Our History:

Our company has evolved as a leader in reintroducing Maya jade to the world through the discovery, mining and working of Guatemala's fine jadeite jade. Guatemala shares with Myanmar (formerly Burma) the distinction of being one of the world's major sources of this fine gem stone.

Jade Maya, made the decision to re-establish a jade carving industry in Guatemala and opened its doors in the 1970's and remains the largest jadeite Jade operation in America.

Jade Maya is a totally integrated jade company founded in 1974 by archaeologist Mary Lou Ridinger and her husband Jay Ridinger. We mine fine jadeite jade which is found mainly in Guatemala and Burma, but valued throughout the world. The source discovered and used by Jade Maya, is the same used by the Ancient Maya people of Mesoamerica. The jade is cut and polished in our factory by native Guatemalan workers who are recovering and preserving the carving traditions of their ancestors.

The raw jade is transformed into pre-Columbian style museum quality replicas and exquisite handmade unique fine fashion jewelry. All finished products go directly into our showroom, wisely avoiding the middleman and providing a superior product at a superior price. Jade Maya presently has eight shops in Guatemala and our main showroom and factory is located at 4a. Calle Oriente No. 34, Antigua Guatemala, Central America. For Customer Support and Press Inquiries please email or contact us by phone at +502 7931 2400. We look forward to hearing from you!

Our founders: Jay and Mary Lou Ridinger:

Mary Lou and Jay Ridinger came to Guatemala in 1974 to solve an archaeological problem.  What became of the ancient sources of jade that had been used by the Mayas and six other ancient civilizations for three thousand years?  (between 1500 B.C. and 1500 A.D.)  They rediscovered the sources along the tectonic plate boundary that runs east-west through central Guatemala in 1974. They sent samples to the Gemological Institute of America to be tested and found that they had discovered Jadeite jade, the more valuable and rarer type of jade found on the planet. 

They made a crucial decision: instead of exporting the rough material to China like every other jade miner in the world, they would re-start the jade industry in Guatemala which had been lost at the time of the Spanish Conquest.

They built a jade factory in September 1974 and trained descendants of the Mayas to carve jade in the fashion of their ancestors by making replicas of treasures to sell locally.

Over the years, their work became known as an important scientific discovery and Guatemalans began to recognize their treasure that had been lost for five hundred years.