About niello: The traditions and technology of the ancient applied art of niello (or in Russian - "chern", from the word "black") dates back to the 10th century. Niello is a metallic alloy of copper and silver used as an inlay on engraved metal. It can be used for filling in designs cut into metal, with silver being a particular favorite. These artistic traditions are kept alive at the old Imperial Russian factory Severnaja Chern in the town of Velikiy Ustiug in the Vologda region of Russia. Niello produced at Veliky Ustyug is also known as Kievan Rus niello.
To make these elegant works of art, patterns are engraved by hand into silver then filled with a composition of silver and red copper. Heating fuses the alloy which then fills the engraved areas. The surface of the piece is hand polished and the engraving emerges quite clearly.