Stained glass, or vitreous, enamel is the acme of jewelry craftsmanship. This extremely intricate and exquisite artistic enameling technique appeared in Russia at the end of the 19th century. Well known jewelers P. Ovchinnikov and I. Khlebnikov, as well as several craftsmen of the Karl Faberge Company, were brilliant masters of this technique. A perfect example is Mikhail Perkhin's unique Clover Easter egg, which Emperor Nicholas II gave to his wife Alexandra Fedorovna in 1902. It is literally spun from the most delicate nielloed golden trefoils, the leaves of which are inlaid with tiny diamond roses and filled with transparent vitreous enamel which gleams like stained glass.
Stained glass enamel is a variety of cloisonne enamel, but without the metal frame created by assembling and soldering nielloed wire or by carving metal.
Ye. Butenko's jewelry workshop opened in 1996. The company's artists rely on and develop the traditions of the leading jewelry companies of the turn of the 19th - 20th centuries. They mainly use plant and floral motifs to decorate the utensils they create. Niello, alloyed from individual elements of the decorative pattern, forms a strong frame for the item. Two craftsmen work together to create one item: a jeweler, who arranges the delicate niello, and an artist enameller, who fills the spaces with colored transparent enamel.
The apparent fragile appearance of stained glass enamel is deceiving. An item made of stained glass enamel is stronger than china or glass. At one time, heads of foreign states received these magnificently crafted pieces as valuable gifts from the Russian emperor. Nowadays, an exclusive stained glass enamel item created with artistic perfection by the jewelers of Ye. Butenko's workshop is still considered a precious, unique, and memorable gift.