Does all Murano Glass have a mark? Not all, but many original Murano items have signatures, labels, or stamps. Among the items that do not have any marks many are still authentic. Seems confusing? Do not despair – we will teach you how to identify authentic Murano Glass, whether with marks or not.
Murano Glass Authenticity: Why It’s Important
Murano Glass is an art form that has its origins in ancient Egyptian, Byzantine, and Roman glassmaking methods. For centuries, people cherished Murano Glass for its vibrant colors, intricate designs, and advanced techniques. The local master artisans in Venice have made significant breakthroughs and introduced many innovations in the craftsmanship and artistic design of Murano Glass. This was possible because the island of Murano has been a hub of Venetian glass production since the 13th century. Working closely together, its artisans have honed their methods through generations, creating unique pieces which broke the mold of the craft.
Murano Glass masters always were the envy of all the other glass masters around the world. Imitation is the highest form of flattery, as they say, and today lots of Murano Glass counterfeits flood the market. These counterfeits endanger the craft of making original Murano Glass. Moreover, their sellers fool people into buying undesirable low-quality products.
To help you buy real Murano Glass we are sharing our top identification tips. Once you understand what to look for, you will be able to distinguish original Murano Glass from the imitations flooding the market. By understanding the key characteristics and markers of real Murano glass, you can make informed decisions. It will help you to know that you are paying for the skill of Murano-based masters and for the artistry honed through generations of Italian glass artisans.
Is Murano Glass worth collecting? We say yes, without a doubt. Italian Murano Glass is special. It has unique and exquisite designs, which have attracted the attention of collectors and admirers for centuries. Its beauty and the intricate craftsmanship that goes into each piece set it apart from other artistic glassware. As such, Murano Glass is an art that is absolutely worth collecting.
To help you start collecting Murano glassware, we’ll tell you how to determine the value of a Murano Glass item, highlight the most various famous Murano Glass artists, and explain the modern trends in the art of Murano Glass. We will point you to galleries, museums, and collections featuring Murano Glass, and suggest the best places to purchase collector-quality Murano Glass art.
Collecting Is Understanding The Value
Determining the value of a Murano Glass item can be a daunting task. There are many factors to consider, such as the piece’s age, rarity, and condition. To determine the value of a Murano Glass item, it’s important to first understand whether it is authentic Italian Murano Glass or a counterfeit produced elsewhere. Once you know that the piece is original and genuine, you need to understand if it is vintage or modern, Vintage pieces command much higher values.
Then examine the piece closely for any flaws or damage. Additionally, the signature of the artist can greatly impact the value of the piece. Some of the most sought-after signatures in Murano Glass include Archimede Seguso, Carlo Scarpa, and Lino Tagliapietra.
How to identify Murano Glass? We will explain how to make sure you buy an authentic piece of Murano glassware. First of all, you have to know that Murano Glass is only made on Murano Island in Venice, Italy. Ask for a certificate of origin, labels, or signatures to confirm this. Look for unique designs, rich colors, uneven shapes, and imperfect polish.
Here are the top five tips for the buyer to identify Murano Glass.
1. Inspect Colors and Design.
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 colors such as blue from cobalt, 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.
2. Look for Imperfections.
An authentic Murano Glass object has an imperfect shape, 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.
Many blown glass pieces will have bottoms with somewhat rough pontil marks where the glass piece was taken off the stick. Sometimes there are also bubbles of air trapped inside the glass. Two items of the same model may vary in terms of shape, size, color, 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. They work in small factories and workshops which have no production machinery or conveyor belts.
3. Are There Certificates, Labels, or Signatures?
Authentic Murano Glass often (but not always) has labels with the name of the workshop and the signature of the master. Look for these and for certificates of authenticity or origin.
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 blue Millefiori bowl below, the piece is authentic. If you see the name of the factory on the label, research where they are located to make sure they are selling authentic Murano Glass.
4. Assess The Quality of The Store.
Authentic Murano Glass is typically sold in stores or on websites, which feature a large selection of high-end art glass items.
Check 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.
5. Check The Knowledge and Reputation of the Seller.
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 whether to purchase a piece, start a conversation with the seller or contact them by e-mail, chat, or phone. Ask them about the piece, the technique, and the glass-making process, and question them about the Murano Glass industry.
If their level of Murano Glass knowledge is low and they can’t explain much about the piece, it’s likely that they don’t sell genuine Murano glassware. On the contrary, if the store is open about its procurement process and answers all your questions in detail, they are most likely selling real Murano Glass.
About The Author
GlassOfVenice.com is an official original Murano Glass importer and seller and has been in business since 2008. Glass Of Venice works directly with over 40 different Murano Glass artisans, workshops, and factories in Murano, Italt. The management team visits the artisans often to maintain close relationships, curate collections, and review new creations.