A rare Mixtec Serpent Head Jade Bead, ca. 13th - 15th century CE
A rare Mixtec Serpent Head Jade Bead, ca. 13th - 15th century CE
A rare Mixtec Serpent Head Jade Bead, ca. 13th - 15th century CE
A rare Mixtec Serpent Head Jade Bead, ca. 13th - 15th century CE
A rare Mixtec Serpent Head Jade Bead, ca. 13th - 15th century CE

A rare Mixtec Serpent Head Jade Bead, ca. 13th - 15th century CE


Regular price $7,500 USD

Exquisitely carved from a single piece of jade into the cylindrical form of a serpent head, the long forked tongue, curved fangs, raised snout, hinged jaw, and wide staring eyes rendered in relief, all incised around the open "mouth" or suspension hole drilled through the length of the bead.

Similar effigy beads representing standing or squatting men were believed to have been worn or strung in the hair of mummy bundles as protective devices, and also may have doubled as important trade items (Stone-Miller 48).

Jade was one of the most highly prized materials throughout ancient Pre-Columbia. Jade beads first appeared in Olmec tombs around 1000 BCE in a distinctive blue-green tone. Apple-green jade began appearing in Mayan and Teotihuacan offerings in the first millennium CE, probably sourced from the Guatemalan highlands. Jade seemed to have diminished in the Post-Classic Period (ca. 900 - 1500 CE) and as a result, Mixtec and Aztec offerings were often of less brilliantly colored stone or were reworked from earlier Olmec and Mayan pieces (Dubin 246).

Ref: Dubin, Lois Sherr. The Worldwide History of Beads, London: Thames and Hudson (1987), pp. 246-50.

Stone-Miller, Rebecca, Seeing with New Eyes: Highlights of the Michael C. Carlos Museum Collection of Art of the Ancient Americas (2002), p. 48.

Dimensions: Length: 1 3/8 inches (3.5 cm), Width: 3/4 inch (1.9 cm)

Condition: Intact and in excellent condition overall.

Provenance: Private Florida collection. Previously in the collection of Keith Finello, who had one of the finest private collections of Pre Columbian jade in North America.

Sue McGovern, President of Sands of Time, is an Executive Board and a certified member (CAPP) of the International Society of Appraisers (ISA), an international multi-disciplinary certifying and accrediting organization.  ISA  has a mandatory recertification program for all senior members and Sue is in compliance with that program.   

CAPP is the highest achievement and level of credentialing in the industry of personal property appraising, signifying advanced appraisal methodology, expertise and professional development.

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The Sands of Time Appraisal team can appraise individual works of art or entire collections, with large collections being a specialty.  Every appraisal report is personally prepared by Sue resulting in the delivery of professional document with value conclusions in conformity with the Internal Revenue Service (where applicable), the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice” (USPAP), and the International Society of Appraisers (ISA).  With her broad information technology background, Sue also brings 25 years of project management experience that includes logistical design, planning, organizing, and implementation of large and small appraisal assignments.

By analyzing current trends and conducting comprehensive research, we closely monitor the nuances of the current market. Each client and appraisal situation is unique so our appraisal services are tailored to meet your timeline and specifications. This includes video conferencing, appraisals from photos and state of the art software tools. Efficiency and effectiveness from initial review to the delivery of the final documents is our top priority. Fees for appraisals are determined by the number of hours involved and any necessary travel and expenses. Our fees are negotiated based upon the express needs of each client and are competitive within the marketplace.

We invite inquiries from individuals, estate liquidators, museums, educational institutions, consultants, architects, interior designers, as well as colleagues, collectors and investors. Please contact us for further details.  I look forward to hearing from you,


Sands of Time offer a very flexible layaway payment plan for all objects offered for sale on our website.  Here's how it works:
  • Deposit:  A deposit of 15% of the total price is required upon purchase.  
  • Checkout:  Order through our website and select the "layaway" option at checkout.
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Should you cancel your layaway purchase, a 15% restocking-fee will apply. If you exchange or trade-up the objet purchased while it is on layaway, the restocking fee for the original purchase will not apply.  If you would like to take advantage of our layaway system or would like to discuss an alternative option that better suits your budget, please contact us via e-mail or call 1-202-342-0518. 


Sands of Time provides a lifetime, unconditional guarantee of authenticity and provenance. Every artifact purchased from us is accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity, stating culture, provenance and age. Furthermore, we conduct due diligence to ensure the item, to the best of our knowledge, has not been illegally obtained from an excavation, architectural monument, public institution or private property. Wherever possible, reference is made to existing collections or publications.

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  • We undertake to make, to the best of our ability, all purchases in good faith.
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  • To the best of our ability, we guarantee authenticity and provenance of all objects offered for sale.