Vintage "Penguins" Cloisonne Enamel Tea Glass Holders. A Russian tea glass holder, or, as it's known in Russian, podstakannik, literally means "beneath the glass." It is a traditional way of serving and drinking Russia's national drink, hot tea.
Vitreous enamel over copper tea glass holders with a penguin motif, circa 1970 or 1980. Enamel, silver over copper. In fine condition with no chips or cracks. These easily clean up with a silver cleaner. Included are Russian-made heavy crystal glasses. 5" in height, each nearly 13 oz with glass. Only one set available.
Back in the day when the Soviet Union was scouring for hard currency, it operated "Beriozka" shops, which were gift stores and kiosks in Moscow, St. Petersburg (back then, Leningrad) and elsewhere. The cream of the crop of applied artists were called upon to produce fine quality items for sale to foreigners and tourists. Some of the most popular items included very high-quality lacquer boxes, folk art nesting dolls, and fine wood carvings. Other items with which tourists returned to their native countries included postage stamps, film strips and slides, commemorative matchboxes, books and record albums, and the ubiquitous enamel pins known as "znachki".
Vitreous enamel, or porcelain enamel, is made by fusing powdered glass to a substrate by firing, usually between 750 and 850 °C (1,380 and 1,560 °F). The powder melts, flows, and then hardens to a smooth, durable vitreous coating.