An art that has been passed down from one generation to the other centuries ago, and it is still flourishing until this very day.
Let’s give a brief scope about its history and formation. Franciscan friars from Damascus introduced the Mother-Of-Pearl industry to Bethlehem sometime in between the 14th and 16th century. By nearly the 17th century, Bethlehem women’s employment in the MOP jewelry began. Ever since those times, Mother-Of-Pearl, silver, glass and mosaic artistry joined the traditional olive wood crafts in Palestine. From the moment those beautiful arts came to live until now are growing and blossoming stunningly.
The role of craftsmen from Genoa and Damascus was well recognized historically, but during the 19th and 20th centuries Palestinians mastered the craft as they passed it through generations. Palestinian products include crosses, frames, boxes, jewelry, models of religious monuments and many other forms.
Now, what is this resilient shimmery dazzling substance called “Nacre”… and where does it come from?
This beauty comes from the depth of the ocean, from within its shells and what it holds in its heart. This dazzling substance is extracted from the inner shell layer of mollusks and abalone, to be exact. Originally, these shells were taken from the Red Sea but now are imported from Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and Brazil.
If we were to explain the entire production process simply, we would tell you it is based on cutting, designing, gluing and polishing. Of course, all this is carried out at local workshops in the Bethlehem area.
MOP Jewelry is an art which is truly worth owning, if not then just admiring!
BFTA works with 2 Mother Of Pearl workshops in the Bethlehem area. Please click here to view their products.