Must-Have Souvenirs From Around the World
When you travel abroad, you want to have good memories about the place, so you buy yourself a couple of souvenirs. However, with a limited budget, as well as limited luggage space, you can’t buy every little trinket you see. So you think to yourself, what are the must-have souvenirs of this country that I should get to avoid the regret of not getting them? That is why we have compiled this list to let you know of the souvenirs that you absolutely should not miss the next time you travel to the countries that have them!
Chinese seals—or “chops” as they are colloquially known—are printing stamps used as signatures. Traditionally used only by government officials, they were usually made from jade, but other materials such as precious metals were also used. Their use has inspired similar creations in other countries such as Japan, Korea, the Philippines and Vietnam. Today, you don’t have to be a government official to have your own chop; vendors in tourist areas can help you with the creation of your own personalised seal; select the material of your choice, use a Chinese name that is similar to your own (or keep the English alphabet) or a philosophical phrase, and give the vendor a while to carve the details into the seal. And there you have it, a literally one-of-a-kind personalised chop that you simply cannot get anywhere else!
While China is known for being a landmark location in the historical Silk Road, few know about the even more historical Amber Road, where amber—fossilised pine tree resin—was moved from Northern Europe to the Mediterranean. Many people in the past have viewed amber as one of the most precious materials in spite of it being neither a precious mineral like topaz or a precious metal like gold. In fact, it was viewed as even more precious than either; Egypt’s most famous pharaoh, King Tut of the 14th century BC, was buried with large Baltic amber beads. Even today, amber is a precious commodity used in nuclear submarines and spacecraft engines. As such, it would be a waste if you travel to Latvia without buying amber, which come in the form of jewellery and ornaments. It even has its own unique scent due to being an organic material.
Italian leather is well-known worldwide as one of the best for its durability and quality, but not all Italian leathers are equal. Any kind of leather coming out of Italy can be called Italian leather regardless of their processing, but Florentine leather follows the unique traditions of the Leather School of Florence, in which the preparation of the rawhide, the tanning of the leather, and the drying of the leather are carefully performed in order to turn out a natural product of superior, artisan quality. To tell the difference between real Florentine leather and other lesser imitations, you should only go to certified shops and breathe in the scent of the leather. When you feel the leather with your hand and see them with your own eyes, you can expect some irregularities in the colours or the weaving, because this is the sign of handmade craftsmanship. As one of the must-have souvenirs from around the world, Florentine leather is also so highly-regarded that US President Eisenhower himself had requested for a handmade desk set from the Scuola del Cuoio (School of Leather).
Ostrich leather—South Africa
Ostriches are native to Africa, and their leather is one of the finest and most durable leathers in the world even compared to Italian leather. It also has a unique look due to the large feather quills, giving the leather a rather bumpy pattern. In spite of the fact that it was only during the 70’s that ostrich leather was being produced, it quickly became a boom during the 80’s when demand in the US reached its peak. However, during this time, Africa was facing apartheid, so the US had to place sanctions on South Africa as a form of political pressure. After the apartheid had ended in 1993, ostrich exports were allowed again, but the fad was already over by that point. Today, South Africa continues to be the centre of ostrich leather production. With its unique look, you can buy ostrich leather products to immediately stand out among your peers who are using cow or crocodile leather.
Which country would you like to travel to for their unique products? Are there any other must-have souvenirs you think should be included in this article? Let us know in the comments below!
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