The carving of figures out of jade and other minerals was one expression of the Mayan culture and spirituality dating back over 3500 years. When the Spanish arrived in the New World 500 years ago, they were horrified by the paganism of the native people. They forbade the carving of idols, under penalty of death, and within a few generations, the skills of carving and knowledge of where to source the jade was lost.
In the 1970’s, an American archaeology student took it upon herself to try to find these ancient jade deposits, and after searching for over a year, re-discovered the first of many that contained the precious mineral. She has been followed by others since then, including last summer when gemologist and Adventurers Club member Charles Carmona made a trip to Guatemala to learn about the Guatemalan jade industry as it exists in the 21 st century.
In his presentation, Charles will discuss the various aspects of his trip including the history, geology, archaeology, anthropology and biology of the region. From the continental fault lines of the Motagua River valley to the ancient ruins of Tikal to the colonial capital of Antigua, he will take you on a journey of discovery like never before.
Charles Carmona has been traveling the world for five decades in search of knowledge and experience to help in his gemstone testing and appraisal businesses in downtown Los Angeles, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, China and Bangkok, Thailand. As a consultant to the World Bank he has established gemology schools in Madagascar and Tanzania. He has led tours through the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County to gem mining areas on five continents. He is an author and regular speaker to academic and gem and jewelry industry groups.