Zlatoust Steel Engraving

Oct 29 2013

This unique method of metal treatment was developed in the 19th century, as part of the tradition of artistic decoration of cold steel arms, later used in a wide variety of arts and crafts.

In 1815, following the Emperor’s Ordinance, the arms factory was established in Zlatoust. The factory had a special purpose of manufacturing weapons for Russian Army and Navy. German master armorers from Solingen and Klingenthal were invited to work here, including a well-known master in weapon decoration, Wilhelm Schaaf with his sons; it was he who decorated the first Zlatoust blades. Soon his Zlatoust apprentices not only mastered Schaaf’s techniques of creating drawings on steel – they developed their own distinctive style of weapon decoration.

Ivan Bushuev, one of Shaaf’s apprentices, is rightfully considered the creator of Zlatoust steel engraving style. His imagination produced – and his talent immortalized in metal – the image of running like the wind winged horse, which is now decorating Zlatoust coat of arms and which became the town’s symbol, while the artist himself was popularly nicknamed Ivanko-Krylatko (translator’s note: Ivan of the Wings).

During the Russian civil war of 1918-1922, masters of Zlatoust factory manufactured a lot of cavalry swords with engraved emblems for Red Army fighters. Decorated gilded swords were gifted by the armory to K.E. Voroshilov and S.M. Budenny.

During the years of Great Patriotic War our army received 583 thousands fighting sabres and about 1 million army knives, nicknamed “the black knife”. Such knives were given to every soldier and officer of Ural Volunteer Tank Corps during its formation in 1943. Decorated sabres were gifted to the Supreme Commander-in-Chief I.V. Stalin and to the Marshal of the Soviet Union G.K. Zhukov. All of the participants of Victory Parade of 1945 were armed with Zlatoust blades.

Zlatoust blades were frequently displayed at world and international exhibitions and received prestigious awards. The best objects are stored in The State Hermitage Museum, Kremlin Armory Chamber, State Historical Museum, Saint-Petersburg Military Historical Museum of Artillery, German Blade Museum in Solingen, Imperial War Museum in London.

Zlatoust engraved works can be found in possession of many national leaders in Europe, Asia, Africa and America, as well as in private collections of famous scientists and cultural figures, military leaders and politicians. They were gifted to all Russian Presidents: Yeltsin, Gorbachev, Putin, and Medvedev.

During the almost 200-years history of Zlatoust engraving tradition, manufacturing procedures, artistic techniques and decorative style were improved, and the range of decorated items widened. Today the engraving technique is used for household items and interior design: caskets, cutlery, tableware, candlesticks, panel pictures, caviar dishes, souvenir and Easter eggs.

Creative team of “ KXO” Bulat LLC (translator’s note: “Collectible Cold Steel Arms” Bulat) develops, carefully preserves and enriches experience and practices of the best European and Ural artists, producing works of high artistic merit. Custom-made items can be decorated with your initials, family monograms, business logos, trademarks.

Materials used in manufacturing: high alloy stainless steel, 24 karat gold, nickel, silver, enamel. Techniques used: dry point engraving, etching, cutting, nickel plating, gold plating.

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