History of Jade in Guatemala

Jade has a long history of more than 3,000 years in Mesoamerica, the area covered by 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 were the Olmecs, 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' is a generic term which describes two different silicate rocks: 'Jadeite', which is classified as a Pyroxene, and 'Nephrite', which is classified as 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 rich and brilliant range of colors. Nephrite is a carving quality stone, found in many places of the world. Guatemalan jade is jadeite.

Nephrite and Jadeite are both white in their pure state. All colors of jade (from light greens to black) are created by natural slight inclusions of other minerals or metals such as chromium, copper, cobalt and titanium. 

Because of its rarity, jadeite is the most precious form of jade. It was highly prized by the ancient Maya kings and Chinese emperors. During the colonial period, Spaniards described jade as "piedra de ijada" (stone for the loins or kidneys) and over time, the word "ijada" became "jade".

Our Olmec, Maya and Aztec ancestors, lived in Mesoamerica and they used the same mining zones to make precious pieces of jewelry and burial artifacts. After the Spanish conquest began, the knowledge of the jade sources was lost for 500 years. The Ridingers discovered the lost source in 1974.

National Geographic wrote several articles in different editions about Mary Lou Ridinger's discoveries. Other well known media has covered the story behind the Guatemalan jadeite jade discovery, such as: Discovery ChannelCNN iReport, New York Times, Lapidary Journal, among others.

If you are  interested in the story behind Mayan jadeite jade, we recommend you to read the book:  “Stone of Kings” by Gerard Helferich. In “Stone of Kings” you may find an accurate modern interpretation. Here is a link to a book review published in the Wall Street Journal.



  • Jade… has been a symbol of love and virtue for thousands of years.

  • Jade… referred to as the virtuous stone, has prevailed for thousands of years as a symbol of divine love, purity and status. It is also associated with justice, compassion, humility, generosity and emotional balance.

  • Jade… aids in the understanding of dreams and teaches us to live in harmony with nature and spirit.

  • Jade… exudes a gentle, steady energy and is incapable of absorbing negativity.  Also provides protection and assists in attracting good luck.

  • Jade… augments longevity, fertility, serenity, wisdom, will assist in finding and maintaining moderation, equilibrium and stability, helpful for maintaining detachment in stressful situations. Also assist in reaching one’s full potential.

  • Jade… the healing stone aids the lungs, heart, immune system, nervous system and detoxifies kidneys and blood.

  • Jade… has protective qualities; used for longevity and for protection away from home.

  • Jade… relaxing, harmonizing, cooling stone said to stimulate profound thought and healing meditation. Sometime jade is placed in the bathtub as a calming influence.

  • Jade... is an ancient love-attracting stone. It is associated with Venus and Neptune.

  • Jade… wearing the stone is believed to help kidney, heart and stomach problems.

  • Jade… sacred to both the Chinese and the Mayas, this stone is said to bless everything it touches.

  • Jade… it evokes wisdom, peace, harmony and devotion to one’s higher purpose.

  • Jade… said to be a “dream stone”, jade placed under one’s pillow help in lucid dreaming.

  • Jade… aides the wearer in finding their life path and manifesting dreams into reality. 



  • Jade… wear to attract love, or give to another in the hope of obtaining love.

  • Jade… wear this stone to help the body heal itself, while working thought the underlying non-physical problems that caused the disease.

  • Jade… use to promote long life and use to prevent diseases and health problems.

  • Jade… wear while gardening to improve the health of plants.

  • Jade… wear to promote prosperity and to draw money to you.

  • Jade… use this stone to make proper business decisions.

  • Jade… strengthens reasoning and mental faculties.

  • Jade… guard against accident and mishaps.

  • Jade… the Mayas and Chinese believed that by covering the corpses of their rulers they would become immortal.

  • Jade… wear to prevent others from imposing their will on you.

  • Jade… American Native used jade to heal all ailments associated with Kidneys as well as to childbirth.

  • Jade… may be worn when treating gallstones, the lungs, the heart, and the throat as well.

  • Jade… is thought to prolong life and bring abundant riches to the wearer.


  • Jade... love, healing, longevity, protection, wisdom, money and prosperity.

  • White Jade… Symbolized purity and virtue. It is a wonderful gift to give your daughter or new baby.

  • Black Jade… Symbolized power, 3000 years ago Emperor YU of China used black jade tablets to control the water of flood. Whoever controls the waters of the flood controls China. Black jade is the ultimate power gift to give an executive.

  • Green Jade… Symbolizes life, breath, fertility and eternity. It is the perfect gift for a wedding, anniversary or birthday.

  • Purple Jade… Symbolizes hopes, dreams, spirituality, romance and love. It is a beautiful gift for the one you love.

  • Blue Jade… Symbolizes truth and vision, ideas, thought and inspirations. It is a great fit for your teacher and mentor.