Great Find :: Murano Glass

Murano glass is glass made on the Venetian island of Murano, which is 1.5km from Venice and has specialized in glasswares for centuries.  Murano glass making likely originated in 8th-century Rome, with significant Asian and Muslim influences, as Venice was a major trading port at the time.  Murano's glassmakers led Europe for centuries developing or refining many techniques including:

  • crystalline glass
  • enamelled glass (smalto)
  • glass with threads of gold (aventurine)
  • multicoloured glass (millefiori), milk glass (lattimo)
  • imitation gemstones made of glass.

Today, the artisans of Murano are still employing these centuries-old techniques, crafting everything from contemporary art glass and glass figurines to glass chandeliers and lamps.

Many of Murano's historical glass factories remain well known brands today.  De Biasi, Gabbiani, Venini, Salviati, Barovier & Toso, Pauly, FerroMurano, Berengo Studio, SegusoFormia International, Simone Cenedese, Alessandro Mandruzzato are just a few of the studios still producing Murano glass today.  The designs available today run from traditional to contemporary.

Retro, vintage and antique glass art and glassware are great additions to your décor and make fabulous gifts. 

Swank, etsy and 1stdibs are great sources to find Murano glass -- there is so much to look at and drool over I had a hard time selecting images to include below.  As you can see by the number of images in the slideshow I had considerable trouble editing them down!

China (naturally)  is reproducing vintage and antique styles by the bajillions.  The reproductions are very poor in shape, décor and quality.  Much of the mass produced glass objects are made of a low-quality pre-mixed glass which is then lacquered with a substance that makes it look shiny.  This “lacquer” will also wash off!  What’s more, water can easily penetrate this cheap glass and leave calcium deposits that do not wash off.  This Chinese-made Imported glass weighs considerably less than what well-made glass should weigh, which is why it so cheap.

To make sure you aren’t buying cheap, imitation Murano glass, true Murano creations have to have a tamper-proof adhesive label that has a “Vetro Artistico Murano” trademark along with the producer’s number in gold leaf.  It’s pretty easy to tell whether the piece is genuine by the workmanship and weight of the piece.  Cheap imitations tend to be lighter and the inferior quality is quite noticeable.