Jan 1, 1878

Bulgarian Folk Jewels

Regional Ethnographic Museum-Plovdiv

Revival Period Adornments from Bulgaria

This exhibit reveals the splendour of Bulgarian Revival period jewels. Bulgarian women used them not only to adorn their clothing and rejoice the sight. Jewels were also believed to possess extraordinary powers to guard off bad spirits, to protect people from evil eye and to allure good luck, health and prosperity.

Nielo Silver Buckles
Massive Buckles in Rectangular Shape
Round Relief Silver Buckles

This perception of jewellery could be traced back since ancient times. Jewels have never ceased to be a whim, gift and of course, adornment. But they are also a claim for status and very often powerful spiritual guardians in important rites related to birth, death, engagement, marriage, holidays and everyday life.

Small Round Buckles
Gilded Silver Buckles
Combined Technique Gilded Silver Buckles
Silver Filigree and Incrustation Buckles
Leaves Shaped Buckles
Palmetto Buckles with Birds

All of these jewels are made in the traditional for Bulgarian goldsmithing techniques: casting, forging and filigree. These adornments are heavily decorated with granulation, encrustation, inlayed nacre and precious stones.

Silver Filigree Buckles with Stones
Gilded Silver and Nacre Buckles with Two-Headed Eagles
Palmette Silver Filigree Buckles
Leaves Shaped Buckles with Nacre Incrustation
Filigree Crown Buckles
Bead Belt with Silver Buckles
Golden Tread Belt with Granulated Silver Buckles

Jewels are indivisible part of the costume’s composition. Their lavished decoration and diversity are related to the historical and cultural background of the people who made and wore them. As an essential part of the traditional costume and its local specifics, jewels have played an important role in identity distribution, preservation and development.

Enameled Gilded Silver Belt
Silver Leather Belt
Silver Leather Belt
Gilded Silver Filigree Belt
Leather Belt with Silver Applications
Gilded Silver Filigree Belt
Goldthread Belt

Some of the most exquisite jewels are made of gilded sterling silver with tracery filigree. Here they are thematically distributed: buckles, belts, head adornments, necklaces, pectoral adornments, bracelets and rings.

Silver Prochelnik
Silver Cast Prochelnik
Silver Prochelnik
Silver Over Ear Pendant
Silver Hairpin
Silver Tepelik

Transition from village to urban lifestyle in Bulgaria at the end of XIX c. influenced significantly the development of jewellery craft. Jewels also changed with the distribution of Revival period urban costume. This exhibition shows both their chronological development and the Revival period Modern tendency towards combination of local traditions and foreign, Eastern and Western influences.

Coin Earrings
Silver Podbradnik
Silver Crescent Earrings
Mascot with Kalemi
Silver Box Amulet
Two-Chained Silver Pectoral
Silver Necklace with Enamel and Incrustations
Cast Silver Cross-Reliquary
Tight Silver Necklace

Each jewel has its own curious symbolic meaning. Location of jewels on the body is not accidental either. Small coins, beads and precious stones in head ornaments protect the wits. Gold coins and pectoral adornments protect the breath and the milk of young mothers. Buckles and belts protect childbearing and fertility.

Open Work Silver Brooch
Wrought Silver Pectoral
Zhar-Ptica Brooch
Gilded Silver Brooch
Compound Silver Bracelet
Silver Alloy Bracelet
Hinge Silver Bracelet
Gilded Silver Filigree Bracelet
Open Work Gilded Silver Bracelet
Sofia Compound Silver Filigree Bracelet
Entishiya Bracelet
Gildened Silver Filigree Bracelet
Gildened Entishiya
Horned Silver and Gold Bracelet
Silver Alloy Rogatka Bracelet
Rogatka (Horned) Bracelet
Silver Hinged Flower Bracelet
Hinged Silver Bracelet
Two-Arched Knee-Joint Bracelet
Filigree Silver Bracelet
Hinged Silver Bracelet
Brass Ring
Niello Silver Ring
Peridot Silver Ring
Gilded Silver "Stolovat" Ring
Silver Ring Inscribed "+Yurdan 1871"
Credits: Story

Chief Curator — Angel Yankov
Exhibition Curator — Grozdelina Georgieva
Virtual Exhibit — Stefana Mincheva
Photographer — Yanko Kavrakov

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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