The Seven Most Popular Gifts Brought Back from Russia

One of the joys of traveling is finding unusual treasures that you typically can’t buy at home. Whether your travels take you to other states in the U.S. or traveling internationally, the chance to find unique, one-of-a-kind gifts is exhilarating. Traveling to Russia is no exception. Below is a list of the seven most popular gifts brought back from Russia (including a few you can buy in the U.S.)

1. Samovar

The samovar is somewhat related to what we’d call an electric kettle. It was designed to keep water hot for a long time and thus contributing to a long tea-talk. This curvaceous metal water boiler is considered a symbol of a family unity and a comfortable home. You can buy a traditional samovar (though it might be challenging getting it home in your luggage) or you can buy a smaller version that’s about 5 liters. Be sure to pair it with a beautiful tea cozy.

2. Amber jewelry

Amber jewelry has a long romantic history. The natural stones are beautiful and come in a variety of colors. Amber from Russia is particularly desirable. Russia is the source of over 90% of the world’s amber and is best known for its Baltic amber, which is not only stunning but is said to have healing properties. Unfortunately, more than one uninformed tourist has mistakenly bought plastic instead of real amber. Make sure you shop from a reputable store when in Russia, or find a local Russian store in the U.S. that sells amber jewelry to insure you’re getting real amber.

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3. Vodka

Vodka is one of those items people think of when they think of Russia. “Vodka” stems from the Russian word ‘voda’ that means water. Many of the vodkas you find in Russian can be found in the U.S., but visitors will still bring back a bottle as a souvenir. Be sure to get a Russian bottle holder for your new acquisition!

4. Gzhel ceramics

Gzhel is a Russian style of ceramics which takes its name from the village of Gzhel and surrounding area, where it has been produced since 1802. The blue and white porcelain has a unique look, and many travelers seek it out when shopping. It can be fragile to bring home, but worth the acquisition. You can also acquire Gzhel-inspired gifts back in the U.S. as a wonderful reminder of your travels.

5. Fedoskino lacquer boxes

These stunning boxes are frequently on the short list of items to bring back from Russia. Fedoskino is the site of the country's oldest lacquer miniature industry. The artists of the Fedoskino village paint very realistic scenes. The most common Fedoskino themes are portraits of people, animals, architecture or realistic landscapes. Fedoskino lacquer boxes can be found from reliable shops in the U.S.

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6. Matryoshka (Russian nesting doll)

Such a fun gift! You can open a nesting doll to find another doll inside, and then another and another; the number of hidden dolls can vary from 10 to 50. Traditional matryoshkas are an exceptionally popular gift to bring home.

7. Orenburg shawls

These are not only lovely but come in quite handy during chilly evenings in Russia. The Orenburg Shawl is a Russian knitted lace using goat down and stands as one of the classic symbols of Russian handicraft. And they pack easily in your luggage!

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Other small souvenirs worth mentioning:

Khokhloma spoons, Finift Enamel jewelry, wooden movable toys, tea glasses and holders, Faberge eggs, glass figurines, and more!

Treasures are in abundance when you travel to Russia. You may find it difficult to decide which items to bring home but don’t worry! If you find a gift you were unable to bring back, find a Russian Store in the U.S. where many great gifts are found, imported directly from Russia.

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