Category Archives: Murano Glass Questions

We receive many Murano Glass questions from our customers asking about autheticity, replacement parts, repair, and lots of other things. Read our answers to your pressing Murano Glass questions here. We at GlassOfVenice help you choose, buy, and enjoy top quality authentic Murano Glass.

Where To See Murano Glass Blowing

Where To See Murano Glass Blowing is the most frequent question about Murano Glass that we receive at GlassOfVenice. 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. These showrooms run very basic short demonstrations and quickly usher you into the retail area urging you 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.

Read on to find out how to locate the best glass-making demonstration on Murano island. We also strongly recommend to steer clear of hotel-sponsored trips to see Murano glass-making, or following suggestions of people strategically standing near vaporetto stops with signs on seeing Murano glass-making.

Murano Glass Blowing is a mesmerizing process which takes its roots from Roman glass-blowing and has evolved over the centuries in 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 on Murano, and all the masters we work with at Glass of Venice have learned their craft in this way.

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.

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

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.

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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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?

How expensive is Murano Glass? People ask this question often because they want to understand whether authentic hand-made artistic Murano Glass can be affordable. In fact, 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.
Murano Glass Making - How Expensive Is Murano Glass
So what do Murano Glass prices depend on? There are a variety of factors that define the price.

  • First and most important factor is 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.

  • The second factor is the cost and difficulty of obtaining source materials. Certain techniques have high costs, such as gold-leaf layering, which requires the use of 24 karat gold.

  • The third factor is the item type and color. Larger and more complex Murano Glass pieces, like large sculptures or chandeliers, often cost more than smaller ones, and Murano Glass vases and figurines in red and black color are usually more expensive than blue or transparent ones.

The main factor that determines the price of a Murano Glass piece is the technique used to make it. 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.

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 fakes are often sloppily made in China, and lack exquisiteness and brightness of colors that distinguish authentic Murano Glass. You can expect to pay $20 – $40 U.S. dollars for Millefiori earrings and pendants, depending on the size and pattern, and over $100 U.S. dollars for Millefiori vases and sculptures.
Millefiori 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 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.
Sommerso Murano Glass Making - How Expensive is Murano Glass

One more example of expensive glassware is gold-leaf and enamel-decorated Murano Glass made in now 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, when 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.
Murano Glass Tre Fuochi Wine Glasses

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 cost 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 price. However, 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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How to Buy Murano Glass in Venice

Murano Glass store selling authentic glassware made on Murano

If you want to buy Murano Glass in Venice, you need to understand several key things: how and where Murano Glass is made and what it looks like, where to find genuine Murano Glass, how to pay the right price, and how to bring your purchase safely back home.

  1. How Murano Glass is made.
  2. There are many different methods and techniques of making Murano Glass, some ancient and some modern, some used to make very light and delicate pieces, others used to create large and heavy imposing objects. Jewelry is frequently made under a small gas flame from special pre-made glass canes, using technique called “a lume” in Italian and “lampworking” in English. Mosaic-like designs are crafted using Millefiori technique, milky opaque designs are achieved with Lattimo technique, regular bubble patterns crafted with Bullicante technique, just to name a few. You need to become familiar with all the main techniques and the resulting designs to understand the important information that the appearance of Murano glass pieces can relay to you.

  3. Where Murano Glass is made.
  4. Murano Glass has been traditionally made on Murano Island in the commune of Venice, but these days the production spilled over into Venice proper. While the official Murano Glass consortium refuses to acknowledge any glass makers who do not physically have an office on Murano, those based in Venice are really every bit as genuine and legitimate as the ones based on Murano, and their glass-making practices are exactly the same. It is important to remember that Murano Glass is not made outside of Venice, even if elsewhere in Italy, and that few, if any, masters of non-Venetian origin are involved in this craft.

  5. How to find genuine Murano Glass.
  6. If you familiarized yourself with Murano glass-making methods and the resulting designs, and have checked out out enough stores (or at least store windows) on Murano Island and in Venice, you will probably know well enough what to expect and what to look out for. Of course any place that has very low prices should be avoided. Your best bets are stores that carry many different styles and types of items, feature sophisticated store design, have knowledgeable staff, and sell pieces that have stickers, signatures, and authenticity certificates.

    Always try to talk to the salesperson or store owner before making a purchase and find out as much as you can about the artisans he works with, his experience with Murano Glass, his thoughts on the current state of Venice and Murano Glass industry, and his local knowledge. Stores that stock fakes typically try to save on everything, from store design to sales staff, and will often hire salespeople of non-Venetian or even non-Italian origin, who know little about Murano Glass.

  7. How to pay the right price.
  8. It is very disappointing to find a piece you love and pay a fortune for it, only to find out later that the next store sells something very similar for half the price. Even though you should be aware of places that sell things very cheap (which typically means they sell fakes), it is important to get a good feel for the prices on authentic Murano glass in Venice before buying that piece you just love. There are rarely two pieces that are exactly the same in different stores, but similar pieces made in the same technique are often easy to find, and comparison-shopping is very possible and advisable.

    Contrary to popular thinking, Murano Island does not always offer better prices. Many glitzy showrooms on Murano have agreements with Venetian hotels, which talk guests into free no-obligation visits in private boats. Once in the showroom, such captive visitors often experience lots of sales pressure and are made to feel that this is their last opportunity to buy, and the best price they could possibly get. Needless to say, this is usually not the case, but many unsuspecting tourists do fall in this trap and buy expensive pieces on the spot, which they later regret.

  9. How to ship Murano Glass home from Venice.
  10. Once you found the piece you love, are positive that it is authentic, and know that you are paying the right price, don’t yet rush to make a purchase. Find out first how the piece will get to your home. Of course it may be tempting to just take the piece with you, but it may not be practical if it is very fragile, large, heavy, or otherwise presents a challenge on the plane, train or other means of transportation that you will take.

    Many Venetian and Murano merchants will offer you to ship your purchase. This sounds convenient but presents its own challenges. When and how will it be shipped? Will you be able to track it yourself? What happens if it gets damaged in transit or disappears along the way? What will you do if due to some misunderstanding or error it never leaves the warehouse, or if you receive the wrong piece altogether? Always make sure that you have the information of the contact person in the store or factory, and have recourse in case something goes wrong with the shipment. If you can take your Murano Glass treasure with you without too much trouble, we always advise you to do that rather than have it shipped.

    If you do ship it and something goes wrong, contact the store that sold you the item and speak with them about resolving the situation. The more reputable the store, the higher the chances that they will work with you and make things right.
    How Murano Glass is shipped from Venice
    In conclusion, many people believe that it is best to purchase Murano Glass in Venice because that way they will certainly get an authentic piece at the right price. Unfortunately, just by buying in Venice you are neither assured authenticity, nor a good deal. So many merchants peddle fake glassware in Venice that police is periodically raiding the stores and seizing the counterfeits. Moreover, lots of unscrupulous store owners take advantage of unsuspecting tourists charging them sky-high prices for mediocre-quality pieces that may or may not be genuine. If you do decide to shop for Murano Glass in Venice, please follow our advice to avoid the common traps. It is important to be armed with information in order to solve any potential problems.

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How can I find a spare part for my Murano Glass item?

Continuing with our series of Murano Glass Q&A we’d like to cover a question we get often, which is whether we can help get a spare part for Murano Glass item. Most often this question concerns Murano glass watches and Venetian chandeliers.

Let us start by saying that generally Murano Glass masters do not create spare parts. In the case of Murano Glass chandeliers, it may be possible to obtain a spare part only from the glass factory where you purchased your chandelier. For this reason as well as for quality and service assurance, if you do go to Venice and Murano and decide to purchase a chandelier there, we highly recommend purchasing only from a reputable factory on Murano. Please remember to make a note of the factory’s name, the owners/salesperson’s names and contact information, and keep this info along with your proof of purchase in a safe place in case a delivery fails, the chandelier arrives damaged or not as expected, or you need a spare part years down the road. Alternatively, you can purchase one of our Venetian chandeliers and we will work with the glass makers to provide the required spare part for you should you need it later on.

As for Murano Glass watches, the most sought-after parts are the millefiori-decorated crystal and the leather strap or the bangle. Unfortunately, it is not possible to replace the millefiori crystal, if yours broke the only option is to buy a new watch. Same goes for the bangle bracelet. The strap, however, can be replaced, and we’ll be happy to look into the strap replacement requests for our customers.

To get a quality piece of artistic Murano Glass, please see our wide selection of authentic Murano Glass at www.GlassOfVenice.com

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How To Visit Murano Glass Factory

How to visit Murano Glass factory in Venice
People often ask us how to visit a Murano Glass factory. If you would like to see how Murano Glass is made, the best option is to take a vaporetto to Murano and just take a walk around the island (which is very pretty, less touristy and much quieter than Venice). There you will quickly find furnaces and workshops that are open to tourists and offer demonstrations. If you decide to visit a Murano Glass factory here are the tips that will make your visit better:

  • August is a bad time to visit Murano. All Murano glass factories are closed for the entire month of August by Murano tradition, primarily due to unbearable heat inside the non-air-conditioned factories aggravated by high outside temperatures. If you must visit during August you may end up in a very touristy place that is a “fake factory” i.e. set up specifically to offer quick demos to unsuspecting tourists and mainly to get them into a showroom and entice them to shop. For this reason, if you visit Venice in August, we suggest to forgo a factory visit.
  • It is best to visit furnaces on weekday mornings. Most of them are closed during the lunch hour (which tends to be longer than in the U.S. and often runs until 2-3pm) and on weekends.
  • These tours and demonstrations should always be free of charge. Do not agree to deal with anyone who offers to get you into the factory for a fee.
  • In Venice, you may encounter sales representatives from touristy factory showrooms that will offer you a free boat trip to Murano. If you accept, be prepared for a lot of sales pressure when you get there and make sure you know how to get back. In fact, it is always better to come to Murano by relatively inexpensive and efficient public transportation, and not have to depend on pushy salespeople.
  • The exit from a demo is almost always through a richly stocked showroom where you may encounter variable amounts of sales pressure. Look at the prices first, and if things seem too expensive – don’t buy. The factories often give you an impression that they sell cheaper “direct from factory”, or that no-one else has the pieces they have, but this often not true. Make sure to comparison shop around the island before making a purchase – you could save hundreds of dollars this way.
  • If you do decide to buy something, we strongly encourage you to take it with you. There is nothing worse than getting home and trying in vain to track down your shipment. If you would like it shipped, make sure that:
    1. Your purchase will be very well packed (ask the salespeople to show you how they pack glassware for shipping).
    2. Make sure that you know how and when the shipment will reach you. Find out the name of the carrier and insist on getting a tracking number.
    3. Always take down the contact information of the factory and the name and e-mail of the salesperson in case any problems arise later on.

If while wondering around Murano island you come across a workshop where work is going on but you are refused entry, do not take it personally. The artisans we work with and many other reputable Murano glass artists do not open the doors of their workshops to tourists and here is why:
  • The artisans consider their business a serious affair and heavily guard their glass-making secrets, so they would like to avoid any unnecessary distractions or intrusions
  • The main expertise of the artisans is in production of Murano glass and not in entertaining tourists or explaining the process to them.
  • The workshops arent’s staffed to handle the inflow of tourists
  • No factories are usually interested in tourist visits just for the sake of showing them the glass-making process. Those factories that agree to hold these demonstrations do so for a chance to sell their wares, often in a pushy way and for above-average price.

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Where to buy Murano Glass online in the U.S.A. and how to avoid fakes

While visiting Venice, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the quantity and variety of Murano glass offered for sale all over the city. However, once the tourists return home and start wearing or displaying their beautiful Murano glass pieces, they instantly get many compliments and questions about these items, prompting them to think that they should have purchased more Murano glass items both for themselves and as gifts. Then they realize that Murano glass is not widely available around them, and wonder where they can buy more Murano glassware. Fortunately, there is no need to make a trip to Venice to purchase beautiful authentic reasonably-priced Murano Glass.

While outside of Venice there are not many stores specializing in genuine Murano glass, and counterfeits are abound, one can still find a good selection of genuine Murano glass products even after they leave Italy. But be careful with internet shopping because many Chinese factories these days are churning out glassware they label as “Murano” or “Murano style” when in reality it has nothing to do with Venice’s world-famous craft. In addition, many legitimate Murano Glass online stores are physically located in Italy, which may become problematic for the U.S.A.-based customers both in terms of shipping, returns/exchanges and customer service. We have unfortunately heard many sad stories from our customers who were previously ordering from Italian websites and never received their items, or were unable to work with their customer service staff due to the problems with their work hours and the language barrier.
GlassOfVenice Website - we sell only authentic Murano Glass
When choosing a website to buy your Murano Glass treasure you should look carefully at the following:

  • The website should have a well-written “About Us” section where you can find out their credentials and read about the company history. Make sure the company has been in business for at least a few years, and is writing things on their About Us page that resonate with you. Ideally you would understand from this page why they are in this business and why and how they are able to offer authentic products.

  • The website should have contact information including a toll-free phone number and physical address in the United States. Always check on Google Maps or a similar website to see that this address is not someone’s residence but a legitimate business office.

  • The website should spell out easy-to-follow return policies with return for any reason possible within 30-days or more, as well as free replacement of damaged items. This shows that the seller is confident in their product quality and appeal, and is willing to take care of any issues that may arise during shipping.

  • The website should have a large selection of Murano Glass pieces, including jewelry, vases, figurines and sculptures, drinkware and tableware, as well as lighting, and a variety of price ranges all the way to exclusive art glass. This lets you know that the company is serious about its Murano Glass product selection and offers some expensive art glass pieces that are much harder to fake.

  • The website should have clear and multiple high-quality photos and videos of the products. This helps you understand several things:
    1) whether they have Murano Glass pieces in stock (a requirement to make high quality photos).
    2) whether they are serious about Murano Glass and consider it worthy of the spend required to purchase expensive photo and video equipment, or to hire professional photographers.
    3) you’ll know what the product looks like from different angles and see whether it has any markings or labels to better judge about its authenticity.

  • Check out the website’s shipping timelines and existence of expedited shipping options. If the company can ship within 24 hours and has expedited shipping options, such as overnight, that lets you know that they are warehousing the products and not drop-shipping them using a third party. You should avoid dealing with the drop-shippers because it is impossible to verify where they get their pieces from, and they are much more likely to sell fake Murano glass

  • The website which deals in authentic Murano Glass is always interested in educating its customers and helping them avoid fakes, and so it should offer more than just products for sale. Check to see if the website you are looking at has a comprehensive educational section or a blog where the company shares the insights about all things related to Murano Glass, such as masters, techniques, history, and photos and videos.

  • Finally, always check Alibaba website, which has a lot of fake Chinese Murano Glass listings prior to shopping to see what Murano Glass fakes look like (and you’ll be very surprised by how cheap it is!). If you check enough listings of fakes you will be able to spot them much easier when shopping for Murano Glass online.
  • Alibaba sells a lot of fake Murano glass - educate yourself before buying

    We at GlassOfVenice consider it our mission to educate current and prospective customers about Murano Glass and help them buy and enjoy authentic Murano Glass pieces, whether they choose to shop with us at GlassOfVenice.com or not. We work directly with the glass artisans on Murano island bypassing all middlemen, so that we can be 100% confident in the authenticity and quality of our products by following their path all the way from the furnace to our warehouse.

    We are also proud to say that we know all the artisans we deal with personally, and visit them often to foster true collaboration and provide them with feedback directly from our customers to ensure that the product they create works well for our discerning clientele in the United States and beyond. Please feel free to e-mail us at support@glassofvenice.com if you have any questions about Murano Glass shopping on- and off-line or need help with any of our products.

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I have a beautiful glass item. Is it Murano glass?

As with many works of art, it is not always easy to determine whether a particular glass item is authentic Murano glass, and it is even harder to attribute it to a particular master. Over the centuries, there were so many trends and techniques in Murano glass that the spectrum of possibilities of what a genuine Murano glass item may look like is very wide. From imitations of classical antiquity to enameled glass, glass made to look like chalcedony or other semi-precious stones, glass with filigree and engravings, Murano masters made miracles out of glass for 800 years. These days, one can only come across Murano glassware from the Middle Ages in museums such as the famous Glass Museum in Murano. However, Murano glass from more recent times such as 19th and 20th century, often made by famous masters, can often be found in ordinary people’s possessions.

If you come across an item that you think may be Murano glass, first of all look for any labels, etchings, stamps or signs stating the origin of the item or name of the glass-making company. If you find any, and it contains names like Salviati, Seguso, Barovier, Toso, Moretti, Mandruzzato, Venini, Zanetti, Nason, Signoretto, Barbini, Bianconi, Cenedese or words like “Vetro Murano”, “Vetreria Artistica….Murano”, “Maestri Vetrai Murano” or similar, you are probably holding a genuine Murano glass article. If there are no labels or etchings, identification is more complicated and has to be made on the basis of the look and glassmaking technique alone. The best approach in this case is to take several high quality photos of your article from various viewpoints and send them to experts for identification and attribution. GlassOfVenice.com has been dealing with Murano glass for many years and can help you with such requests for free.

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What is the difference between Murano glass and any other glass?

Murano glass is glass in a chemical sense of the word. However, Murano glass is as different from, say, the glass in your window panes, as Rembrandt paintings are different from an empty canvas. Murano glass is created only on the island of Murano, located within the borders of the city of Venice in Northern Italy. This glass is made from silica, soda, lime and potassium melted together in a special furnace at a temperature of 1500°C to reach a liquid state. Gold or silver foil are often added to the glass mixture, along with such minerals as copper for sparkles, zinc for white color, cobalt for blue, manganese for violet, and so on. The mixture is then mouth-blown and/or hand-crafted by master glassmakers using special techniques and basic tools, many of which have been developed in the Middle Ages and changed little since then. This method of glass-making results in unique creations with rich coloring and beautiful, sometimes surreal, patterns and shapes, deserving to be called “works of art”. Even though beautiful glassware has also been created in other places around the world, none of the glassware still being produced has such rich history and so much artistic value as Murano glass.

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Can Murano Glass be Repaired?

Customers often contact us when their favorite piece broke and ask: can Murano Glass can be repaired? When an article made of Murano glass breaks, the only way to fix it at home is to glue it together. Gluing may work if the item has a smooth break line and broke into only two or three pieces as opposed to many small ones. If this is your case, and you want to try to fix it yourself, first of all, you need to buy the right glue. We recommend using E-6000® glue for Murano glass, or any glass for that matter. This is a very strong waterproof and flexible adhesive once it dries. The only downside is its long drying time- make sure to let it dry for 24 to 72 hours after application. With this glue, apply a thin coat to both glass surfaces that you need to attach, wait ten minutes and strongly press the surfaces together. Then put the item aside and let dry. Make sure you use this glue only in an area that has adequate ventilation.

If your Murano glass broke in such a way that it can’t be glued together, or if it just cracked inside its frame (which may be the case with Millefiori pendants, for example), your best option may be to try to find a replacement. Regardless of whether the Murano glass item was modern or vintage, purchased recently or long ago, there are companies specializing in Murano glass that will be willing to work with you to find a replacement. We at GlassOfVenice.com work with many glass artisans on Murano island and will be happy to look into your situation and help to locate a replacement piece.

Finally, if the replacement can’t be found it may be possible to put the piece back together using the original Murano glassmaking methods, but this is a difficult and expensive undertaking and only a Murano-trained and experienced master can do that. Murano glass is hand-crafted by master artisans who work the heated-up liquefied glass mass using special centuries-old techniques and local Murano materials. They then cool the glass mass down till it solidifies to form a specific pattern within a certain shape. Hence, if it breaks, only the masters who know the methods and techniques used in the original piece and have the proper equipment and source materials may be able to take on the task of repairing the original piece.

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