Author Archives: GlassOfVenice

Is Venetian Glass The Same As Murano Glass?

Murano Glass crafted by glass masters in Murano, Italy. Photo credit: GlassOfVenice.com

Murano Glass and Venetian Glass refer to the same glassware made on Murano island in Venice, Italy. Many of GlassOfVenice customers ask whether Murano Glass and Venetian Glass are the same things and why there is confusion about the proper name. The explanation requires a brief excursion into the history of Murano Glass.

So why are both names in use and how can we be sure they mean the same thing?

  1. Murano Glass has its origins in the Venetian Lagoon. Murano Glass is an ancient craft that has its origins in ancient Egypt, then it reached new significance in the Roman Empire and after its fall the center of glassmaking emerged in the Venetian Lagoon. In the 1960s archeologists unearthed the foundations of an 8th century AD glass factory in the Venetian Lagoon on the island of Torcello. At that time Torcello was the center of life in the Venetian Lagoon, and remained so until Venice grew in importance and assumed that role.
  2. Later Venice became the center of glass-making, and Murano island was a part of Venice. More and more glass factories and workshops started to open in Venice, and by the 12th century the local glass artisans (called Fiolari) became members of an official trade guild called Arte Fiolara, or glass blowing guild. This is how the glass from the Venetian Lagoon became known as Venetian Glass. However, many of the glass furnaces registered in the city of Venice were in fact situated on Murano island, which was initially an administrative part of Venice but won its independence from Venice in 1278.
  3. In 1291 the Great Council of Venice decreed that all furnaces in the city of Venice had to be demolished due to the risk of fires, but furnaces could be constructed and operated elsewhere in the Venetian Lagoon. Murano was already at that time an independent adminsitrative center in the Venetian Lagoon. Because of this, starting in 1291 all Murano glass-making moved to Murano island, where working furnaces already existed. Of course, since then the glassware from this region received the name of Murano Glass, even though eventually glass-making was again allowed in Venice and in later centuries many factories existed in the historical center of Venice as well as on Murano island.
  4. The confusion in the proper naming of Murano glassware still exists today. The reason is mainly the fact that Murano island is currenty administratively again a part of Venice (it lost its independence from Venice in1924), so all glass made in Murano is technically glass made in Venice. Both terms, Murano Glass and Venetian Glass, can be used interchangeably but the term Murano Glass is more commonly used by artists, collectors, sellers, regulatory bodies, and even museums. Whether handmade glassware from the Venetian lagoon is called Murano Glass or Venetian Glass, it is authentic if it is handcrafted on Murano island according the ancient techniques and traditions of the craft.
Murano Glass artisans creating glassware at a glass-making factory in Murano, Italy. Photo credit: GlassOfVenice.com

At GlassOfVenice.com we believe that it is important to understand the roots of Murano Glass and its rich history in order to truly understand the unique value and historical significance of Murano Glass Art. Learn more about Murano Glass on our blog and in our special Murano Glass portal.

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Why Is Murano Glass So Expensive?

Murano Glass bowl is being made by an artisan in Murano Italy
Murano Glass bowl is being made by an artisan in Murano, Italy. Photo credit: GlassOfVenice.com

Why is Murano Glass so expensive? Authentic Murano Glass is art glass that is made by hand in Murano, Italy using only basic tools, special furnaces, and techniques that come from ancient times. Italian artists and artisans need decades of hands-on experience in order to craft the high-quality art glass that is valued by collectors and art aficionados. Add to this the high prices of raw materials which often include precious metals and you will realize why Murano Glass prices are much higher than factory-made glassware you can find anywhere.

So what determines the prices of Murano Glass pieces and why does Murano Glass seem expensive compared to factory-made knock-offs? We break it down for you here:

  1. The special skills the artisans need to create Murano Glass and the small number of qualified Murano Glass artisans. There are many Murano Glass techniques that master artisans may use, such as Millefiori, Avventurina, Sommerso, Filigrana, and each master typically specializes in only one or two techniques. These techniques are complicated and many pieces take hours and several artisans to make, which leads to a high price tag.
  2. The source materials get more expensive each year. Some colors require the incorporation of metals such as cobalt, silver, or gold. In many cases, Murano pieces have special shimmer, which is achieved by layering glass with 24 karat gold or .925 sterling silver. Needless to say, the precious and semi-precious metals command high prices that keep on increasing over time.
  3. The expenses involved in operating furnaces. While small jewelry is typically crafted using only a small flame, larger pieces such as tumblers, bowls, vases, sculptures, and chandeliers require the use of special furnaces. Murano Glass factories making those items are organized around one or more furnaces (“fornace” in Italian), which take a long time to bring into proper operating condition, cannot be extinguished overnight, and use high volumes of expensive gas. In addition, in the pandemic times, many restrictions hit the operation of factories on Murano very hard, as blowing glass in a confined space is an inherently risky activity during a pandemic.
  4. The high rents for store owners in Venice, Italy. Murano Glass sellers in Venice need to pay high rents for the premium real estate and storefronts that line the busiest alleyways and squares (or rather “campo’s” or the “piazza” in the case of Piazza San Marco) in Venice. In addition, because Venice’s floods are frequent and sometimes severe, the insurance costs for both space and the merchandise run high and restoration after floods takes time and effort. Therefore, as strange as it is, often you will pay more for the same item in a Venetian store than you would to an online seller, even abroad.
  5. The customs charges and shipping fees for sellers abroad. Murano Glass is only produced in Venice, Italy, therefore, all sellers outside of Italy need to import it in order to sell. Importing comes with high costs made up of customs fees for each item dictated by the country of the importer and the shipping fees that can make up as much as 20-30% of the price. Shipping and insuring fragile and heavy glassware across continents is a costly undertaking, and the price of Murano Glass pieces reflects this.
Artisans making Murano Glass vase in Murano Italy
Murano Glass artisans creating a vase at a glass-making factory in Murano, Italy. Photo credit: GlassOfVenice.com

After you take these factors into account, you will better understand why Murano Glass commands high prices. However, that doesn’t mean that you cannot find an authentic piece at a reasonable price. Small Murano jewelry is typically much cheaper than larger creations and a set of unique cufflinks, a lovely handmade Murano Glass pendant, a pair of shimmering earrings or a gold leaf-lined statement ring may be all you need to add a stylish accent of Venetian charm and Italian craftsmanship without breaking the bank.

At GlassOfVenice.com we have the world’s largest collection of authentic Murano Glass jewelry and accessories so that you can find a piece that brings out your personal uniqueness, or find the perfect gift for an elegant woman or man who loves Italy and appreciates the artisan traditions of Murano and beyond.

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Is Murano Glass Valuable?

Murano Glass Is Valuable - Salviati, Toso, Moretti. Murano Glass Museum, Venice
Murano Glass By Salviati, Toso, Moretti, 19th Century. Murano Glass Museum, Venice.

Is Murano Glass valuable? You may wonder -is that Murano piece my grandmother left me special? Yes, many authentic Murano Glass pieces have appraised value of hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Depending on who made them and when, which technique was used, and how rare a piece is, it may be a highly valuable special work of art, or it may be considered a valuable antique.

So why is Murano Glass valuable? And where does its value come from? Here are the main aspects that help determine the value of a Murano Glass piece:

  1. The master or the glassworks that created the piece. Many masters of Murano Glass attained worldwide fame for the special artistic value of their pieces. This list includes Paolo Venini, Alfredo Barbini, Archimede and Livio Seguso, Carlo Scarpa, Vittorio Zecchin, Lino Tagliapetra, Carlo Moretti, Fulvio Bianconi and many other prominent Venetian glass artists. Their signed works, as well as the works marked with the stamps of the most prestigious Murano Glass companies, such as Barovier and Toso, Fratelli Toso, Venini, Moretti, Formia, Gambaro e Poggi, Simone Cenedese, Alessandro Mandruzzato, command high values and top prices on the antique market.
  2. The craftsmanship and the technique. Certain techniques of Murano glass-making are very complex and require incredible skill and precision along with artistic talent. Filigrana, Reticello, and Zanfirico are some of the rarest and valued Murano Glass technique, involving heating, stretching, and twisting glass canes into elaborate lace-like designs. Millefiori (or Murrina in Italian) is another one, where tiny pieces of glass canes with designs inside are fused together into quilt-like patterns.
  3. The age and condition. Murano Glass is an art, and like all artworks, Murano Glass pieces become more valuable with age. Every period of Murano Glassmaking has a unique appeal. The most valuable pieces are the ones that survived from the 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th century Venice, many of which are in museums, while others are carefully kept in private collections. Artworks from the 20th century are easier to come across, with mid-century works making up the majority of this century’s Murano Art Glass heritage. Specialized antique online marketplaces, auction houses, and serious Murano Glass sellers such as GlassOfVenice.com offer authentic valuable mid-century and other vintage Murano masterpieces at competitive prices.
Murano Glass Art By Carlo Scarpa, 20th Century Vintage Glass.

Murano Glass is certainly valuable, first and foremost because it is an art form. You can find many Murano Glass items in the most famous museums of the world, from The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Getty Villa to The British Museum, The Louvre, Murano Glass Museum in Murano, and other prominent collections. But it is possible to own a valuable piece of Murano Glass without breaking the bank. Check out the Vintage Glass Collection curated by Glass Of Venice where we offer valuable pieces by Formia, Loredano Rossin, Seguso Vetri d’Arte, Licio Zanetti, Salviati, and others, which are the true art heirlooms to keep in your family and pass to future generations.


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What Is So Special About Murano Glass?

What is so special about Murano Glass by GlassOfVenice.com
Murano Glass master at work in a glass factory in Venice, Italy. Photo credit: GlassOfVenice.com

What is so special about Murano Glass and why is it so famous? Murano Glass is an art form that exists on Murano island in Venice, Italy for over a thousand years. Murano Glass is handmade by highly skilled glass masters. and each glassware creation is unique and valuable. Owning a Murano Glass piece signifies not only having class and artistic taste but also being a part of a long Venetian tradition and knowing how to enjoy the finer things in life.

Here are the 3 main things that make Murano Glass so special:

1. Murano Glass has a long history.

Practiced in Venice at least from the 8th century, Murano Glass became one of the Venetian republic’s key industries by the 1200s and all glass-making factories were moved from Venice to Murano in 1291. Since then, Murano Glass art became famous and popular far beyond the shores of the Venetian republic. It was favored by monarchs, nobility, and successful merchants for its radiance, translucency, and feather-light weight.

Murano Island Old Map Murano Glass History
Old map of Murano island. Photo credit: GlassOfVenice.com

2. Murano Glass is an art.

Despite the modest roots from which it grew initially, when it was simply a craft that required skilled hands and involved a repeatable process, today Murano Glass is in fact a recognized art form. Many Murano master glassmakers made the name of themselves in the art world by being bold and daring and realizing the emerging art trends of their time in glass form, or by collaborating with other artists across the art spectrum. World-famous names such as Salviati, Toso, Batovier, Zecchin, Capellin, Seguso, Scarpa, Bianconi, Martinuzzi, Barbini. Zanetti, Rosin, and many others make up the hall of fame of Murano Glass Art.

Murano Glass Art In Museum In Venice
Murano Glass on display in a museum in Venice, Italy. Photo credit: GlassOfVenice.com

3. Authentic Murano Glass is valuable.

Unlike many other decorative pieces that are mass-produced today in the factories of China, every Murano Glass piece is an original creation made by hand according to the ancient tradition. It has a piece of the heart and soul of the artist, it embodies the unique beauty and radiance of Venice, and beyond the monetary value that may be relatively low or may run into hundreds and thousands of dollars, it has sentimental value that cannot be measured.

If you are thinking about selling your Murano Glass piece down the road, there is a large market of Vintage Murano Glass both on specialty Murano Glass sites like GlassOfVenice and on specialty art and vintage marketplaces such as 1stdibs.com and rubylane.com, as well as on various auction houses’ websites.

Murano Glass Is Valuable
Murano Glass in Correr Museum in Venice, Corning Museum in Corning NY, and Metropolitan Museum in New York City. Photo credit: GlassOfVenice.com

So why is Murano Glass so famous and special? It is made in small factories and workshops on Murano island entirely by hand. The glassmaking process has changed little over the centuries and the master glassmaker uses only very basic tools to create Venetian glassware. Today Murano Glass is an art form, with its own famous names like Salviati, Venini, Seguso, Barovier, Bianconi, Moretti, Barbini, Scarpa, Toso and many more. It is also a vanishing craft, which needs to be protected and sustained since it’s an important part of the history of growth and development of humanity, and a significant component of the world heritage.

People who have been to Venice, Italy instantly fall in love with Murano Glass after browsing small boutiques and large galleries that fill up the island of Murano and Venice itself. If you buy your own Murano Glass artwork, whether in a store in Venice or online from GlassOfVenice, or at an auction, please know that it is not merely a piece of jewelry or a vase, but a way to get closer to the beating heart of Venice that is as strong today as a thousand years ago.

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How To Tell Real Murano Glass – 5 Tips To Identify Before Purchase

5 Tips To Identify Authentic Murano Glass by GlassOfVenice

How can you tell real Murano Glass? Murano Glass is only made on Murano Island in Venice, Italy. It has special features like rich colors and uneven shapes. You need to analyze the colors, imperfections, labels, store reputation, and seller’s knowledge of Murano Glass to determine authenticity.

Here are the five tips to tell original Murano Glass. Recognize real Murano works easily with the help from Glass Of Venice – the globally recognized expert in authentic Murano Glass.

  1. Authentic Murano Glass has rich colors and often real gold or silver specks inside. The color shades vary from item to item.

    When Murano artisans make glassware, they use various minerals to give color to the glass mass. As the glass mass gets heated, the minerals melt and give transparent glass specific colors, such as blue from cobalt or red from gold, green from iron, or pink from manganese. Often the colors get layered on top of each other in a special technique called Sommerso. In addition, the masters often use thin sheets of gold or silver that get added to the glass mass and create a layer of gold or silver sparkles inside the glass. In a special demonstration of mastery, the artisan may create glassware that looks like a bright quilt of mosaic-like pieces, the ancient Roman technique known as Millefiori or Murrina.

    Murano Glass Millefiori Vase Gold
  2. An authentic Murano Glass object has an imperfect shape, or other small imperfections, or size and shape variations.

    When masters create Murano Glass by hand, they do not use exact measurements or machines to create perfect shapes or perfect polish. Therefore, most Murano Glass pieces may come out slightly asymmetrical, with bottoms that have somewhat rough pontil marks where the glass piece was taken off the stick, and sometimes there would be bubbles captured inside the glass. Two items of the same model may vary in terms of shape, size, color shade, or pattern. This is the result of a very manual ancient process, where only basic tools are used and where the masters take pride in following the techniques and traditions of their fathers and grandfathers, with no modern technology or conveyor belts.

    Making Murano Glass Vase in Venice Italy
  3. Authentic Murano Glass often (but not always) has labels with the name of the workshop and the signature of the master and comes with certificates of authenticity.

    If you see phrases like “Vetro Eseguito Secondo La Tecnica Dei Maestri Di Murano” beware: this is a fake. The words mean “glass created following the technique of Murano masters”, meaning this is not glassware made by Murano masters. Watch out for words like “crystal” because Murano Glass is not crystal. If you see the Murano Glass Consortium sign on the piece with a QR code, like the one on the photo of the bowl below, the piece is authentic. If you see the name of the factory on the label, research where they are located. If they are outside of Venice and Murano, they are not selling authentic Murano Glass.  

    Murano Glass Bowl with the signature of master glassblower
  4. Authentic Murano Glass is typically sold in physical stores or on websites, which feature a large selection of high-end art glass items.

    If a store, whether physical or online, sells large gorgeous colorful vases, sculptures, and recognizable expensive typically Venetian pieces such as gondolas, lovers, Moores, clowns, Goldonian ladies and gentlemen, Millefiori glassware, as well as elaborate Venetian chandeliers, most likely this store carries genuine Murano Glass from a number of highly skilled masters and factories.  

    Murano Glass store in Venice Italy
  5. Authentic Murano Glass sellers usually know the world of Murano Glass very well and are able to answer all your questions fully and honestly.

    If you are unsure and can’t decide on the purchase, make a conversation with the seller or contact them by e-mail, chat, or phone. Ask them about the piece, its technique, and the glass-making process, and question them about Murano and Venice. If their level of knowledge is low and they can’t explain much about the piece it’s likely that they don’t sell real Murano Glass. If the store is open about its procurement process and can answer all your questions in an open and friendly manner and give you extensive information on their pieces and process, they are most likely selling real original Murano Glass.

    Master Holding Murano Glass Birds Figurine in Murano Italy

Next time you are shopping for authentic Murano Glass online and want to make sure you buy an original Murano Glass artwork hand-made in Venice, Italy shop with us at www.GlassOfVenice.com. We are an official original Murano Glass importer and seller and have been in business since 2008. We work directly with over 30 different Murano Glass artisans, workshops, and factories in Venice and visit them often to keep up our close relationships and see the pieces in person before bringing them to our customers. Our customers love us and keep coming back for more hand-made Venetian Glass creations. Read our customer reviews and try us out. We promise you will be satisfied. Happy shopping!

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Where to Buy Murano Glass in the UK

Our customers from the UK frequently ask us where to buy Murano Glass in the UK. We can recommend several options for finding and buying authentic Murano Glass for UK residents, including GlassOfVenice website and Amazon.

In looking for the best options to buy Murano Glass in the UK you need to weigh the following considerations:

  1. Authenticity
    Make sure the glassware you are purchasing is authentic, which means made by hand in one of the established workshops on Murano island using the traditional methods and techniques. Please read our blog article to know how to make sure the piece you want to purchase is genuine Murano Glass and not a fake made in China. This is especially important if you are shopping at marketplaces such as Amazon or eBay, where lots of fakes are peddled as authentic Murano Glass.
  2. Price
    The prices of genuine Murano Glass pieces vary widely, from just a few British pounds for a pair of small Murano earrings to thousands of pounds for art glass pieces such as vases and sculptures, and many thousands for lighting and chandeliers. We advise you to comparison shop online and see what prices are for Murano Glass pieces that are similar to the one you like in style, technique, and size. In addition, fakes are typically surprisingly cheap, hence if you see a piece that is too cheap to be true, it’s probably fake. Read our article to understand how much Murano Glass should cost and how to pay the right price for the piece that you like.
  3. Assortment
    There are a number of Murano Glass online stores, however, many only carry certain types of pieces, such as only vases and sculptures, only chandeliers and other lighting fixtures, or only jewellery. Find and compare several websites that carry the items that you want. Your best bet is to seek out a site that carries the full range of Murano Glass, as such sites will have the most extensive connections with the artisans and often the most experience shipping the items and the best prices.
  4. Shipping Fees and Policies
    Because you are in the United Kingdom, you need to shop at an online store that ships to the UK and has reasonable shipping fees as well as covers any shipping-related damages. Once you add all the items to your shopping cart, start going through the checkout to see how much the shipping fees will be and compare them to other sellers. In addition, make sure that the seller will replace the items free of charge should they arrive damaged. Glass is fragile and it is very possible that your item may not be adequately packaged or may break from rough handling by the carrier. Also make sure you understand return policies of the seller and buy from those where return is easy and not overly expensive from the UK. At GlassOfVenice.com we ship to the UK every day and we always replace any items that arrive damaged promptly and free of charge.
  5. Buying from Italian vs. the UK or U.S. sellers
    While the majority of online sellers of Murano Glass are based in Italy, there are a few including Glass Of Venice that are in the U.S. or in the U.K. The quality of customer service and communication, and of the buying and shipping processes will often be better when you shop from the US or UK online stores. While the Italian stores are closest to the artisans, they will often have difficult replacement and return conditions and long lead times due to not having items in stock. At Glass Of Venice we keep all items in stock and ship everything within 24 business hours from purchase. If you buy from Amazon or eBay ascertain first what seller you are actually dealing with and where they are based, do not rely on the marketplace itself to take care of all the issues that may arise with your purchase.

If you are in the UK you have many options for buying Murano Glass and having it quickly delivered to your doorstep. Research the sellers, compare the prices, and find the pieces you like online. Good luck!

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Where To See Murano Glass Blowing When Visiting Venice

Where To See Murano Glass Blowing? We’ll tell you how to find the best family-owned real Murano Glass factory where you can see the real glass-making, not a tourist show. If you get trapped into the tourist pitch, you will see a very basic short demonstration by someone who barely knows the craft, and will be quickly ushered into the retail area and encouraged to shop and overspend. To avoid this experience, we recommend a place where you can see the authentic glass-blowing process on Murano without any sales pitch.

  1. How to avoid a tourist trap While there are many factories and workshops on Murano, there are also many that pretend to be factories, when in reality, they are merely showrooms. In order to get the best glass-making demonstration experience, a tourist must be careful and not get pulled into showrooms and retail stores pretending to be factories. Most places that offer demonstrations on Murano are just such retail locations. They often claim to be the only place where you can see a real Murano Glass demonstration and the items they sell are overpriced and often not authentic Murano Glass.

    We also strongly recommend that you steer clear of hotel-sponsored trips to see Murano glass-making. And do not engage with people strategically standing near Vaporetto stops with signs on seeing Murano glass-making.

  2. Where to see the real Murano Glass demonstration The place that we know well and recommend to our customers and all Murano visitors is located at Calle San Cipriano 48, 30141 Murano and is called Vetreria Murano Arte or VMA. For a small 3 euro fee, you can see real masters work in the real family-owned Murano Glass factory and create wonders of Murano Glass. The added benefit is that you don’t need to make reservations in advance or connect with an organization that will facilitate the glass-blowing demonstration. Just show up at your convenience and see the demo with no sales pressure.

    Murano Glass Blowing Demonstration

  3. How to get to Murano Island and see the glass making demonstration To see this glass blowing demo all you need to do is take Vaporetto to Murano from Fondamente Nove stop in Venice and get off at Murano Colonna stop. Then ignore all the people promoting demonstrations and holding up signs, get off the Vaporetto, turn left and walk along the embankment. In about 5-7 minutes you will reach Vetreria Murano Arte. The demonstration is open weekdays between the hours of 9am and 4pm. Children under 11 years all can see the demonstration free of charge.

Murano Glass Blowing is a mesmerizing process which takes its roots from Roman glass-blowing and has evolved over the centuries in the Venetian Republic and in modern-day Italy into a prominent art form. There are hundreds of workshops and small factories on Murano island, most family enterprises, where one or more maestro’s work with hot glass, assisted by a few helpers.

A typical factory has several furnaces where the artisans repeatedly heat up the glass mass to make it malleable. Once heated up, the master takes the glass blob on a metal rod to the special bench, where they work on the hot glass blob, while constantly turning the rod to make sure the shape stays and the glass doesn’t fall onto one side. The masters use very basic tools and instruments to cut and shape the glass, and it’s their precision, experience, talent, and fantasy that make their creations unique art glass pieces renown throughout the world.

To become a Murano Glass master, one has to start out working in a furnace as a child and work alongside an experienced maestro to learn all the tricks and secrets of this unique and ancient trade. The most talented artisans then develop their own manner and artistic style, becoming famous maestros in their own right. This old-fashioned way of learning is still practiced in Murano, and all the masters we work with at Glass of Venice have learned their craft in this way.

If this sounds interesting, the next time you are on Murano make sure to visit the real glass-making demonstration without the sales pitch, and then walk around Murano island at your leisure. Peek into stores and galleries and view the beautiful Murano Glass jewelry, vases, sculptures and figurines to see if anything attracts your attention.

If you find a piece that you’d like to purchase, make sure it’s authentic. If you are taking it along with you, ensure that it will be packed well for its voyage home. Otherwise, if you would like it shipped to your home, remember to take down the information about the store, the salesperson, and agree on all the specifics of shipping to avoid any surprises with regard to the shipping fees and timing.

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How To Clean Murano Glass Chandelier

How to clean Murano Glass Chandelier? There are several ways. The best way to clean a Murano Glass Chandelier is to disassemble it and clean parts one by one. If it’s too difficult then you can do some light cleaning by simply removing dust with microfiber cloth without disassembly. Do not use any chemicals or sprays to clean your Murano Glass Chandelier as this may damage the glass.

Here are the key steps to clean Murano Glass Chandelier:

  1. Turn off the light and let the bulbs cool completely.
  2. Disassemble the chandelier by removing each glass element one by one. Remove each leaf, flower, shade, arm, and finally the central stem.
  3. Fill a large plastic tub with warm water. Add a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar to the water.
  4. Roll out a large towel on the counter or on a table.
  5. Take the first glass element and put it in the tub. Make sure it is entirely submerged, or submerge different parts in turn by hand. After it is cleaned in the water-and-vinegar solution, dry it off with lint-free cloth and lay on the prepared towel.
  6. Repeat the process with each glass element of the chandelier.
  7. When all the elements have been cleaned and dried, re-assemble the chandelier.

If you choose to disassemble your Murano Glass Chandelier for cleaning, be very careful, as broken elements are almost impossible to replace. However, if you purchased your chandelier from GlassOfVenice and happen to break an element, do not despair. Contact us and we will assist you with ordering a spare part. If you clean your chandelier every several months, it will sparkle and reflect light in the best possible way.

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Is Murano Glass Made In China?

Never! The short answer is Murano Glass cannot be made in China. It can only be made in Venice, Italy using specific methods and techniques used by Murano Glass artisans for over a thousand years.


Mazzega Murano Glass
Despite millions of people visiting Venice and Murano every year, unfortunately, there is still a lot of confusion about Murano Glass. To resolve any misunderstanding it is important to know what Murano Glass is. Murano Glass is glassware made by hand on Murano island in Venice, Italy, according to very specific ancient techniques and recipes that have been passed from generation to generation of Murano master-glassmakers.
Murano Glass Marco Polo Glass Factory
This glass can serve decorative, artistic, and functional purpose, and can be crafted into jewelry, accessories, figurines, vases, stemware, tabletop, and many other types of objects. In addition, Murano Glass is always made from local ingredients, which matters because the quality of key ingredients, such as sand, from Venice area is unmatched anywhere else when it comes to its use in glass craftsmanship.
Murano Glass Store In Murano Italy
Now it is hopefully clear that Murano Glass can never be made in China, or anywhere else, besides Venice, Italy. The official consortium of Murano Glass companies established in Venice in 1985 requires that production factory of every member company be based on Murano island, and does not accept as members companies (even Italian ones) that produce their art glass outside of Murano.
Fratelli Toso Murano Glass
Art glass schools and traditions have been established outside of Murano as well, some more recently and some centuries ago, in places such as Bohemia, England, France, Sweden, Brazil, and more recently Asia. However, none of them can match the creativity, technical know-how, and creative talent that have consistently been the hallmarks of authentic Murano Glass. Murano Glass masters were the first ones in the world to recover and evolve the methods and techniques of glass-making using glass-blowing, molds, small flame, used by the ancient Romans, and turned glass-making into an art form. While there are many beautiful art glass pieces produced outside of Murano, Murano Glass is characterized by the degree of lightness, color depth, aesthetics and artistic design unmatched anywhere else.
Seguso Murano Glass
Perhaps because of confusion about the word Murano, and whether it stands for a geographic location, a type of glassware, or a brand, many people do not realize that Murano Glass should indeed be Murano-made and cannot come from any other places such as China.

Online marketplaces feature thousands of unscrupulous sellers who peddle various non-Murano glass pieces as Murano, or call them Murano-style to avoid potential liability. Many of such pieces are in fact made in China and have nothing to do with authentic Murano Glass. Be careful shopping for Murano Glass online or in-person, and peruse our exclusive comprehensive guide on how to recognize authentic Murano Glass and avoid fakes. This guide is available here: How Do I Know If A Murano Glass Item Is Genuine?
Murano Glass Boxes On Boat In Venice Italy

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How Expensive Is Murano Glass?

Murano Glass Making - How Expensive Is Murano Glass

How expensive is Murano Glass? Authentic Murano Glass prices range from very affordable small jewelry that is under $20 to extremely expensive art glass pieces which run into thousands of dollars. The great news is that you do not need to break the bank to own a piece of genuine Murano Glass.

So why are certain Murano Glass pieces more expensive than others? We explain what Murano Glass prices depend on. Here are the key factors that define the price:

  1. The difficulty of making the piece. This depends primarily on the Murano Glass technique used by the master. Some techniques involve multi-step processes, which require exceptional skill, precision, and take a long time to complete, making the piece very expensive.
  2. The cost and difficulty of obtaining source materials. Gold and silver leaf layering have high costs, thanks to the use of 24 karat gold and .925 sterling silver.
  3. The item type and color. This matters because Murano Glass colors are created using minerals fused into the hot glass. Murano Glass chandeliers, vases, and sculptures in red and black colors are usually more expensive than blue or transparent ones. Larger and more complex Murano Glass pieces, like large sculptures or chandeliers, cost more than smaller ones.

The main factor that determines the price of a Murano Glass piece is workmanship. For example, Millefiori (translated from Italian as “a thousand flowers”) is a technique of creating special Murano glass canes with a pattern inside, then cutting them up into small cross-sections (“murrine”), then assembling the murrine into a certain pattern, and fusing them together in the furnace multiple times to achieve the famous mosaic glass, or Millefiori, look.

Millefiori Glass Making - How Expensive is Murano Glass

This is a painstaking process which requires exceptional skill, dexterity, and many hours of work even for a small piece. Hence, Millefiori Murano Glass typically commands higher prices and it is easy to distinguish fake Millefiori glass from the real Murano-made, as counterfeits are usually sloppily made in China, and lack exquisiteness and brightness of colors that distinguish authentic Murano Glass. You can expect to pay $20 – $50 U.S. dollars for authentic Millefiori earrings and pendants, depending on the size and pattern, and over $100 U.S. dollars for Millefiori vases and sculptures.

Sommerso Murano Glass Making - How Expensive is Murano Glass

Another expensive Murano Glass technique is Sommerso, which is crafted by carefully dipping glass of one color into molten glass of another color, and potentially creating more than 2 layers this way. This is a very difficult process which, when executed correctly, means that the layers of differently colored glass never mix, creating distinct bands of colors within one art glass piece. Sommerso vases, bowls, and sculptures command relatively high prices, from around $150 for a relatively small 2-layer piece to over a thousand dollars for large multi-layer Sommerso art glass creations.

Murano Glass Tre Fuochi Wine Glasses

One more example of expensive glassware is gold-leaf and enamel-decorated Murano Glass made in a rare technique called Tre Fuochi, which means “three flames” or “triple-firing” in Italian. This technique hails from the opulence of the eighteenth century Venice where many wealthy Venetians and foreigners sought out exclusive tableware to show off their elite status at dinners and balls. Tre Fuochi technique involves lots of expensive 24 karat gold and painstaking manual work of painting gold leaf and enamels on the glassware.

The process is split into three stages. First, intricate gold leaf decoration is applied by hand to the colored glasses, goblets, carafes, bowls, or vases. Then the glassware goes into the special furnace which is heated up to the point when the gold permanently bonds with the glass. After that in another manual decorating session, various enamels are handcrafted on the glass, usually in the form of flowers, leaves, or abstract elaborate decorative elements, and then the glassware goes into the furnace again to make the enamel fuse with the gold and the glass. In the end, the final decorative touches are added by hand and the glass goes into the furnace for the third and last time to ensure complete fusion. Then the glass undergoes gradual cooling to ensure it won’t shatter from stress.

Needless to say, this extremely complex process is costly, and requires a lot of time, skill in both glass-blowing and hand-decorating, and special furnace setup. Therefore, very few artisans still create these pieces and you can expect to pay high prices of over a hundred dollars per piece for tre fuochi wine glasses, carafes, and other tableware.

It is hard to save on Murano Glass, since much of the price is based on the amount of work and skill required to produce this exquisite glassware in Italy. However, in order to pay the best price, it helps to understand what determines the price and shop around to see who offers the best prices. However, after accounting for the size, workmanship, and color, the price should still look reasonable and not so low that it’s likely the piece is fake. Often the best prices are found in small stores on Murano island (not the large and commercialized “factory” outlets, which are often not affiliated with any factory at all).

The next best option is on the internet, where you can find large importers and distributors who can keep the prices low due to the high volumes and lack of retail space. Our company, GlassOfVenice.com has been in business for over 10 years and is the largest online distributor of authentic Murano Glass in the world. Unlike our competitors, we have exclusive contracts with many small family Murano Glass workshops, which allows us to offer the highest quality exclusive artistic Murano Glass at very reasonable prices.

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