SEARCH FOR JADEITE IN GUATEMALA. Past and Present.

A documentary of my travel to Guatemala in November 2009.

Itinerary: Lake Atitlan, Antigua and Volcan Pacaya, Motagua Valley and Copan (Honduras), Tikal and El Petén, Coban and Semuc Champey, Guatemala City

Click on the following brief presentations in Flash-Format (a pop-up window will appear) or view individual slideshow (a new window will appear).

Lake Atitlan and surroundings

FlashMedia Duration: 12:24 min atitlan Slideshow

The colonial city of Antigua and a tour to the Volcan Pacaya (2,252 m)

FlashMedia Duration: 6:15 min antigua Slideshow

A visit to the factory and archeology museum of Jades, S.A., Antigua

FlashMedia Duration: 2:40 min jade Slideshow

I want to thank the staff at Jades S.A. for telling me the story about Guatemalan jadeite. Geologist Jay Ridinger discovered the Olmec Blue Jade in 1975 (he passed away in 2009). His archeologist wife Mary Lou and family members continue with the enterprise. Their showroom which is both a factory and museum is located at #34, 4 calle oriente, Antigua and a must for jadeite lovers. Visit their website.

From Antigua on my way to Copan, Honduras I travelled through the hot Motagua Valley where in the nearby hills most of the jade is being mined. Myanmar (formerly Burma) and Guatemala are the only two countries in the world that produce Jadeite, the most valued of the two types of jade. Guatemala produces jade with the most colour variety. The palette includes rainbow, champagne and lavender, but the blue hue is the most prized. The Mayan made sacrificial knives, beads, and ceremonial masks of jade — the most famous being the death mask of a King found in the Mayan ruins of Tikal in northeastern Guatemala.

More info on Jade from Guatemala:

Mesoamerican Jade and Jadeite Sources and Ancient Workshops: Archaeological Reconnaissance in the Upper Río El Tambor, Guatemala

Also of interest the article Jadeite - a historical treatise, by Kim Be Howard, A.G. (C.I.G.) (long document, 85 pages), View/Download/View PDF 312 k

Ruinas de Copan, Honduras

FlashMedia Duration: 5:38 min Copan Slideshow

Visit to Tikal and El Peten

FlashMedia Duration: 4:41 min Tikal Slideshow

Coban and Semuc Champey

FlashMedia Duration: 9:01 min Semuc Slideshow

© 2010 J. Wolf Kuehn and Canadian Institute of Gemmology. Users may View/Download images for their own private, non-commercial use.