Is Murano Glass Worth the Money? Murano Glass is an art form and as such it does increase in value over time. Collectors purchase Murano Glass, museums exhibit it, and lots of wealthy people use Murano Art Glass for home decor. The high price for Murano Glass often makes sense as each piece is a designer object that is handmade and unique.
Here are the 4 reasons to pay premium prices for Murano Glass.
1. Murano Glass is a collectible item.
Murano Glass is an art form that has been in existence for at least 800 years. The master artisans of Murano started from humble beginnings. However, over the following hundreds of years, they continuously evolved their blown glass creativity, elevating it to art by the renaissance.
Many famous masters had their own workshops on Murano island. They came up with fancy forms, deep colors, and creative designs. Initially only the rich and famous could afford expensive and elegant Murano objects, which had the superior quality to any glass created elsewhere. Their clarity was mind-blowing and unheard of. Murano Glass chandeliers were translucent and reflected so much light. Venetian mirrors had not just unique ornamental designs but, more importantly, highly polished glass surfaces, allowing for clear reflections.
However, in the twentieth century, the level of wealth of the general population grew. More and more middle-class people started traveling to Venice and got familiar with Murano and its glass art. Regular people were purchasing Murano Glass mirrors in Venice for their homes. or shopping for Murano Glass vases to display on the shelves.
Collectors of Murano Glass art come from all walks of life. However, they have in common an understanding of the special beauty of this art medium and the different styles and techniques used to create Murano Glass over the centuries.
Multiple catalogs of Murano Glass and the works of specific glass artists exist. Many have been published in the twentieth century. The catalogs and special books allow collectors to learn more and gauge the artistic value and the rarity of a particular piece. Multiple auction houses, including Sotheby’s and Christie’s, feature Murano Glass. Especially popular are sculptures, figurines, chandeliers, and vases. Occasionally, auction houses will feature Murano jewelry along with precious jewelry.
2. Murano Glass artists are world-famous.
Today most tourists to Venice visit Murano island and stop by workshops, galleries, and stores. Guidebooks recommend not leaving without purchasing a locally crafted Venetian art glass object. Tourists can find Murano Glass vases, sculptures, wine glasses and tumblers, bowls, and jewelry for every budget. However, the art glass pieces which are crafted in famous factories or by well-known masters command prices in the thousands of euros.
Venice was always an inspirational place for artists. Both members of well-established glass-making families and foreigners worked in Murano’s famous furnaces. They were attracted by the atmosphere of free-flowing creativity and constant search for new methods and techniques of working with glass. Murano was a center of innovation and new frontiers in art.
Family names from Murano are famous in the art collectors’ world. Barovier, Venini, Moretti, Toso, Tagliapetra, Cappellin, Ballarin, and others made museum-quality glassware. Their signatures often grace the most amazing, bold, or elegant Murano sculptures such as classic Venetian themes like winged lions or gondolas, animals and birds, or abstract or impressionist figures. Many Venetian vase designs are easily recognized works by a specific master. For example Fulvio Bianconi vases have unique color designs, and Vennini’s sport flowing Fazzoletto shapes.
For people who choose to collect Murano Glass, vintage glass items are available both in Murano and online. Because Murano’s blown glass appreciates over time, these art objects are even more expensive. In addition, many world-famous Murano Glass artists are no longer alive and their creations are rare and difficult to acquire.
3. Murano Glass ages well and can be passed through generations.
Whether you have owned your Murano Glass vase or sculpture for a month or 20 years, it will look the same. Even if you buy a vintage piece, its colors, and all elaborate elements will look like they did when the master glassblower first created them.
Murano Glass colors do not fade. They are not painted but are achieved by melting various minerals in the glass furnaces under high temperatures. Many designs of Murano vases, such as Filigrana, Reticello, Millefiori, or Sommerso, are based on the way glass canes and various glass layers are melted and merged together. Therefore, Murano Glass designs become permanent as soon as they cool down. Even gold accents on Murano Glass do not fade over time because 24K gold leaf is permanently bonded to the blown glass under high temperatures.
When the glass artisan finishes their art glass piece, he or she puts it into a special annealing oven. There it stays for several days in order to not let it cool too fast and relieve internal stress. In that oven, the glassware cools very gradually under controlled conditions and is not prone to sudden breakage or shattering.
4. Blown Murano Glass vases, chandeliers, and sculptures are valuable artworks.
You may think that a Murano Glass vase you see in a gallery on Murano island is simply a colorful functional decor piece. However, such objects are considered works of art for the following reasons.
Maestros that create them have been practicing the art of glassmaking for 30 years or more. Their creations showcase the fantasy, passion, inspiration, and talent of the artist who created them. These works of art relay bold experimentation as well as established methods of work with glass, which is an ever-changing and hard-to-master art medium. Finally, such objects bring to life hundreds of years of history and unique Murano tradition unparalleled anywhere in the world.
So, next time you ask yourself “is Murano Glass worth the money?” think about all these points. Look at the Murano Glass vase or an abstract sculpture, or a Christmas ornament you see online or in a shop in Venice and think of its heritage. If it is authentic and crafted in Murano, you will know why it is worth the steep price tag. You need to think of that price in the context of the art, the history, and the workmanship that goes into creating each Murano Glass object.