left us many sculptures and fine art in pottery, artfully painted.
As jade is a natural stone You do not have any special care for the stone itself. You can clean it simply with a humid cloth and dry it later.
The silver we use to create our jewelry is of best quality and does not oxidize. Although, as anything out of silver, Your jewelry may become opaque. To give it its shine back, You simply have to wash it thoroughly, dry it and polish it with a dry cloth. Make sure, Your jewelry is completely dry otherwise it tends to stay yellowish.
With natural pearls You should not bath in seawater. You should also avoid to clean them with chemical substances or put your pearls in direct contact with perfume.