In Short: Avventurina or (Aventurine in English) is one of the most popular Murano Glass techniques, distinguished by its special look of sparkling particles captured inside translucent glass. Today the ancient Avventurina technique is simplified and somewhat streamlined, which allows the artisans to use it frequently in jewelry, as well as art glass such as vases, sculptures, and various decorative items.
Avventurina is a Murano glass-making technique developed on Murano island in the 17th century. I was first mentioned in a document dating from 1614 as "a kind of stone with gilt stars inside", at which point it already mesmerized people with the unusual and attractive look. The technique owes its name to the fact that its discovery happened by chance thanks to a lucky coincidence, when a glass artisan is said to have accidentally dropped some metal shavings into the glass mixture. Italians say it happened "all'avventura", which in Italian means "by chance".
The first documented recipe for the technique dates from 1644, when Murano master glassmaker Giovanni Darduin described how Avventurina glass should be created. The recipe involves adding various metal oxides such as copper and iron to the hot glass mixture, which will cause tiny particles of the metals to crystallize as the glass mixture cools off.
Complicating the process, for such crystallization to occur the furnace had to get fully extinguished, and the metal particles would slowly separate from the glass base over a few days during the natural cooling of the glass. This was a very difficult process from a logistical perspective, since every time a glass furnace got extinguished it caused work to be paused, and re-igniting it was quite a big process, as it took time to fully heat it to the desired temperature.
As industrial revolution set foot on Murano in the nineteenth century, the process got a remake. Large volumes of fine Avventurina paste were made and then skillfully stretched into glass canes, which were then re-melted for jewelry-making under a small flame, or for glass blowing. This Avventurina paste received worldwide acclaim and re-ignited the fame of Murano Glass workshops due to its use in Salviati mosaics and in other pieces of rare magnificence, such as vases, tumblers, cups, and bowls produced in the Salviati workshop.
Interestingly, in the eighteenth century a variety of natural quartz was discovered, which emitted shimmer due to the inclusion of various minerals, such as chrome, hematite, and others. This fascinating quartz variety was named Aventurine, after Aventurine Glass created by Murano masters. Today most people think that this type of glass was actually named after the stone, but it is refreshing to know that Murano Glass masters came up with this look before it was discovered in nature, and that for once Murano Glass innovations preceded the natural phenomena rather than tried to recreate it.
Complex and so unique, Avventurina glass-making technique has rich history and has been appreciated by art glass connoisseurs for centuries. We at GlassOfVenice have a wide selection of Avventurina jewelry in stock:
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