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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 do I know if a Murano Glass item is genuine?

How can I be sure that I am buying a genuine work of Venetian masters, a piece of authentic Murano Glass? This question is by far the most common one among those we receive. And this does not come as a surprise to us, since so many counterfeits have flooded the market in recent years, especially with the advent of the World Wide Web. Most Murano Glass lovers appreciate this glass 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 by the masters and artists in Venice, rather than some cheap imitation. Here our top 5 expert tips to ensure you are buying authentic Murano Glass, be in a store or online.

Tips to Identify Authentic Murano Glass

1. Look at the item itself (or its photos if buying online)

Authentic Murano Millefiori Bowl

  • Does the item appear to be hand-made with 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?
You want to be able to answer YES to ALL of these questions when you are looking for a genuine article. Always look for the evidence of the hand-crafted nature of the items, good photos, rich colors and specific descriptions.

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 labels, markings or signatures

Authentic Murano Glass Label

Are there any markings, stickers, or engraved signatures on the piece? It helps if there is a label identifying a certain Murano company or a signature of the master glass-maker on the item, and some Murano Glass companies do stamp or sign their work in some way.

However, if your piece does not have any markings or labels, it does not automatically mean that it is not genuine. Keep in mind that there is no legal requirement in Italy or beyond that Murano Glass come with some sort of a standard stamp, sticker or any other identifying sign. Different Murano Glass masters choose to mark their glass in different ways, including various stamps, stickers, glass masters’ signatures, while many make no markings at all.

While there exists the official Murano Glass Consortium, the membership in it is not compulsory and is fee-based, and at present only a relatively small group of Murano’s  glass-making companies are the members of that consortium, mainly for practical and financial reasons.

3. Look at what else comes with the item

Murano Glass Certificate of Authenticity


  • 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 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?
If the answer is always YES you are on the right track.

4. Look at the seller

Murano Glass Store

  • 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 and 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.
Positive answers to these key questions indicate that the seller is likely to sell genuine Murano glass. On the flip-side, if the seller also sells lots of other cheap-looking jewelry and accessories, is known as a large seller of cheap household names, can’t tell you much about Murano or Murano glass, will not consider custom requests, does not seem to have any links to Italy, or has a shady website with little business or product info, you are probably looking at counterfeits.

5. Look at the assortment of Murano glass products the seller offers

Murano Glass Selection

  • Does the seller offer a wide range of Murano glass products that includes 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 from it and look elsewhere.

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