Jewellery making training continues remotely depite Covid-19


Turquoise Mountain continues training in Jordan with help of UNICEF

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Turquoise Mountain was founded in 2006 by HRH The Prince of Wales to revive historic areas and traditional crafts, to provide jobs, skills and a renewed sense of pride.

Since 2006, Turquoise Mountain has restored over 150 historic buildings, trained over 6,000 artisans, treated almost 136,000 patients at our Kabul clinic, and supported and generated over $15.5 million in sales of traditional crafts to international clients, including Kate Spade and London’s Connaught Hotel. Turquoise Mountain has also curated major international exhibitions at museums around the world, from the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C.

The organisation’s work in support of jewellers in Jordan can be highlighted with the work of Ghaida'a, one of Turquoise Mountain’s jewellery graduates.

Ghaida’a came to Jordan from Syria after the outbreak of the conflict and joined our jewellery programme, set up in collaboration with the Said Foundation and UNICEF. Since completing the course she has started her own jewellery-making business, making hand-crafted pieces in silver and brass from home to generate income for her and her family. She hopes to return to Syria one day and continue her silversmithing work there.

Along with other Turquoise Mountain supported jewellers, Ghaida'a has been producing handmade pieces for clients including international jewellery designer Pippa Small. The pieces are inspired by local imagery and motifs, and have been displayed at international shows including Paris Fashion Week. 

For the past 18 months the organisation has been training young Syrian and Jordanian students like Ghaida'a in silversmithing at the Turquiose Mountain workshop in Amman. Over the course of six months, the students learn key skills such as soldering, stone-setting, texturing, and finishing, preparing them for roles within the sector, for apprenticeships and for their own business start-ups.

Jewellery can provide a secure and flexible work opportunity even in times of difficulty, as the outbreak of COVID-19 and resulting lockdown measures showed. Whilst the Turquoise Mountain workshop was forced to close, students were able to continue their training from home thanks to jewellery home start-up kits provided by project partner UNICEF. The kits included a box of tools and materials as well as a small table on which to work, meaning that students were able to continue learning and practising from home with the help of video-based lessons.

Turquoise Mountain has now built over 50 small businesses in Afghanistan, Myanmar, and the Middle East, supporting a new generation of artisan entrepreneurs who will not only drive economic development, but also preserve their unique cultures and traditions.


Rebecca van Rooijen


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