"JADE" is a generic term which describes two different silicate rocks, the Pyroxene is called "Jadeite", and the Nephrite which is classified an Amphibole. Though superficially similar, they are quite different in terms of their mineralogical characteristics. Jadeite is the harder and denser of the two and possesses a richer, more brilliant range of colors. Nephrite is a carving quality stone, found in many places of the word.

For these reasons, and because of its scarcity, jadeite is the most precious form of jade and is found in quality bright apple and Imperial greens, prized by the ancient Maya kings and Chinese emperors alike. Guatemalan jade is jadeite jade. Nephrite and Jadeite are both white in their pure state. All colors of jade (from light greens to black) are created by slight inclusions of other minerals or metals such as Chromium, copper and Titanium. Spaniards described it as "piedra de hijada" (stone for the loin or kidneys) and over time "hijada" became "jade".

Jade has a long and storied history of more than 3000 years in Mesoamerica, the area covered the countries of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.  Ancient civilizations appreciated the jadeite jade stones as ornaments, tools, and burial artifacts. The first civilization to use jadeite jade where the Olmec, Maya and Aztecs, and jade figured prominently in many myths and folktales. This stone is reputed to bring beauty and long life to the wearer. Some Eastern traditions insist that it also brings wealth and good fortune. 

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 sources discovered and used by JADE MAYA are the same used by the Maya people of Mesoamerica. The jade is cut and polished in our factory by local Guatemalan workers who follow the carving traditions of their ancestors.