How to identify Murano Glass? How to be sure that I am buying a genuine work of Venetian masters, a piece of authentic Murano Glass? Unfortunately, there are not always identifying marks found on Murano glassware and it is not easy to identify Murano Glass. And therefore, this question is by far the most common one among those we receive. This does not come as a surprise since so many counterfeits have flooded the market in recent years. Most Murano Glass lovers appreciate Venetian glassware not only for its beauty but also for its historic, artistic, and sentimental value. So understandably they want to be sure they are buying the real thing, handmade in a Murano Glass factory, rather than some cheap imitation. Here are our top 5 expert tips to ensure you are buying authentic Murano Glass, whether in a store or online.
1. Look at the item itself (or its photos if buying online)
- Does the item appear to be hand-made with a slightly uneven surface or texture, or, perhaps, tiny bubbles inside the glass? If two of the same item stand next to each other on a store shelf are they identical or can you spot small differences? If it’s the latter, you are on the right track, as there can never be two completely identical authentic Murano Glass pieces.
- Are the photos clear and professional, high resolution and high definition, showing the surface and texture of the glass? Can the photos be enlarged so you can clearly see the patterns
- Are the colors bright and rich? Does the item seem to glow from within?
- Does the description say “Murano Glass” (and not “Murano-style” or similar)?
- Does it talk about real 24K gold or genuine silver being used during production of the glass?
Finally, look at the price and research where it fits in comparison to prices other sellers charge for similar objects (make sure the style and size of the objects you compare is similar and technique is the same). Be on alert for prices that are way too low, this may be a sign of a counterfeit.
2. Look for identifying marks, labels, or signatures
Are there any markings, stickers, or engraved signatures on the piece? It helps if there is a mark identifying a certain Murano company or a signature of the master glass-maker on the item, and some Murano Glass companies do label, stamp or sign their work in some way.
However, if your piece does not have any marks or labels, it does not automatically mean that it is not genuine. Keep in mind that there is no legal requirement in Italy that Murano Glass come with some sort of a standard stamp, sticker or any other identifying mark. Different Murano Glass masters choose to mark their glass in different ways, including various stamps, stickers, glass masters’ signatures, and many make no marks at all.
Important Note About Official Murano Glass Label: Many Murano Glass factories and stores will want to convince you to only buy objects marked with Vetro Artistico Murano label of the official Murano Glass Promovetro consortium. While it is true that there is such a consortium, the membership in it is NOT compulsory and IS BOUGHT FOR A FEE. Therefore, at present only a relatively small group of Murano glass factories are the members of that consortium, mainly because they have issues marketing their products themselves. Many Murano Glass factories, especially well-known ones, choose not to become members of Promovetro for practical and financial reasons.
3. Look at what else comes with the item
- Does the seller offer a Certificate Of Authenticity stating the origin and the production process of the item?
- Does the certificate display any text in the Italian language?
- Are there any brochures supplied by the seller explaining Murano Glass and its historical and artistic significance?
- Is special packaging offered with the item? Does the packaging look attractive and is it of good quality?
4. Look at the seller
- Is the seller reputable? Does it share information about itself? Does it specialize only in Murano Glass or Venetian products and nothing else? Does the seller demonstrate good knowledge of Murano Glass industry, techniques, production process, and history? Does it possess Italian background, education, or extensive travel experience to Italy? Does it offer a generous Return/Exchange policy?
- If it’s a website, is it professional-looking? Is there a real business address and phone number listed on the site? Look out for the addresses in Asia or in developing countries as this often is a BIG counterfeit warning sign.
- Does the seller have a very large assortment of various Murano Glass products? Always try to find the sellers that specialize in and know Murano Glass. Beware of the large and faceless web portals selling lots of items unrelated to each other.
- Does the online seller have lots of things in stock? Can they pick out a piece with specific patterns/colors at your request? If yes, they probably have their own warehouse. If not – they are drop-shippers, which means they have an agreement with other companies to ship to their customers, while never actually seeing the products they sell. Steer clear of such drop-shippers.
- Are any client testimonials or product reviews readily available on the site? If yes, that often indicates that the seller is confident in the quality of their pieces, even if they get purchased by Murano Glass collectors who often shop at such websites and can easily spot the fakes.
5. Look at the assortment of Murano glass products the seller offers
- Does the seller offer a wide range of Murano glass products that include jewelry, home decor items and high-end Murano glass items such as vases, sculptures, chandeliers, or art glass?
- Does it offer any Millefiori items? If so, is there a large variety of them and are they of good quality, displaying intricate patterns with many mosaic pieces in them, and rich colors? Millefiori is one of the most difficult and labor-intensive Murano Glass-making techniques and is harder to fake than some other ones.
- Does the seller offer to work with you on procuring any custom items or items not in their inventory, such as chandeliers? If yes, that means they have ways of dealing directly with the glass masters.
Generally, if you can answer YES to these questions you can be reasonably sure you are dealing with the seller who offers authentic Murano Glass.
Despite the large number of companies that sell fake glassware labeled as Murano, there are many more that proudly carry the real thing. Authentic Murano Glass is worth purchasing, owning and passing to the next generations, or gifting to your loved ones. The beautiful Murano Glass pieces make great wedding or anniversary gifts and often become family keepsakes and sentimental objects.
Please do not be put off by all the publicity about the rarity of genuine Murano Glass. When you are armed with the right information, it is very much possible to find a reputable Murano Glass company and purchase from them confidently. GlassOfVenice.com is one such place, where passion for Venice, its cultural and historic heritage, and its beautiful Murano Glass is at the heart of everything we do.
Should you decide to buy from us, or anyone else, just go by this guide to have confidence in your choice. Above all, trust your instinct and common sense when buying Murano Glass. If something tells you “beware”, try to find out as much information as possible from the seller, and if you are still not satisfied, just steer clear of it and look elsewhere.
Good afternoon, I bought three pieces of what I think might be Murano Glass, at a Flea Market for a very low cost. One is a bugged eyed fly or bee, one is a Swan, and the other is a flower. There is no paper work, nor labels with these. How would I go about finding out if they were indeed true piece of Murano Glass
Hi, just follow the advice in our article or send us the photos and we can offer our opinion.
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I came across this clown and it just stuck out. What can you tell me about it. I will be more then happy to send pictures. Its oval shape about 6″ tall. Yellow hair big leaf like ruffles down the front, and a shell on top of the hat. I searched the internet to see if i could find anything but i havent found anything about it only clown that look like it. It has a round sticker that says made in Murano Italy, not a triangle. And i thought it had a crack on the shoe but it looks like a hair under the paint or something else. I am more then happy to send pictures i just dont know how to attach them here. Any help will be gratefully appreciated.
Hello, you can send us photos of the clown by email at support@GlassOfVenice.com.
I found a piece of what looks to be Murano Glass at my local thrift store. It’s a bag of goldfish, tied with a ribbon. There’s no markings or sticker on it and I rather suspect it was donated by kids clearing out their deceased parents’ house. It’s quite heavy-1.62 kilos. (The only similar piece I could find online was a smaller version holding a pin cushion in the bowl up top, on Etsy.) It didn’t cost me very much and I like it whether or not it’s authentic but it would be nice to know.
Thanks for the help,
Hi Cathy, you can send us the photo and we can let you know our opinion on its authenticity.
Barovier and Toso teardrop chandelier
After a lot of research, I have found a chandelier similar to ours on sale in America for $22,000. Our is much larger, it is a copper finish recessed fitting with copper finish chain and very long rose coloured droplets with the colour fading to clear class It hangs almost 5ft long and is spectacular, when lit it creates a tented ceiling effect. There are 2 pierced holes at the top of each droplet for the fixing to the chain.
Is it possible to authenticate if it is a Barovier and Toso chandelier?
Hi Patty, without any signatures, labels, or paperwork it is very hard to authenticate a Murano Glass piece as the work of a specific master or factory. You can send us the photo and we can take a look and give you our opinion, but it would be just an opinion based on our knowledge and experience, not a 100% confirmation.
I have a purple glass vase with gold leaf surrounding the top of it and 2 smaller gold rings running near the bottom. On it also in (what I presume to be gold leaf – it is raised when you run your finger over it) is a woman dressed in Victorian clothes and then the other side has the same figure with a man, dressed in Victorian dress. I thought it might be Murano as I see other vases that look similar. My Mom has had it for about 50 years. There are no evident markings on it.
Hi Stevie, you can send us the photo and we can let you know our opinion on its authenticity. If it was purchased in Venice over 50 years ago, in all likelihood it’s authentic Murano Glass.
my daughter and I recently visited your gallery on the island and were very impressed! thanks for the tour and the artist making a small horse. Later I purchased some glasses that are perfect for my hands (I have arthritis). Kitty and Jennifer
Hello Kitty, thank you for your comment. However, please note that GlassOfVenice is a US-based company, and while we work with many factories and workshops on Murano island, we are not affiliated with any galleries that you may have visited while there and do NOT endorse any of them as selling high-quality authentic Murano Glass.
Hi just inherited a couple of Murano pieces and I don’t know much about them as to confirm their value… I have been researching online and ended up here because they don’t have certificate of authenticity or signatures, I believe then they’re vintage and it seems they fill all the requirements of a true Murano, except I see small tiny “black specks” throughout the small pink glass pitcher that has controlled bubbles through out with gold specks in handle, would this be also considered normal? Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions! =)
Hi Nilda, it is hard to say what black specks you have in mind and whether they are there by design or by accident. If it’s the latter, typically Murano masters wouldn’t allow such accidents as they are very proficient. You may want to do some research into similar pieces using Google Images or 1stdibs.com to see if you can find others with the same black specs.
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Hi I have very heavy, wavy shaped, ruby coloured glass bowl with a star like pattern within the glass on the inside bottom of the bowl. It was purchased second hand, I think it is murano bbut would like to find out a bit more about it. Would be glad of any help you can give me thank you. Jean Carter.
Hi Jean, it is impossible to determine by the description. A piece like what you are describing may have been made in- or outside of Murano. You can email us the photo and we can take a look but please note that these requests may take a long time to respond to since we do this as a courtesy only when time allows and we are normally very busy with fulfilling orders and serving customers. You can also do some research yourself by searching in Google images for pieces similar to yours and researching those pieces further to understand where and by whom they may have been made.
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How can I send you a photo of a Bronze and Murano Glass 76″ high floor lamp? I have the original invoice/ receipt from 2003 for $8000 US dollars from La Gondola s.r.l. MURANO VENETIAN GLASS 30100 VENEZIA, S.MARCO – BACINO ORSEOLO 1166
I want to sell it but since I don’t see any signature or stamp anywhere. I have been asked (even with receipt and appraisal) the art broker wants to KNOW who was it made by?
Description: Contemporary Italian hand crafted patinated bronze standard holding 18 hand blown Murano glass tulip shades with electric lights. Leaves and stems are green patinated. The glass is white and caramel colored. Excellent condition.
Thank you very much! I live in California, USA I am hoping I can send the photo to you for your examination.
Helen, you can send us the photo by email at email@example.com. However, we probably wouldn’t be able to help with determining exactly who made it. La Gondola SRL where you bought this no longer exists. Many Murano Glass factories have created pieces that are very similar to each other, many factories have merged, closed, or got sold multiple times, and apart from a few very prominent Murano Glass masters, the works of most others cannot be reliably identified. You can try to sell this in one of the specialized online marketplaces where the original receipt will be enough evidence to establish authenticity.
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Where is a good place to resale Murano Glass?
Authentic Murano Glass can be re-sold on a number of specialized online marketplaces, such as https://www.1stdibs.com, https://www.rubylane.com, the shopping section of The 20th Century Glass encyclopedia at https://www.20thcenturyglass.com/ and also on general auction sites such as eBay. If your piece has a label, a signature of the master, or the paperwork or certificate specifying its Murano origin, you may be able to sell it more expensively than if it lacks any marks or signatures recognized as indicative of the Murano origin. We recommend that you research first, going through the above websites or Google images in search of the Murano Glass pieces similar to yours. This way you can scan the prices for similar items first to make sure you are asking the price that is in line with the market expectations for similar pieces. If you cannot establish the Murano origin and see no similar pieces online it may mean that your art glass piece is actually not Murano-made. It is important not to mislead potential clients if after doing the research you yourself are not sure in the origin of your item, as doing so would erode customers’ faith into the honesty of the online sellers and will hurt the entire online market of authentic Murano Glass.
My family’s Dona Maria came to the U.S. from Italy in the early to mid 1900’s with a glass bowl that’s been passed down for four generations. I believe it’s by a Murano artist but there are no marks and I can find none others like it on the web. Can you tell me of anyone in the Phoenix area I can take it to for accurate evaluation?
Hi Joyce, it is usually hard to say who made a certain Murano Glass vase without a sticker or signature, as multiple factories and masters have been making similar styles of items over the years. You can send the photo of your Murano Glass bowl to us but as we are very busy with our day-to-day operations, thus it may take us a while to get back to you. We are not affiliated with any dealers of Murano Glass in Phoenix area or anywhere else in the US, for that matter.
I have seen paperweights advertised as Murano. The bases are crosshatched or rough cut. Did/do Murano craftsmen finish their items in this fashion?
Hi Wayne, yes, some Murano Glass artisans did finish paperweights in this fashion, the design of the base itself (polished or unpolished) is not necessarily a sign of Murano vs. foreign workmanship.
I have various blue/gold leave glass items left to my after my grandmother died and my mum has moved to a smaller house. Please can I send you photos? How do I tell what it is – apart from my mother saying she was told it was Venetian. I am interested to find any information I can about the glass.
Hi Sarah, it is usually hard to say who made a certain Murano Glass vase without a sticker or signature, as multiple factories and masters have been making similar styles of items over the years. You can send the photos of your Murano glasses to us but as we are very busy with our day-to-day operations, thus it may take us a while to get back to you.
I think that as long as the quality of the glass products is good and the price is cheap, the place of production is not important, right?
Hi Brandon, this is an interesting question. Murano is more than merely a geographical place of production – it stands apart from all other places of decorative glass production because it signifies a long-standing tradition, history, professionalism, and skill of the local master artisans. It stands for a way of working the glass, a set of glassmaking techniques, and the source materials the likes of which do not exist elsewhere. This unique combination of exceptional quality source materials, talent, and skill, as well as the presence of a thousand-year-old Venetian glass-making tradition, all tightly concentrated in one geographical place, lead to creation of not merely pieces of decorative glassware but art glass in a true sense, which is unique and highly valued around the world, not to mention the sentimental value of Murano Glass produced in Venice, Italy. In addition, we have to note that Murano Glass is not cheap, nor it should be, as every step of the glass-making process on Murano is completely manual and very labor-intensive, not to mention the artistic aspect, which is certainly not cheap. Hence, those seeking cheap decorative glass who do not see the special value of Murano Glass should look at pieces mass-produced in China and in other low-cost production centers.
I HAVE A 22 POUND MURANO? GLASS AQUARIUM
WITH 5 LARGE FISH AND MANY STRANDS OF BENT AND CURVY GRASS. IT IS 12 INCHES LONG BY 8 AND 3/4 HIGH BY 2 AND 1/2 INCHES THICK. CAN YOU TELL ME ANYTHING ABOUT IT. THERE ARE NO MARKS ON IT.
Hi Keith, sure, send us an email with the photos and we will take a look.
Hi I purchased a lamp back in the early 1980’s, it’s measurements are approx 48cm high X 36cm wide. It is a cream mushroom shape lamp made out of one piece of glass. It has no markings on it only a sticker which I assume is a stock number from where I purchased it. The number is R7033 there is another number above it but it’s difficult to make it out. Could this be an orthentic Murano or is it possible it’s a fake.
Hi Sue, it is impossible to say whether your lamp is authentic Murano Glass or not without seeing the photos of the lamp and of the sticker. Please send those to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will take a look and let you know what we think.
Hi I got a ruby red with gold and flower appliques on it . It has six goblets and the decanter. I got it from a op shop as someone had bought it in from a deceased owner. Its beautiful but not sure if the real thing . I paid $80 for it as I am in Australia.
Hi Caroline, what you are describing sounds like a Tre Fuochi wine set, which may be similar in design to what we have at https://www.glassofvenice.com/murano-tableware/murano-barware/murano-glass-goblets.html?filters=117_126
The glasses we sell are Murano-made but similar type of glassware has also been produced for about 2 centuries in Bohemia (now the Czech Republic), and while it looks similar it is not Murano Glass. So depending on the look of your set and most importantly on any labels or signatures on it, or lack thereof, it may or may not be authentic Murano Glass.
Hi, I posted a question on 31st March and it showed that under review. But the question is not showing in above – can you advise why please – thanks
Hi Joal, it sometimes takes us a while to review and approve blog comments – we need to have the approval step in order to avoid spam. Your comment is now approved and showing up, and we posted a reply below. Thank you for your patience.
Hi, I purchased a vase from Venier, Fondamenta Andrea Navagero 54/B, 30141 Murano. Vase has no signature nor markings/label and although I have a “warranty” signed by one of the masters, still not convinced it is genuine Murano? How can I find out if it is genuine?
Hi Joal, to the best of our knowledge Venier is just a showroom, they don’t make their own glassware but work with many hotels in Venice to get tourists in on a free “tour” by private boat from their hotels, and then try to sell them pieces at high prices. See one review here: https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g681249-d1674134-r169280585-Venier-Murano_Veneto.html. If it is a large expensive piece it is strange that there are no markings or labels but some masters don’t label or sign the pieces so this alone does not mean the piece is not genuine. You can send us the photo and we’ll take a look and let you know. Or you can research in places such as http://www.1stdibs.com and http://www.20thcenturyglass.com to see if you can find similar vases there.
About 30-35 years ago, I received a large heavy glass unicorn as a gift. There is a sticker that reads “VETRERIA; MADE IN ITALY; LE ARTI DI MURANO” and there is a large wide M with lines going across parts of it. I always assumed the piece was authentic, but there is no signature or other markings that I can see. Is there a way to determine if what the sticker says is correct or how old the piece is & its value, if any? Thank you!
Hi Jennifer, to help you identify this piece we would need to see good photos from different angles. The word “vetreria” (which is translated as “glassworks”) typically precedes the name of the Murano Glass factory, so the fact that no name is stated is strange. Also the combination “le arti” sounds strange, usually it’s l’arte di Murano or simply “arte di Murano”.
Hello- I inherited a beautiful Calla Lily “Jack in the Culprit” vase which I was told was Murano Glass. There are no markings Would you be able to tell me if it’s authentic please? Thank you.
Please send us the photos and we will gladly take a look.
I acquired four glass figurines that are black mostly but look like models. Tall and thin apx 8″ tall. How can i tell if these are vintage Murano? Some white glass mixed in two of the figures. They are striking poses.
Please send us the photos and we will gladly take a look.
I have several pieces that marked Murano and have a face as well. Could you please tell me more about the maker? Thanks so much.
Hi. I purchased a pair of swans from an estate sale in a upper class neighborhood. One has its neck bent, the other stretched up. They both appear to have clear glass over top of a bright green glass. There are bubbles inside, but they are just in random spots. The bottoms are smooth and appear “frosted”. There was remains of a worn off silver sticker on the side of one, and not realizing I shouldn’t wiped it off. Any way to authenticate now?
Do yo have any glass purses in stock
I have a murano blue /green w/ red sommerso center duckling it has the blue and silver label made in murano but the base is thick and scalloped and on the bottom there is a raised S or Z in a circle and I have never seen this before. please tell me what it means . the piece has been in the family a very long time.