Murano glass

Original Glass Products from Murano in the Venetian Lagoon
Our Murano Glass Products
'Murano Glass' is a term recognised around the world as a type of glass made on the island of Murano, situated in the Venetian Lagoon, about 1.5 kilometres north of Venice.

Murano glass
Island of Murano
Although a lot smaller, it is similar to Venice in that the island is a series of small islands linked by bridges.

Murano glass
Murano Glass Jewellery
Using original designs and a mixture of traditional glass making techniques, we offer a wide range of contemporary Murano Glass jewellery that represents the very best of Murano Glass production. Vivid colours, swirling, hypnotic patterns and a wide range of exciting designs are the qualities that make Murano Glass jewellery unique.

Murano glass
Murano Glass Jewellery - 'Laguna' pendant
Our Murano Glass jewellery collection contain a mixture of Murano Glass necklaces in various styles and sizes as well as pendants, bracelets and earrings. We have indicated where these murano glass products are available in a matching style.

Murano glass
Murano Glass 'Marte' necklace
Murano Glass Necklaces
Murano glass necklaces come in an amazing array of styles, bead shapes, lengths and colours. They range from short strings of perfectly round beads, all of the same colour, to a long strand of beads made up of a mixture of shapes, sizes and colours. The majority of Murano glass necklaces are single strand, but there are also double stranded, and sometimes even triple and multi-stranded strings of beads. The glass beads themselves can be anything from a tiny 'seed bead' to a large, rectangular bead or a triangular chunk.

Murano glass
Murano Glass Jewellery - 'Fiordaliso' necklace
Sometimes they are close together, often interspersed with a smaller glass bead, and another popular style is to have the beads spread out thinly along the chain which gives an impression of them floating around your neck. The chains can be silver, gold, coated metal or thread.

We have a wide range of murano glass necklaces that make perfect Murano Glass gifts. Some are beautifully simple and others are lavishly complicated. It is a range of Murano Glass jewellery to suit all tastes!

Whether you are looking for Murano Glass gifts to give a loved one, or simply looking to spoil yourself, you will certainly find many beautiful pieces of original, authentic, hand-made, Murano Glass jewellery within 'The Italian Shop'.

Murano glass
Murano Glass Jewellery - 'Mulinello' pendant
Murano Glass Pendants
Murano glass pendants are one of the most popular pieces of Murano Glass jewellery. Pendants are usually a single bead of Murano glass on the end of a chain, metal cord, braided leather or cloth cord. The Murano bead can simply be a traditional round glass ball, a Murano glass heart, a flat Murano bead of a teardrop or heart shape, or a large, multi-coloured bead which has been sculpted with amazing shades of Murano glass.

Murano glass
Murano Glass Jewellery - 'Buon Cuore - Fuchsia' pendant
Murano Glass pendants come in a fabulous variety of different shapes, sizes and designs.

Murano glass
Murano Glass Jewellery - 'Grandine' earrings
Murano Glass Earrings
Murano Glass earrings make delightful but inexpensive gifts. Murano glass earrings do not tend to be small, and generally consist of a single bead hanging from hypoallergenic, anti-tarnish hooks. The single Murano glass bead is usually topped with one or two contrasting glass beads and a stopper. Sometimes the Murano beads are of a different shape and the earrings a little longer and sometimes the single bead is moulded, giving a 3D effect. There are other styles of Murano glass earrings, including multi-stranded, single bead stud earrings and long strings of smaller beads.

If you are looking for something a little more extravagant, browse through our range of necklaces, or perhaps consider a set chosen from matching murano glass necklaces, murano glass pendants, Murano glass bracelets and Murano Glass earrings.

Murano glass
Murano Glass Jewellery - 'Harlequin' bracelet
Murano Glass Bracelets
As with the necklaces, the Murano glass bracelets come in endless styles, colours and bead configurations. The only thing that does not change is the size, they all tend to be roughly the same length but most have a small length of chain at the clasp which makes the bracelet adjustable. More often than not, the chain will have a tiny bead hanging from the end of it which is a very pretty touch. Some bracelets, particularly the ones matching Murano glass pendants, will have just a single bead with stoppers on either side.

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Watch our Murano Glass video 'Italian Beauty'
Murano Glass Objects
In addition to our jewellery ranges, we also offer a range of attractive Murano Glass objects, such as bottle openers and wine bottle stops. When people talk about Murano glass Gifts, we all immediately think of extravagent bowls, huge sculputures and sets of expensive wine glasses. While these glass objects exist, and are very popular, particularly with collectors, there are Murano glass objects to suit all budgets. A simple wine bottle stopper with a large Murano blown glass ball on top is an affordable luxury.

Murano glass
Murano Glass Products - 'Masquerade' opener
There are also Murano Glass bottle openers and paper knives which make effective gifts and don't break the bank. Murano Glass Gifts

History of Murano Glass
At the end of the 13th century all of the glass makers who were working in Venice were sent to the island of Murano as it was feared the furnaces would set fire to the wooden piles supporting the city.

Murano glass
The Murano Glass makers were granted special status on the island. They were alowed to carry swords and were immune from prosecution by the Venetian state. The glass masters were even welcomed into marriage by the noble families of Venice. However, they were forbidden to leave the Republic, and sharing their glass making secrets with the outside world was punishable by death!

By the end of the 16th century, the Murano Glassmakers accounted for nearly half of the island's population.

The expert glass makers of Murano have been at the forefront of European glass making for centuries, refining techniques such as: crystalline glass; enamelled glass (known as smalto); golden glass (known as goldstone); multicolored glass (known as millefiori); milk glass (known as lattimo) as well as imitation gemstones made of glass. Murano Glass is highly individual and extremely beautiful and is still made by a handful of skilled artists who maintain their traditional, glass making production methods as closely guarded secrets. The popularity of Murano Glass is such that it is widely counterfeited and sold as genuine Murano Glass around the world. It is estimated that around 40% of the Murano Glass market now consists of immitations. Genuine pieces of Murano Glass can only be made on Murano and should always come with a certificate of authenticity.

Types of Murano Glass

Murano glass
Avventurina glass was invented in Murano in the early 1600's. This type of glass has a glittery appearance due to thousands of micro particles of copper which have been added to it. It is a very difficult type of glass to work with and only a few expert glassmakers know the secret and have the skill. The copper particles need to be added in small doses and a very slow cooling cycle is needed which creates a difficult and time consuming project.

Murano glass
Murano Glass - Avventurina
The term 'avventurina' comes from the Italian word 'ventura' which means 'fortune' and was first used in the 17th century by a famous glass maker caled Giovanni Darduin. He called it avventurina because he said that making objects with this type of glass was more due to good fortune than science.

The avventura method is mainly used for making more ornate household items such as vases, lampshades, lamps, paperweights and plates although it is also often used for jewellery.

Conteria (seed beads)
Conteria are very tiny Murano Glass beads are made from fine, hollow glass tubes of coloured glass.

Murano glass
Murano Glass - Conteria
The tubes are first rolled in vats of hot, coarse sand to polish the ends and round the corners. They are then rolled in vats of hot, fine sand to gently polish the surface. Once finished they are cut into tiny beads which form the basis of many of the more intricate pieces of jewellery.

Cristallo (also know as cotizzo)
Cristallo, which translates as 'crystal clear glass' is 100% pure glass which is transparent. This type of colourless glass was invented in the middle of the 15th century on the island of Murano and was later imitated by other European countries.

Murano glass
Murano Glass - Cristallo
The cristallo produced and used on Murano is composed of sodium oxide, calcic oxide and silica. The combination of these elements creates a glass which is suitable for light blown objects requiring a long working process.

Opaque coloured glass is produced in the same way but with the addition of raw colouring agents and a base of white opaline glass.

Fenicio, meaning Phoenician, was a technique imported to and used by the glass makers in Murano torwards the end of the 17th century.

Murano glass
Murano Glass - Fenicio
It is a method by which a glassmaker can place a feather-like motif onto the glass object he is working on. This is done by hot threads of coloured glass being placed around the outside of a blown glass object and then combed with a special hooked tool called a maneretta.

The English translation of Filigrana is 'Filligree' and it is used in metal work as well as glass.

Murano glass
Murano Glass - Filigrana
The glass maker gathers together several short lengths of glass canes, some clear and some with colour or pattern in the middle. These canes are set out side by side on a steel plate over a low heat until they begin to melt and then fuse together. Once they have fused they are gathered up by the tip of a blowpipe which has a collar of clear molten glass on the end. The blowpipe is attached to one end of the fused canes and then rolled along their length until they are all attached on the outside of the pipe. They are then melted further until they are soft enough to pinch them together at the bottom and then they are 'blown' into a bubble, after which the final shape is made.

It is commonly used for vases, bowls, tumblers and lamps and can either be coloured or be clear glass with a very delicate pattern in white running throughout.

Glass Sheet
This is one of the most recent and modern techniques used on the island of Murano.

Murano glass
Murano Glass - Glass Sheet
A slab of Murano glass is placed on a table and different types of loose materials are placed on it, such as small pieces of different coloured glass and gold and silver foil. These loose materials are moved around to form different colour schemes and patterns which takes many hours and a lot of skill. Another slab of Murano glass, of a different colour, is then placed over the top and the whole thing is baked in the oven overnight.

The glass is then cut into different shapes and is used to make exclusive handmade objects such a plates, picture frames, jewellery, pendants and keyrings.

Gold and Silver Foil
During the first stages of work the glassworker, using the end of a blowpipe, rolls the hot glass over thin leaves of gold or silver making them stick to the surface. As the glass is blown the leaves shatter into a fine powder giving a wonderful sheen to the area of glass to which they were stuck.

Murano glass
Murano Glass - Gold & Silver Foil
The gold and silver can also be applied to cooled glass and made into a decorative pattern with a sharp implement. The item is then re-fired to make the decoration set permanently on the glass surface.

The 'Incalmo' method of working is extremely difficult and it relies totally on the dexterity of the glassmaster. It is not a job that can be rushed or interrupted and needs complete peace, quiet and patience, as well as incredible skill.

Murano glass
Murano Glass - Incalmo
The technique consists of joining two different coloured blown objects together and then forming them into the desired shape.

Lampwork Technique
This is one of the most ancient and common methods still used on the island of Murano to make objects and jewellery out of glass.

Murano glass
Murano Glass - Lampwork
Different types of glass are continually melted and added together to make never ending combinations of colour and shapes. It is a difficult technique which requires the glass maker to burn a gas flame all day long so that he can reach high temperatures to constantly melt and add new colours. The secret of this method has been handed down over hundreds of years from father to son and requires a lot of imagination, patience and precision.

The majority of our pieces of jewellery online here are made by this method.

Lattimo is taken from the word 'latte' which is the Italian word for milk. It is an opaque, white glass which was invented on Murano around 1450 as a method of imitating fine Chinese porcelain.

Murano glass
Murano Glass - Lattimo Photo: Manfred Heyde
It was originally used to make objects which could be decorated with polychrome enamels. Today the materials and the original method have changed slightly and it is used mainly for making beads.

Millefiori (also known as Murrine)
Millefiori (meaning a thousand flowers), is long, thin canes (rods) of either solid or hollow glass made from a piece of glass with different colours to form a single flower design. This piece of glass is then stretched it until it is extremely long and thin. No pattern can be seen from the outside but when the cane is thinly sliced the small cross sections resemble flowers.

Murano glass
Murano Glass - Millefiori
The solid canes are cut into tiny pieces, each with a slight variation of the original pattern, and then fused together in the kiln to make jewellery, paperweights, vases, dishes and bowls.

The hollow canes, similar to a very long drinking straw, are cut in the same way and again, each one is slightly different to its neighbour, and they are then used as beads in jewellery.

It is important to remember that due to the nature of how these little millefiori are made it is impossible to have two pieces exactly alike. Therefore, if you are purchasing an item consisting of millefiori it will not be identical to the one you see in a photograph online. This means that the piece of jewellery or ornament that you buy will be totally unique.

Each piece is totally unique.

Sommerso (meaning 'submerged')
This technique requires an already blown, thick glass object to be totally immersed into a pot of different coloured transparent glass. It is coated with the new colour in exactly the same thickness as itself and then blown into the desired shape resulting in a beautiful chromatic effect.

Murano glass
Murano Glass - Sommerso
This method is used mostly for vases and sculptures but is occasionally used for other pieces.

Caring for your Murano Glass products
Our Murano Glass Jewellery Collections
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