Post Covid-19 Transitioning in Jade
In 1974, Jay and Mary Lou Ridinger rediscovered the ancient source of Maya Jade in the Motagua River Valley in Guatemala and solved a long standing archaeological problem...Where did the Maya get their jade?
After laboratory tests verified the jade's authenticity, they researched the world jade market and then asked themselves: Why should we send Guatemalan jade to China , where it will provide jobs and be exported to the world as Chinese jade? Why not teach the descendants of the Mayas how to carve jade in the tradition of their ancestors, make replicas of jade treasures from museums around the world, and sell it to tourists in Guatemala...Why not create a local industry to bring back the jade culture and tradition to the people of Guatemala who knew nothing about their history with jade?
Their decision was a gamble. They lost money for 11 years and their friends and visiting tourists and Guatemalans all said: "Everybody knows there is no jade in Guatemala, These gringos are crazy."
When the National Geographic article, "Jade; Stone of Heaven" was published in 1987, Guatemalans decided...maybe we DO have jade in Guatemala.
The Ridingers reached many milestones over their 46 years in Guatemala, discovering 8 different sources of jade, including Rainbow jade and Olmec Blue jade. Their mining techniques are environmentally friendly. They don't dig for jade. They only do surface collection just as the Mayas did for three thousand years.
They started a non-profit, "The Maya Conservancy'' and have started International Conferences on Maya culture and provided well paid jobs to hundreds of Maya people and built long term relationships, in the Maya world including the "Pro Peten Project" with "Conservation International" and various other community development projects.
Archaeologist, Mary Lou Ridinger, recovered a Preclassic Jade mask, which had been stolen from a government run museum on Guatemala's south coast and returned it to the Guatemalan government...a landmark...the first time a national treasure was recovered and returned...EVER! Usually a theft of an important artefact means that the treasure will end up on the New York art Market within 48hours.
Their adventures have been told in the book; "Stone of Kings". by Gerard Helferich which is available on Amazon or through your local bookstore.
The Wall Street Journal calls It: "a compelling tale'
Covid has hit their business so hard that they are transitioning to a new website, which tells their story and has wonderful exciting new designs and products and bargains and discounts.