Herb + Design
Jordan River Foundation
Her Majesty Queen Rania, who established the Jordan River Foundation in 1995, has declared the JRF “especially close to my heart, because the JRF’s achievements are so apparent in human terms—women educated, children protected, communities uplifted, and progress made.” The NGO focuses on empowering underprivileged communities, particularly women and children, with economic and cultural programs. At the center in Amman, you can learn about the program and its progress as well as buy products made in community workshops such as rugs, linens, cushions, shawls, furniture and baskets.
Madaba Arts & Handicraft Center
Started as a workshop to keep the ancient craft of mosaic work alive, the Madaba Arts & Handicraft Center trains and employs locals who create intricate designs to adorn everything from small coasters to outdoor tables and wall decorations. You can view the craftsmen at work in an area beside the showroom, which also sells regional artifacts like embroidered scarves, Dead Sea products and silver jewelry. Mosaics can be shipped internationally for free, and custom orders can be placed.
Shopping at Petra
There are lots of stalls around Petra selling the same Jordanian crafts and copies that you see throughout the country. There are, however, a few places that are slightly better than the rest. In the town of Wadi Musa itself, there are a handful of shops where you will find authentic products. Two of those are inside the Mövenpick hotel: one is Souk Zara (www.soukzara.com/shop.aspx), an outpost of a chain that carries Jordanian crafts and products and the other is an antiques shop selling Roman coin jewelry, antique silver Bedouin jewelry and inlaid furniture. Another shop where you might uncover special finds is The Sand Castle on the main drag in Wadi Musa, which sells antique Bedouin flasks and lanterns, woven rugs, ceramics, photographs, jewelry and furniture. Inside of Petra, the best shop is the one facing the Royal Tombs. It was founded by a Bedouin woman who attended college in Amman but decided to return to her community to elevate the quality of goods sold to tourists. She carries lovely silver jewelry and objects that you can trust to be authentic and to benefit the local community.
Turquoise Mountain Showroom