This fair trade product was handcrafted with the
collaboration of the Elder Center Bead Group and indigenous Maya-Itzá women in
Guatemala. Made from a native vine from the tropical forest, the cross pattern
is a natural feature of the inside of the plant. Called the Cruz Maya (Maya
Cross), its use as a spiritual symbol dates back to the Maya civilization more
than a thousand years ago. Proceeds from the sale of this product provide
income to Maya-Itzá artisans of today and the Elder Center Bead Group. The
Elder Center Bead Group is a group of young women artisans in Santiago Atitlan who earn a
fair wage for their work and help provide funding for the Elder Center, which
provides a place of community, meals, and healthcare services for 65 elders in
Guatemala. A portion of the proceeds also goes to a local
community organization, Bio-Itzá, to help protect the rapidly disappearing
tropical forest where the vine grows in Petén, Guatemala.
The cross measures approximately and inch tall and is around 4-5mm thick. Every cross is slightly different because every vine is different.