History of Casa del Jade
The 70's - The Beginning
Gerald Leech, together with a group of visionaries, started the dream of bringing to life this invaluable Mayan legacy, choosing to establish their business in 1974, in the beautiful city of Antigua Guatemala; today a World Cultural Heritage site.
This group dissolved, but Gerald Leech persevered in the desire of achieving his dream. After tireless planning and arduous work, that longing finally came to an end and Casa del Jade opened its doors on July 9th. 1977.
During the first three years, Casa del Jade experienced a significant growth having over 30 employees and two points of sale in La Antigua.
The 80's - A time of Perseverance
In the early 80’s a series of events tested the perseverance of our family at Casa del Jade. The internal war in the country produced an economic recession, which impacted our development. Unfortunately, in 1984 we were victims of the robbery of most of our merchandise. But with God´s help, hard work, sacrifice and a positive change in the country´s situation, we were able to recover and surpass our expectations.During the last years of the 80’s, the business expanded, and grew to have enough room to provide guided tours and manage larger groups.
The 90's - A new Home
The 90’s represented a new chapter for Casa del Jade; the international recognition of Guatemalan Jade and the desire to always provide the best experience for our customers, drove us to search for a new home. That’s how we set our eyes on rebuilding “Casa Antigua El Jaulón”; a colonial house from the 16th century, which was destroyed due to different natural disasters. The reconstruction work started with a group of investors in January 1993 and was finished after more than 5 ½ years. Up until today, it has been the only national monument restored by the private sector in La Antigua. Finally, the 15th of June of 1998, with the objective of providing a better experience for our visitors, we inaugurated our new facilities
The years 2000 – A New Era
This new era was defined by our commitment to spread our historical and cultural legacy; thus the idea of developing a museum grew. The result was our first museum, which opened in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Mexico in 2001. Immediately after, we started working on opening a museum in Antigua Guatemala. Our main objective was (and still is)to provide the opportunity forour visitors to appreciate beautiful recreations of archaeological pieces, with most of them belonging to private collections. This dream came true when we opened our doors to our new museum “Mesoamerican Jade Museum”, in 2003.
With this same commitment, in 2008, we organized the first International Jade Convention, where we had the attendance of people from the United States, Mexico and Central America. For three days, the attendees were delighted with different cultural activities and wonderful presentations by well-known archaeologists: Héctor Escobedo, Miguel Orrego, Francisco Estrada-Belli, Juan Antonio Valdés, Federico Fahsen, Alfonso Morales, Robert Sharer, Edgar Suyuc, Arthur Demarest, Richard Hansen and Tomas Barrientos. All the expositions were free and open to the public; a very unique event.
Time to Remodel
In 2011, we started a remodeling process of our showrooms and museum; with two purposes in mind: enriching our museum even more and reducing our effects on the environment, by using new lighting technology for our showrooms.
Today, Casa del Jade is an important employment source in Antigua Guatemala, benefiting more than 80 families, directly and indirectly. We have also extended our arms to the community to support different causes, knowing that there are many needs in our country.
We have always been committed to the highest standards of excellence and quality. That is why we are always working to offer the most beautiful jewels and Pre-Columbian recreations with high quality standards and excellent service to our visitors in different languages. Today, in Casa del Jade, we have a big and beautiful collection of Guatemalan Jade.