Category Archives: Murano Glass Shopping

Murano Glass is an ancient craft that was practiced by Murano island’s artisans since 1291 and has over the years turned into an art form. People appreciate Murano Glass not only for its beauty but also for its historic and artistic value, and its tight connection to Venice. GlassOfVenice will help: read our expert advice on selecting the best authentic Murano Glass, whether on Murano, in Venice, or online.

How To Identify Murano Glass: 5 Tips

5 Tips To Identify Authentic Murano Glass by GlassOfVenice

How to identify Murano Glass? Murano Glass is only made on Murano Island in Venice, Italy. Since there is no requirement for universal markings of authentic Murano Glass, you need special methods to identify Murano Glass and avoid counterfeits. You will need to analyze the colors, imperfections, labels or markings, store reputation and its willingness to educate you about Murano Glass. Here are the top five tips from Glass Of Venice – the recognized expert in genuine Murano Glass.


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 by hand, 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


Authentic Murano Glass has imperfect shape, or other small imperfections, or size and shape variations.

When masters craft 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 is 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 all thanks to 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


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. When 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 signature of master glass blower


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

If you see 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 beautiful chandeliers, most likely this store carries genuine Murano Glass from a number of highly skilled masters and factories.

Murano Glass store in Venice Italy


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 before purchasing, make a conversation with the seller or contact them by e-mail, chat, or phone, and ask them about the master or factory that made your piece, about the seller’s buying process, ask which types of factories they deal with, how often they visit Murano, request assurances of authenticity. If the seller can answer all your questions in an open and friendly manner and give you as much information on their pieces and artisans as you desire, they are most likely selling real original Murano Glass.

Master Holding Murano Glass Birds Figurine in Murano Italy







So next time you are shopping for authentic Murano Glass online and want to make sure you buy an original Murano Glass work of art hand-made in Murano, 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. 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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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 or online

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.

  • How Murano Glass is made.

    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 a technique called “a lume” in Italian and “lampworking” in English. Mosaic-like designs are crafted using the 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.

  • Where Murano Glass is made.

    Murano Glass has been traditionally made on Murano Island in Venice, Italy. These days the production spilled over into Venice proper. While the official Murano Glass consortium refuses to acknowledge any glassmakers 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-blowing methods and techniques 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.

  • Where to buy genuine Murano Glass.

    If you familiarized yourself with Murano glass-making methods and designs, and have checked 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 for. Of course, any place that has suspiciously low prices should be avoided. Your best bets are stores that carry many different styles and types of items, feature sophisticated store designs, have knowledgeable staff, and sell pieces that have stickers, signatures, and authenticity certificates. If you are not sure, or you feel like the prices charged by legitimate stores in Venice or on Murano are too high, do not rush into a purchase. You may want to shop online instead, where it is easy to find reputable sellers, and where Murano Glass prices are often lower than in Venice. Online Murano Glass shops do not need to pay for real estate, buy flood insurance, and have many full-time salespeople, which makes the prices lower. The selection of Venetian Glass online is often much bigger than in any one store in Venice. Online stores like GlassOfVenice.com also stock everything in the USA and offer free U.S. shipping, making buying Murano Glass much easier and safer for Americans.

    If you do decide to buy in a physical store in Venice or Murano, 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.

  • How to pay the right price.

    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.

  • How to ship Murano Glass home from Venice.

    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 talk to 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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The Best Gifts To Bring Home From Venice

Venice is renowned for its beauty, history, and art. No wonder that many visitors want to bring home a memory of this magical city, along with original souvenirs for family and friends. Gifts are a wonderful way to show loved ones that you care, even when you are far away from home, and they’re also an excellent way to express the beauty of a place to someone who has never visited it.

Fortunately, Venice offers many gift choices to travelers looking for unique and beautiful gifts to take home. Our recommendations center around traditional artisan goods that have been crafted in Venice for centuries using original techniques and that embody the true spirit and beauty of Venice.

Venetian Carnival Masks

Venetian Carnival Masks

Carnivals are a longstanding tradition in many cities and towns throughout Italy, but Venetian Carnival is the most famous and revered of them all. For ten days each February or early March, Venice transforms into a heaven of revelry and partying, the extraordinary ‘Carnevale’. During this time millions of tourists descend upon the city, clamouring for a chance to experience lavish decadence of another era. The masks are seen everywhere – on the streets, in cafes, at parades, in gondolas, at the balls, and range from basic to extremely elaborate. 

Venetian masks are often colorful, with intricate detail and rich decoration of beads, plumes, fabrics, or even small paintings. Authentic Venetian masks are made by hand from papier-mâché, designed in baroque style and often hail from Italian Commedia Del Arte, impersonating its various characters, such as Colombina, Arlecchino or Pulcinella.

When buying a mask in Venice, find the type of design that you like, then seek out a real Venetian mask atelier, where oftentimes the artisans will work in the back while the finished masks will be sold out front. These places are usually not found in big tourist spots, but mostly tucked away on white canals, back lanes, or small piazzas. Never fall for low prices and places with rows of similar cheap-looking masks. Those are most likely fakes made in China. The real Venetian masks are relatively heavy, perfectly crafted, and not cheap.

Where to Buy Venetian Masks?

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Quick Guide to Buying Authentic Murano Glass

Murano Glass is beautiful and unique with hundreds of years of artistic tradition behind it. Venetian masters learned from the ancient Roman artifacts and from Byzantine and Egyptian artisans to create masterpieces of blown glass using many different complicated and labor-intensive techniques, such as Millefiori, Sommerso, Bullicante, Filligrana, Lattimo, and others. Unfortunately as Murano Glass masters became famous beyond Venice so spread the fakes. Known as “A la façon de Venise” (or “in Venetian fashion”) glass pieces imitating Murano were made as early as the 16th century in Netherlands, England, France and later Bohemia and other parts of Europe. The very latest fakes are now coming from Asia, China in particular, and flooding the market to the extent that real authentic Murano pieces become harder and harder to find.

We at GlassOfVenice.com love Venice and support Venetian artisans, many of whom come from the long lineage of Murano glass maestros going back to the Middle Ages. Authentic Murano Glass still trumps all the fakes with its exquisite craftsmanship, gorgeous colors and amazing designs that Italian artisans are well known for. Here is our exclusive quick guide to how to avoid being cheated and always select genuine Murano Glass handcrafted in Venice. Murano stands for more than fine craftsmanship – it’s art, tradition, Venetian memories, and rich cultural and artistic heritage of La Serenissima. Get a real piece of Murano Glass – you’ll be glad you did!

Murano Glass Guide - How to Buy Authentic Murano Glass

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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 the 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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