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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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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 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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How do I know if a Murano Glass item is genuine?

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.

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 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?
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 identifying marks, labels, or signatures

Authentic Murano Glass Label

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

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 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?
  • >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. 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 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.

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