What connects the outrageously brave Felix Baumgartner (who jumped off the edge of space, if you remember), the chess genius Anatoly Karpov, Bill Clinton, Vladimir Putin, the aforementioned Angelina Jolie, and even St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican?
A family of Bulgarian masters of fine silver and gold pieces of art.
The fact is strange, but also a great reason for national pride. And what is even more strange, most Bulgarians do not know the answer to the above question. Let me introduce them to you personally. This is how I met them in their studio in the mountains near Sofia.
Nikolay and Titsiana Zografovi founded the family business 'Zografov & Co.' in 1991 and, after graduating from the Art Academy in 2008, their son Lyubomir joined them.
Nikolay's great-grandfather (and Lyubomir's great-great-grandfather) Bozhin-Emmanoil Stimeniy Zograf was a painter of icons who lived mostly in the 19th century and died in the 1920s. Stories are told about him in the family, and for a good reason: his icons are in our country, in Macedonia, Greece, and even in St. Peter’s in the heart of Rome. Interest in fine arts skipped two generations, but at one point the modern Zografovs decided to dig more actively and look for his portrait. They found the only one in existence and now it hangs in their studio.
'That's where our name comes from and it's important for us to know our history. And it gives us strength when we know that creativity is in our blood. That we come to this world with our name, so to speak,' said Lubomir.
OK, but what exactly do they do?
Artfully crafted, including according to the client's requirements, exciting presents from noble materials, copper and exotic wood. Cups and jugs, fruit bowls, cutlery, accessories for cigars and pipes, business presents, imitations of Thracian treasure, even interior ideas such as 24K gold stair rail...
Given the fact that Zografov & Son's luxury pieces are of very high quality, I am curious to know what their clients have to say about their work.
'Rich people buy gifts for the feeling of buying, no matter whether for themselves or for someone else. For them, the pleasure, not the need, is the driving force.'
I add to Lyubomir's words that in that case, they are in the role of a pleasure-multiplier. He agrees with me. I'm thinking that there is a way that my ritual of opening a nice bottle of wine after a long day at work could bring me even more satisfaction. The moment is enhanced if my cup is like no one else’s. A cup made by an experienced craftsman with whom you have discussed the smallest detail: where it will be kept, whether it will match your interior, and even how it will best suit your taste in life.
Lyubomir is ahead of me by two laps. At home, he has a rakiya cup, one of the first items they ever made, as well as a gold-rimmed wooden whiskey cup (the whiskey model turned out to be their most popular one). To say they are his favourite ones would be an understatement. 'It's the emotion we're talking about here.'
‘People buy for themselves, for a loved one, for an anniversary or wedding, or for a colleague who is celebrating,’ Titsiana informs me and adds that their clients are also attracted by the fact that each gift is different, unique and can be personalised. I do not think there is anything that is impossible for them. I realised this as I looked around the neatly arranged studio.
I realised this as I looked around the neatly arranged studio.
Their clients are mostly returning ones. There is even a case of a person who was so pleased with his purchase, that... 20 years later he came back to them! They are not short of compliments and praise.
‘There is an interesting incident that my parents avoid mentioning out of modesty, but I think it's nice,’ Lyubomir told me, much to the discomfort of his mother, who was sitting next to him,
'When Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha's son, Kubrat, got married, he received a hand-engraved set from my parents as a wedding present. The parcel reached its recipient, and the tsar sent a personal letter to my father with thanks and a signed photo.'
That happened back in 1993, two years after the start of the family business, but there was something that seemed puzzling to me. How exactly did they send a gift to Kubrat Saxe-Coburg-Gotha?! By ordinary mail. To an address they found. They sent handmade items of extraordinary value (and not just financial value) by ordinary mail to someone they didn't know and whose security was supposed to be very tight. Obviously, times are changing.
As soon as the topic of popular personalities is opened, the two generations have differences in perception, the younger generation being more open on the topic. They avoid mentioning their famous clients because it is a manifestation of bad taste, but a few cases are known: for the 'Centre for Global Dialogue and Cooperation’ foundation of President Petar Stoyanov (1997-2002), statuettes made by 'Zografov & Son' were presented to Bill Clinton, Angelina Jolie, Gen. Wesley Clark and chess champion Anatoly Karpov.
On other occasions, works by Bulgarian masters were presented to Felix Baumgartner, to ambassadors, and to heads of state, including Vladimir Putin, twice.
'I am most proud that our 'Made by Zografov & Son' stamp, which we put on every item, is sitting in these people's homes,' said Lyubomir.
And he has a lot to be proud of.
The article was written for the following magazine: PREMIUM Lifestyle
At “Zografov and Son”, we aim to simplify and enhance the gift selection process, making it both easy and enjoyable. Whether you are searching for the ideal gift for a loved one or a corporate event, we have a rich variety of options that will impress every taste and preference. Should you desire, we are available to provide consultations and assistance in choosing the most suitable gift for your specific occasion.
Could you guess what Angelina Jolie, Grandmaster Anatoly Karpov, Klaus Meine from ‘Scorpions’, the Austrian skydiver and daredevil Felix Baumgartner (who jumped from the ‘edge’ of the cosmos), Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Albert II and the presidents Georgi Parvanov, Bronislaw Komorowski, Nursultan Nazarbayev, Bill Clinton and Vladimir Putin all have in common? They all own an art piece by Zografov & Son, the Bulgarian family enterprise for luxury presents made of noble metals, spreading the name of their country around the world.
The Bulgarian brand is a byword for exquisite pieces of beauty, style and uniqueness Silver cups, vessels of exotic woods, replicas of Thracian treasures: for over 30 years, the luxury items with the brand Zografov have been the best choice to make gifts that impress, inspire and speak of beauty, power and craftsmanship.
A client asked us once, ‘Which wooden whiskey cup should I choose? You have various types of wood, colour and metal - silver or gold plating. Which combination would be best for me?’ The answer depends on many factors: what wood you like, what colour would fit best to the setting in which the cup will be, etc. etc.
Walnut is a broadleaf tree widely distributed in the Balkans. Whiskey cups made of walnut have a rich, dark colour and a smooth texture that feels comfortable in the hand. The combination of materials, the warm and natural beauty of the walnut and the soft shine of the gold, attracts attention, magically enhancing the aesthetic, adding a touch of luxury and sophistication.
Cherry whiskey cups have a warm, inviting look and are often used for special occasions. The combination with gold or silver accents completes the aesthetics of the wood.
The preference of the colours and the wood from which the cups are made depends on our current mood. Just like listening to music or our desire to go out and meet friends or stay at home with our favourite drink depends on our current state of mind.
Most people like to make a unique and remarkable gift. They are looking for one that makes the recipient feel special. An item which can relate to a memory of a friend or an important moment in someone's life, a gift made of quality materials, which will not be put on the shelf and forgotten, but will be given a special place so that it can always remind, who gave it.
The special day of a loved one, a friend, a relative or a colleague is approaching. You have chosen a wonderful present from 'Zografov & Son'. It comes in luxurious packaging and a beautiful branded envelope, ready to be presented. You are happy and you think that the preparations for the event are complete. But do you know how important it is to add a personal message to your present?
If you wish, we can take care of your items. Give us a call and we will not only restore the silverware, but we will also apply an additional gold coating. The fee for the service is negotiable. Thus, you will have your favourite cup or jug in its original state once again.
In this article, we will tell you what the different types of trees symbolize, how wooden items are made, and in what package you will receive them from our studio. This will help you choose the most suitable ones for you or for the person you want to give them to.
According to recent research by American biologists and epidemiologists, silver is able to cope with new viruses and bacteria, unlike most known antibiotics and antiseptics. It is therefore no surprise that silver water is set to become an antibacterial miracle.
When you want to surprise your loved one, friend or colleague for their celebration, you could give them something original, memorable, personal and luxurious - something unique. The gratitude you will see in their eyes will make you happy.
We at 'Zografov & Son' offer you luxurious gifts, full of spirit, emotion and sentiment which, we promise you, cannot be found anywhere else! CHOOSE A PRECIOUS GIFT What gift to choose for a 50th birthday?
It is interesting and remarkable how much history and how many artifacts there are in a territory as small as Bulgaria. During each excavation, archaeologists find a piece of the life of our ancestors. We are a nation with a rich past, and that is priceless. All these discoveries made by archaeologists are changing scientists' perceptions of the oldest centers of human civilization. The historical artifacts prove that a civilization flourished on the territory of Bulgaria long before the Hellenic one. A culture existed which created items of high artistic value.
‘There are two very real reasons to buy business gifts that are not necessarily warm and fuzzy. One is obviously to thank someone for their business for the year. The other is to make sure you remain top of mind, and to get your name in front.’
To create a unique emotion for your nearest and dearest or to reward your business partner, the desire to leave something for your children, for their children, even for people in hundreds of years, is an irreplaceable feeling and a strong motivation.
If you have the chance to visit the museum in Vratsa, you will come upon an incredible sight: dozens of small dishes, placed in special chambers, as if telling you their own story. Their splendid detail sparkles in the dark, and we can only marvel at how they were made by the ancient craftsmen
Did you know that there are people who prefer their name days to their birthdays? Our name day symbolizes the energy that is encoded in our name. It is part of our individuality and, like the birthday, defines us in the world. Even if we regard this day as a celebration of many people with the same name, it is also an occasion to unite with them and experience a common emotion of the positive energy and good wishes we receive. When choosing a name day present, you need to bear in mind the following....
When 26 years ago Nikolay Zografov decided to dedicate himself to his fine art, he did not anticipate that years later his creations would belong to presidents, diplomats, aristocrats, artists, and famous personalities from around the world. His talented hands sculpt perfect compositions from noble metals and exotic wood, transforming objects into true works of art.
Lubomir Zografov to Bulevard.bg - about the inherited craft of creating gifts for connoisseurs, the Holy Grail as inspiration, and the skill to impress even Bill Clinton