The jadeite beads are hand-cut and polished through a mission project in Guatemala. The barrel shape jadeite stone beads are linked together with a hand-made sterling silver chain. The necklace is 30 inches long with 21 jadeite beads and a soft gray Italian leather cord.
Guatemala is the home of Mayan jadeite and is found in the remote Motagua Valley quarries. To the Pre-Columbian people of Mesoamerica, jade represented breath, life, fertility, and power.
Jade is the term given to two similar gem materials, called jadeite and nephrite. Jadeite is harder, denser and scarcer than nephrite; it is found in a wider range of colors, from white through various greens to lilac, blue, black and takes a high polish. Jadeite is a silicate of sodium and aluminum.
When the Spanish conquered the region in the 16th century, the source of jadeite was lost. The jadeite quarries were abandoned and quickly covered by the encroaching jungle. It was not until the 1950s that evidence of Mayan workings was found in the jungle of the Sierra de Las Minas in eastern Guatemala.