Mother-of-pearl workers c.1898-1914

This is a digital reproduction of a dry plate negative held in the Library of Congress.

This image exists as a wider catalogue of photographs and lantern slides taken by G. Eric Matson for the American Colony (Jerusalem). As the caption on negative sleeve reads, the men pictured are mother-of-pearl workers.

Mother-of-pearl carving has been a major industry in Bethlehem since at least the 17th century. It formed the basis for the emigration explosion out of the town in the 19th and early 20th centuries when Bethlehem merchants began to sell mother-of-pearl devotional objects around the world.

This image exists as part of the Bethlehem Crafts collection in the Planet Bethlehem Archive.