Grupo Piedra Mágica

María Elizabeth Mendoza Estrada and Jorge Gabriel Hidalgo Velasco have a beautiful selection of amber and silver jewelry from Simojovel, Chiapas. María Elizabeth was born in Venustiano Carranza, Chiapas, where her mother became a widow while pregnant with her eighth child, therefore, she had to go back to Simojovel, where she would get family support. María Elizabeth had to work at an early age as a guide in the amber mines, which is a resin that she felt very curious for. One day, a tourist asked her why she was not working with amber and she responded that she did not have any money to acquire amber or to learn how to work with it, the tourist then handed her over a bunch of amber pieces and with them, she started her career.

María learned the traditional way, without using modern tools, she cut it with a saw and polished it with oak resin and cork tree. One day, a Canadian client showed up looking for amber with flora inside, so she brought her a couple of samples, when María saw the interest in her client she also decided to show her an extraordinary piece of her most recent collection that had a stem and a flower within. The woman wanted to buy the piece, but María Isabel was not sure of selling it and after the woman insisted for a couple days and offered Maria all the money she had for her trip to Chiapas María Isabel accepted the offer without even knowing the value of the piece or the dollars offered in exchange for her piece. Later she found out that it was 9,000 pesos, which was more than enough to buy her dream house. María claims amber has been good to her.

Eighteen years ago, the government organized a trade between artisans from Taxco and Simojovel where she learned the basics and began experimenting with her own designs. She now has one of the most outstanding works in Simojovel due to its fine work and original designs. In 2006, she won the first price in lapidary at the Amber State Competition. Lapidary has to do with the hand cut and polishing of amber.

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