Guatemalean Treasures: Handmade Jewelry

by Lisa Coen, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

Mayan Handcrafted
Visit Guatemala and you’re bound to discover something special in the marketplaces: beautiful, colorful seed-beaded ornaments, jewelry and woven purses--all handcrafted by local Mayan women. Heavily influenced by Mayan culture, these incredible examples of traditional art are often on consignment from women artisans in the community.

Amazing Variety
The varieties of amazing items the ladies create by hand include whimsical ornaments, seed-beaded and hand-woven coin purses, beaded jewelry and one-of-a-kind purses. The hand-stitched purses are created using recycled cotton blouses called huipil ("wee-peel"). These traditional colorful blouses worn by Mayan women represent the personalities and villages of the original wearer, and the fabrics indicate marital, wealth and religious status.

Family Friendly
Every purchase of their creations helps to improve the living conditions of the Guatemalan families. Fair wages earned by carrying out these traditional arts allow Mayan mothers to keep their children in school (once a child is in 6th grade, the parents must pay for schooling). With the guaranteed income, the mothers are also able to work at home instead of going out with the hope of selling their beadwork to tourists or wholesalers.

View the following handmade products available for purchase from Fire Mountain Gems and Beads: