In 2020, Shadi Mahmoud was sitting at home with his wife and kids during the Covid-19 pandemic and he had an idea. As he and his wife discussed Palestinian refugees around the world who had been displaced by the Israeli setter colonial project, they thought about how most of these unfortunate people had little hope to come back and see their ancestral homes and touch their ancestral soil.
It started with the Mahmoud family thinking about sending gifts to their Palestinian friends abroad. They thought about sending stones from their friends' villages and then came up with the possibility of placing the stones in jewelry.
Soon the idea shifted from research phase to trials and lots of errors. They met a Ramallah jewelry maker and together they spent 6 months exploring how to put natural stones inside jewelry. Palestinians friends from Jerusalem helped Shadi to get stones from all the major Palestinian cities. They went to the old cities of Akka, Yaffa, Jerusalem and Nazareth. They visited Ramleh, Lid, Bethlehem, Hebron and elsewhere. They collected stones from 35 different towns and cities.
Shadi and the team cooperated with small scale jewelry makers in Bethlehem and Ramallah to execute the designs proposed by Traces.
It was a hard and lengthy process and the designs went through many amendments to suit the idea of fixing natural stones inside the jewelry pieces. Amal, the first artisan at Traces, mastered the method of fixing the stones inside the jewelry. She soon trained 4 other women to work together on this project.
Shadi reached out to well known Palestinian figures in the Gulf and the States as well as locally. Many people were very supportive and helped promote the new designs from Traces. Soon the Traces instagram grew and orders began. Palestinians abroad began contacting Shadi asking for stones from their destroyed villages and Shadi connected with his friends to help him. Together, through this jewelry, Shadi and the entire team at Traces work to reconnect Palestinians to the land of their ancestors, to their denied birthright. They even search for destroyed villages that are now under forests that were planted to hide the villages and deny the right of return.
This incredible brand is so much more than just a handicraft. The jewelry serves as a vehicle to carry meaningful pebbles. Shadi and his team have shipped pieces to more than 30 countries around the world and connected hundreds of Palestinians to a piece of their home. Shop their full collection here.