Dana Project for jewelry

Starting in 1994, Dana was Jordan’s first attempt to integrate the needs of nature with the needs of people


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Building on local skills and initiatives, new opportunities were created to for local people to earn a living, enabling them to be less dependent on goat grazing and hunting, which are harmful to wildlife.

Hand-crafted silver jewelry was the first business venture to be developed, using designs based on the typical plants and animals of the reserve, like the oleander, gecko lizard, ibex and griffon vulture. These were originally designed by renowned Jordanian architect, Ammar Khammash but later the local women artisans started creating designs of their own. Some designs were also taken from ancient rock art and some reflected ecological principles, like the ‘hungry caterpillar design’, which is a nibbled silver leaf symbolizing the interdependency of life. More recently, new variations on the Dana themes have been developed by top jewelry designer, Nadia Dijani, who has cleverly incorporated rock slices and other materials to give a completely new look.

The people of Dana Village have grown apricots and other fruits on their terraced gardens for centuries to feed their families, but as the village and its population declined, the gardens were neglected and much of the fruit was left to rot on the trees. To revitalize the gardens and create new sources of income, ideas for high-value products were developed using the fruit from the old trees and newly planted crops. These included a range of ‘conservation grade’ jams and fruit leathers and dried herbs, all of which are now selling well in RSCN’s nature shops.

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