Do you know the story of the Bulgarian jeweler Alex Nikolo and his one of a kind horn jewelry?
Read this interview and see how he started and how he does his unique art.
Can you explain who are you and what do you do?
My name is Alexey Nikolov and I am from Bulgaria. Together with my wife Marina, we create jewelry out of bull and cow horn since 1991.
Me and my team create everything with our hands. We are transforming horn material into elegant and stylish jewelry. Our work has definitely grown over the past years. We are constantly making new designs and try to stay in touch with fashion. There are many satisfied customers. When people buy something from us, the chances are that they will return for more.
Who are your customers?
Horn jewelry is not for everybody, of course. Our work is for people who can find the beauty in nature’s colors, who appreciate the handmade work and understand art itself. If you want something unique in a world of resemblance, you are definitely at the right place.
What should people expect from you?
Since we are not a big company, we realy care about our customers. For us, you are not only a customer. You are special and important. When you order, be sure that we will not sleep, just to be sure that your wished jewelry is perfectly made and will be delivered right on time.
How did you come up with this idea of making horn jewelry?
As a little boy, I grew up at my grandparents’ farm. I liked spending time with my grandpa, who took care of the animals, including cows and bulls. Everyone sees them as big and aggressive creatures. But they are actually very nice animals.
Years later, I was in my grandpa’s house and I found a polished cow horn on one shelf. Since making interesting jewelry was my hobby, I took it and made a beautiful necklace. I gave it to my wife for her birthday. I fell in love with the colors of the horn and she fell in love with my creation. Now, years later, my job is my hobby and I couldn’t be happier.
Was it difficult in the beginning?
I remember my first atelier. It was very small and hardly had any equipment. I literally started from point zero. I had no help. I did all by myself with the loving support of my wife and family. I can’t say that it was easy, but when we started selling the jewelry, we were so happy. There is nothing like seeing someone appreciating your work.
What is it about the material that you like so much?
Horn is extremely beautiful. There are some colors that are hard or even impossible to achieve with paint or artificially made. And the best part is, that everything is 100 percent natural and real. We take care of the environment, providing people with eco jewelry.
You make necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings and hair accessories. What is the most difficult to make?
Horn is a very interesting material. There are layers of different colors. It is not so easy to achieve the color you want, to learn how to do it, you need years of practice. Sometimes you see one color on the surface and during polishing, new colors show. So, when I say unique, I mean it. There cannot be two identical colorful pieces.
That is the reason why I find it very interesting to create earrings. Since they are supposed to be identical, it is quite a challenge to get them similar every time.
It sounds like the perfect job. Is there any downside to it?
From time to time some people come and blame me for killing animals for their horns. That is very offensive. I try to explain to them that we would never hurt any animal. I love animals and would never hurt them. In a way, I make them immortal by turning their horns into jewelry.
So how do you get the horn?
In Bulgaria, we raise lots of cows for milk. After long years of happy life, helping many families, cows and bulls die of natural death. Instead of throwing their horn, farmers sell them to me.