Mayan Jewelry

The Mayans were a civilization that lived in areas of what is today known as Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala.  They were on of the most advanced civilizations of their time and evidence of their civilization dates back well before the birth of Christ. Jewelry from the Maya civilization can be traced back 5,000 years. Early on in the civilization metal was hard to find so the Mayans made jewelry form bone, jaguar teeth, claws, stone, and feathers. With the discovery of more metals they would eventually incorporate bronze, gold and silver. The precious stone jade was also used in jewelry. Jade was also used as an offering to the gods, as trading currency,  and sometimes as a treatment for kidney disease. Jade was held in higher regard than even gold and silver as the Mayans considered it to ne sacred and holy and the ultimate symbol for everything good including eternal love. Religion was extremely important to the Mayans and it is reflected in their jewelry. Men and women pretty much wore the same jewelry with the exception of lip and nose plugs and men with high social status wore nose plugs. The ear plugs worn were so heavy that often they would permanently disfigure the ear lobe. Thanks to archaeological finds in ancient ruins much has been found. Mayans believed strongly in the afterlife and archaeologists have found masks with jade, mother-of-pearl, and various ceramics in the tombs of kings. It was also common for a single jade bead to be buried with the deceased. They left these offerings and gifts to the gods after their deaths. Maya jewelry is truly a beautiful sight to behold.

via – Learning Center – Alari Design

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