This cross was completely hand carved with a saw by our grand father Elias Giacaman ( First Generation in wood carving & mother of pearl carvings ) in Bethlehem , The Holy Land.
Special attention is given to detailing every cm of this hand-carved cross. The rich color and interesting veins are characteristic of the beautiful Bethlehem Olive Wood mixed with mother of pearl ( sea shells ) which has a filigree work that is completely handmade . This Cross Comes with a golden string and an explanation card, Ready To Hang. it can be used also as Christmas tree ornament.
Mother-of-pearl was traditionally a main handicraft in Bethlehem. It is believed that mother-of-pearl was introduced by Franciscan monks who came from Damascus to the Bethlehem area around the 15th century.With the presence of the order of St. Francis of Assisi in the Holy Land around the late 1600s, religious artifacts gained in economic importance. One Franciscan of the late sixteenth century, Father Bernard Amico, is well known for having made miniature reproductions of churches out of mother-of-pearl.
Since 1850, Bethlehem has witnessed a major development in the manufacture of mother-of-pearl, encouraged by the presence of pilgrims and religious persons who acquired them at a relatively good price due to the stability and increasing good relations between the Holy Land and Europe. The treasures of Crusader King Richard the Lion Heart included shells and mother of pearl items such as crosses and other religious objects. In 1220 some Christian leaders who were on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land brought back crosses and beads made of olive wood and of raw and simple shells.
The legacy of the mother-of-pearl craft in the Bethlehem area continues to maintain the artistic vision and tradition of the Palestinian community. It has grown into a productive and lucrative industry providing some economic stability to the community of Bethlehem eventually attracting tourists and pilgrims who have valued the beauty and art of the mother-of-pearl craft to purchase them as gifts to take back home.