Bethlehem's position as an important Christian city has for centuries attracted a constant stream of pilgrims. This generated much local work and income, also for women, including making mother-of-pearl souvenirs. According to Weir, Bethlehem women's employment in the mother-of-pearl industry goes back at least to the seventeenth century. It was noted by Richard Pococke, who travelled there in 1727.
The first exhibition in the west of mother-of-pearl artifacts from Palestine was at The World Fair in New York in 1852. Two brothers, Giries and Ibrahim Mansur, exhibited their work and were a great success.
Present day products, include crosses, earrings, brooches, maps of Palestine, and picture frames.
Paradise Lost; When Catholic investigators from the Archdiocese of Washington looked into Mother of God, an intense religious community near Gaithersburg, their inquiry rocked the place to its foundations -- and left some former members questioning their faith in God and man Series: BELIEVERS NEXT DOOR Series Number: 2/ 2
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