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Ohrid Pearls

Discovering the Timeless Beauty of Ohrid Pearls: A Macedonian Treasure

If you are looking for a special gift or a souvenir from your trip to North Macedonia, you might want to consider the Ohrid pearls.

These are not ordinary pearls, but handmade jewels that are crafted from natural materials and have a long and fascinating history.

In this article, we will explore the origin, tradition, process, price, uniqueness and where to buy the Ohrid pearls.

The Origin of Ohrid Pearls

The Ohrid pearls are named after Lake Ohrid, one of the oldest and deepest lakes in Europe that straddles the border of North Macedonia and Albania. The lake is a cultural and natural UNESCO World Heritage site, and hosts many endemic species of plants and animals.

One of them is the plasica fish, also known as the Ohrid trout or bleak, which plays a vital role in the production of the Ohrid pearls.

Ohrid Lake
Ohrid Lake
The history of Ohrid pearls dates back to the 1920s, when a Russian immigrant introduced the technique of making them to two local families: the Talevs and the Filevs.

Since then, these two families have been the only ones who know how to produce the Ohrid pearls, and have kept the secret recipe in their bloodline.

The technique involves grinding shells into balls of various sizes and applying at least eight coats of a secret emulsion that gives them their characteristic shine. The emulsion contains scales from the plasica fish, but the rest of the ingredients and the process remain a mystery.

The Tradition of Ohrid Pearls

The Talevs and the Filevs have been making Ohrid pearls for nearly 100 years, passing down their craft from father to son.

They have established their own workshops and shops in Ohrid, where they sell their products to locals and tourists alike. They also participate in various fairs and exhibitions around the world, showcasing their unique artistry and skill.

Ohrid pearls
Ohrid pearls
The Ohrid pearls have become one of the country’s biggest trademarks and have been worn by many celebrities and royals, such as Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Diana. They are valued for their beauty, durability and rarity.

Unlike regular pearls that may only last 150 years, the Talev family claims that the Ohrid pearls will last forever.

The Process of Ohrid Pearls

The process of making Ohrid pearls is laborious and time-consuming. It starts with collecting shells from Lake Ohrid or other sources, such as Bethlehem or Egypt. The shells are then cleaned, sorted and ground into fine powder.

The powder is mixed with water and shaped into balls of different sizes, depending on the desired product. The balls are then dried and polished.

The next step is applying the secret emulsion that gives the pearls their luster. The emulsion is made from plasica fish scales and other unknown substances that are carefully measured and mixed. The emulsion is applied in thin layers, each one requiring 45 minutes to an hour to dry.

At least eight layers are needed to achieve a satisfactory result. The pearls are then polished again and mounted on silver or gold settings.

The final products include necklaces, earrings, bracelets, pendants, rings and brooches. Each piece is unique and handmade, reflecting the personality and style of the maker.

The Price of Ohrid Pearls

The price of Ohrid pearls depends on several factors, such as the size, shape, color, quality and design of the pearls. Generally speaking, larger pearls are more expensive than smaller ones, as they require more material and time to make. The color of the pearls can range from white to cream to pink to gray to black, depending on the type of shell used and the emulsion applied.

The quality of the pearls is determined by their shine, smoothness and uniformity. The design of the jewelry also affects the price, as some pieces are more intricate and elaborate than others.

The price of Ohrid pearls can vary from 10 euros for a pair of earrings to 1500 euros for an exclusive necklace.

However, these prices may not reflect the current market value or availability of the products.

The Uniqueness of Ohrid Pearls

Ohrid pearls are unique in many ways. They are not only beautiful and durable, but also rare and original. They are made from natural materials that are found only in Lake Ohrid and its surroundings.

They are crafted by hand using a secret technique that has been preserved for generations. They are not mass-produced or replicated, but rather customized and personalized.

unique pearls
Handmade jewerly
They are not just jewelry, but also cultural and historical symbols of North Macedonia and its people.

Ohrid pearls are a perfect example of how nature and human creativity can combine to create something extraordinary and valuable.

Where to Buy Ohrid Pearls?

If you want to buy Ohrid pearls, you have two options: visit the shops of the Talevs or the Filevs in Ohrid, or order online from their websites. The shops are located in the center of the town, near the main attractions and landmarks. You can find their addresses, phone numbers and other details on their websites.

Alternatively, you can order online from their websites, where you can browse their catalogues and choose your preferred products. You can pay cash, by credit card or PayPal, and they will ship your order to your address.

Ohrid pearls are a unique treasure from North Macedonia that you should not miss if you visit the country or if you are looking for a special gift or souvenir.

Its timeless elegance and exquisite craftsmanship have captivated the hearts of people for centuries. Whether you wear it as a piece of jewelry or simply admire its beauty, the Ohrid Pearl is a precious treasure that carries with it the legacy of a place where history, nature, and art converge.

So, the next time you visit Ohrid, don’t miss the opportunity to buy Ohrid Pearls.

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