How can you tell real Murano Glass?
Murano Glass is only made on Murano Island in Venice, Italy. It has special features like rich colors and uneven shapes. You need to analyze the colors, imperfections, labels, store reputation, and seller’s knowledge of Murano Glass to determine authenticity.
Here are the five tips to tell original 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, they use various minerals to give color to the glass. As the glass mass gets heated, the minerals melt and create color 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.
An authentic Murano Glass object has an imperfect shape, or other small imperfections, or size and shape variations.
When masters create 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.
Most blown glass pieces will have bottoms with somewhat rough pontil marks where the glass piece was taken off the stick. Sometimes there would also be bubbles of air captured inside the glass.
Two items of the same model may vary in terms of shape, size, color shade, or pattern. This is the result of a very manual ancient process, where artisans use only basic tools. The masters take pride in following the techniques and traditions of their fathers and grandfathers, with no modern technology or conveyor belts.
Authentic Murano Glass often (but not always) has labels with the name of the workshop and the signature of the master. Also look for certificates of authenticity.
If you see phrases like “Vetro Eseguito Secondo La Tecnica Dei Maestri Di Murano” beware: the item is a fake. The words mean “glass created following the technique of Murano masters”. As such, the item is not the glassware made by Murano masters but merely an imitation. Watch out for words like “crystal” because Murano Glass is not crystal.
If you see the Promovetro (Murano Glass Consortium) sign on the piece with a QR code, like the one on the photo of the bowl below, the piece is authentic. If 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.
Authentic Murano Glass is typically sold in physical stores or on websites, which feature a large selection of high-end art glass items.
Look at the product selection in a store where you plan to make a purchase, whether physical or online. If the store sells large gorgeous vases, sculptures, and recognizable typically Venetian pieces such as gondolas, clowns, Goldonian ladies and gentlemen, Millefiori glassware, as well as elaborate Venetian chandeliers, most likely this store carries genuine Murano Glass.
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 and can’t decide on the purchase, make a conversation with the seller or contact them by e-mail, chat, or phone. Ask them about the piece, its technique, and the glass-making process, and question them about Murano and Venice.
If their level of knowledge is low and they can’t explain much about the piece, it’s likely that they don’t sell real Murano Glass. If the store is open about its procurement process and answers all your questions in an open and friendly manner, they are most likely selling real original Murano Glass.
About The Author
GlassOfVenice.com is an official original Murano Glass importer and seller and has been in business since 2008. GlassOfVenice works directly with over 30 different Murano Glass artisans, workshops, and factories in Venice. The staff visits the artisans often to maintain close relationships, curate collections, and review new creations.