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.
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.
How to clean Murano Glass Chandelier? While it may seem difficult, Murano chandeliers are easier to clean than many other chandelier types which cannot be taken apart. There are several ways to clean Venetian chandeliers depending on whether you just purchased the chandelier and it arrived to you in parts, or if it’s already up on your ceiling.
Murano Glass chandeliers typically consist of multiple elements. This makes it easy to transport and store them when not in use. The best way to clean a Murano Glass Chandelier that is in use in your home or office is to disassemble it and clean the parts one by one. If it just arrived and you want to make sure it shines before hanging it up, then clean the individual parts first before assembling your chandelier.
If it’s too difficult to disassemble your hanging Murano chandelier then you can do some light cleaning by simply removing dust with microfiber cloth without disassembly. Do not use any chemicals or sprays to clean your Murano Glass Chandelier as this may damage the glass. Do not use a dishwasher to clean the separate elements. The hot water and mechanical movement of the machine will damage the fragile chandelier parts.
Here are the key steps to clean Murano Glass Chandelier that hangs in your home:
Turn off the light and let the bulbs cool completely.
Disassemble the chandelier by removing each glass element one by one. Remove each leaf, flower, shade, arm, and finally the central stem.
Fill a large plastic tub with warm water. Add a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar to the water. Mix together.
Roll out a large towel on the counter or on a table.
Take the first glass element and put it in the tub. Submerge it entirely in the water and vinegar solution you just made. After it is cleaned in the water-and-vinegar solution, dry it off with lint-free cloth and lay on the prepared towel.
Repeat the process with each glass element of the chandelier.
When you are done cleaning and drying all the elements, re-assemble the chandelier.
If you choose to disassemble your Murano Glass Chandelier for cleaning, be very careful. It is almost impossible to find replacements for any broken elements. Do not place the glass shades, stems, center column or decorative elements on the floor where it’s easy to step on them. Keep them on a tall enough table or counter to put them out of reach of pets and children.
However, if you purchased your chandelier from Glass Of Venice and happen to break an chandelier piece, do not despair. Contact us and we will assist you with ordering a spare part.
Murano Glass chandeliers make the biggest impression when they are translucent and clean. This allows the light to play off each element. If you clean your chandelier every several months, it will sparkle and reflect light in the best possible way.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 is beautiful and unique with hundreds of years of artistic tradition behind it. Venetian masters learned from the ancient Roman artifacts and from Byzantine and Egyptian artisans to create masterpieces of blown glass using many different complicated and labor-intensive techniques, such as Millefiori, Sommerso, Bullicante, Filligrana, Lattimo, and others. Unfortunately as Murano Glass masters became famous beyond Venice so spread the fakes. Known as “A la façon de Venise” (or “in Venetian fashion”) glass pieces imitating Murano were made as early as the 16th century in Netherlands, England, France and later Bohemia and other parts of Europe. The very latest fakes are now coming from Asia, China in particular, and flooding the market to the extent that real authentic Murano pieces become harder and harder to find.
We at GlassOfVenice.com love Venice and support Venetian artisans, many of whom come from the long lineage of Murano glass maestros going back to the Middle Ages. Authentic Murano Glass still trumps all the fakes with its exquisite craftsmanship, gorgeous colors and amazing designs that Italian artisans are well known for. Here is our exclusive quick guide to how to avoid being cheated and always select genuine Murano Glass handcrafted in Venice. Murano stands for more than fine craftsmanship – it’s art, tradition, Venetian memories, and rich cultural and artistic heritage of La Serenissima. Get a real piece of Murano Glass – you’ll be glad you did!
People often ask us how to visit a Murano Glass factory. If you would like to see how Murano Glass is made, the best option is to take a Vaporetto to Murano and just take a walk around the island (which is very pretty, less touristy and much quieter than Venice). There you will quickly find furnaces and workshops that are open to tourists and offer demonstrations. If you decide to visit a Murano Glass factory here are the tips that will make your visit better:
August is a bad time to visit Murano. All Murano glass factories are closed for the entire month of August by Murano tradition, primarily due to unbearable heat inside the non-air-conditioned factories aggravated by high outside temperatures. If you must visit during August you may end up in a very touristy place that is a “fake factory” i.e. set up specifically to offer quick demos to unsuspecting tourists and mainly to get them into a showroom and entice them to shop. For this reason, if you visit Venice in August, we suggest to forgo a factory visit.
It is best to visit furnaces on weekday mornings. Most of them are closed during the lunch hour (which tends to be longer than in the U.S. and often runs until 2-3pm) and on weekends.
These tours and demonstrations should always be free of charge. Do not agree to deal with anyone who offers to get you into the factory for a fee.
In Venice, you may encounter sales representatives from touristy factory showrooms that will offer you a free boat trip to Murano. If you accept, be prepared for a lot of sales pressure when you get there and make sure you know how to get back. In fact, it is always better to come to Murano by relatively inexpensive and efficient public transportation, and not have to depend on pushy salespeople.
The exit from a demo is almost always through a richly stocked showroom where you may encounter variable amounts of sales pressure. Look at the prices first, and if things seem too expensive – don’t buy. The factories often give you the impression that they sell cheaper “direct from factory”, or that no-one else has the pieces they have, but this often not true. Make sure to comparison shop around the island before making a purchase – you could save hundreds of dollars this way.
If you do decide to buy something, we strongly encourage you to take it with you. There is nothing worse than getting home and trying in vain to track down your shipment. If you would like it shipped, make sure that:
Your purchase will be very well packed (ask the salespeople to show you how they pack glassware for shipping).
Make sure that you know how and when the shipment will reach you. Find out the name of the carrier and insist on getting a tracking number.
Always take down the contact information of the factory and the name and e-mail of the salesperson in case any problems arise later on.
If while wondering around Murano island you come across a workshop where work is going on but you are refused entry, do not take it personally. The artisans we work with and many other reputable Murano glass artists do not open the doors of their workshops to tourists and here is why:
The artisans consider their business a serious affair and heavily guard their glass-making secrets, so they would like to avoid any unnecessary distractions or intrusions
The main expertise of the artisans is in production of Murano glass and not in entertaining tourists or explaining the process to them.
The workshops arent’s staffed to handle the inflow of tourists
No factories are usually interested in tourist visits just for the sake of showing them the glass-making process. Those factories that agree to hold these demonstrations do so for a chance to sell their wares, often in a pushy way and for above-average price.
While visiting Venice, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the quantity and variety of Murano glass offered for sale all over the city. However, once the tourists return home and start wearing or displaying their beautiful Murano glass pieces, they instantly get many compliments and questions about these items, prompting them to think that they should have purchased more Murano glass items both for themselves and as gifts. Then they realize that Murano glass is not widely available around them, and wonder where they can buy more Murano glassware. Fortunately, there is no need to make a trip to Venice to purchase beautiful authentic reasonably-priced Murano Glass.
While outside of Venice there are not many stores specializing in genuine Murano glass, and counterfeits are abound, one can still find a good selection of genuine Murano glass products even after they leave Italy. But be careful with internet shopping because many Chinese factories these days are churning out glassware they label as “Murano” or “Murano style” when in reality it has nothing to do with Venice’s world-famous craft. In addition, many legitimate Murano Glass online stores are physically located in Italy, which may become problematic for the U.S.A.-based customers both in terms of shipping, returns/exchanges and customer service. We have unfortunately heard many sad stories from our customers who were previously ordering from Italian websites and never received their items, or were unable to work with their customer service staff due to the problems with their work hours and the language barrier.
When choosing a website to buy your Murano Glass treasure you should look carefully at the following:
The website should have a well-written “About Us” section where you can find out their credentials and read about the company history. Make sure the company has been in business for at least a few years, and is writing things on their About Us page that resonate with you. Ideally you would understand from this page why they are in this business and why and how they are able to offer authentic products.
The website should have contact information including a toll-free phone number and physical address in the United States. Always check on Google Maps or a similar website to see that this address is not someone’s residence but a legitimate business office.
The website should spell out easy-to-follow return policies with return for any reason possible within 30-days or more, as well as free replacement of damaged items. This shows that the seller is confident in their product quality and appeal, and is willing to take care of any issues that may arise during shipping.
The website should have a large selection of Murano Glass pieces, including jewelry, vases, figurines and sculptures, drinkware and tableware, as well as lighting, and a variety of price ranges all the way to exclusive art glass. This lets you know that the company is serious about its Murano Glass product selection and offers some expensive art glass pieces that are much harder to fake.
The website should have clear and multiple high-quality photos and videos of the products. This helps you understand several things: 1) whether they have Murano Glass pieces in stock (a requirement to make high quality photos). 2) whether they are serious about Murano Glass and consider it worthy of the spend required to purchase expensive photo and video equipment, or to hire professional photographers. 3) you’ll know what the product looks like from different angles and see whether it has any markings or labels to better judge about its authenticity.
Check out the website’s shipping timelines and existence of expedited shipping options. If the company can ship within 24 hours and has expedited shipping options, such as overnight, that lets you know that they are warehousing the products and not drop-shipping them using a third party. You should avoid dealing with the drop-shippers because it is impossible to verify where they get their pieces from, and they are much more likely to sell fake Murano glass
The website which deals in authentic Murano Glass is always interested in educating its customers and helping them avoid fakes, and so it should offer more than just products for sale. Check to see if the website you are looking at has a comprehensive educational section or a blog where the company shares the insights about all things related to Murano Glass, such as masters, techniques, history, and photos and videos.
Finally, always check Alibaba website, which has a lot of fake Chinese Murano Glass listings prior to shopping to see what Murano Glass fakes look like (and you’ll be very surprised by how cheap it is!). If you check enough listings of fakes you will be able to spot them much easier when shopping for Murano Glass online.
We at GlassOfVenice consider it our mission to educate current and prospective customers about Murano Glass and help them buy and enjoy authentic Murano Glass pieces, whether they choose to shop with us at GlassOfVenice.com or not. We work directly with the glass artisans on Murano island bypassing all middlemen, so that we can be 100% confident in the authenticity and quality of our products by following their path all the way from the furnace to our warehouse.
We are also proud to say that we know all the artisans we deal with personally, and visit them often to foster true collaboration and provide them with feedback directly from our customers to ensure that the product they create works well for our discerning clientele in the United States and beyond. Please feel free to e-mail us at email@example.com if you have any questions about Murano Glass shopping on- and off-line or need help with any of our products.
As with many works of art, it is not always easy to determine whether a particular glass item is authentic Murano glass, and it is even harder to attribute it to a particular master. Over the centuries, there were so many trends and techniques in Murano glass that the spectrum of possibilities of what a genuine Murano glass item may look like is very wide. From imitations of classical antiquity to enameled glass, glass made to look like chalcedony or other semi-precious stones, glass with filigree and engravings, Murano masters made miracles out of glass for 800 years. These days, one can only come across Murano glassware from the Middle Ages in museums such as the famous Glass Museum in Murano. However, Murano glass from more recent times such as 19th and 20th century, often made by famous masters, can often be found in ordinary people’s possessions.
If you come across an item that you think may be Murano glass, first of all look for any labels, etchings, stamps or signs stating the origin of the item or name of the glass-making company. If you find any, and it contains names like Salviati, Seguso, Barovier, Toso, Moretti, Mandruzzato, Venini, Zanetti, Nason, Signoretto, Barbini, Bianconi, Cenedese or words like “Vetro Murano”, “Vetreria Artistica….Murano”, “Maestri Vetrai Murano” or similar, you are probably holding a genuine Murano glass article. If there are no labels or etchings, identification is more complicated and has to be made on the basis of the look and glassmaking technique alone. The best approach in this case is to take several high quality photos of your article from various viewpoints and send them to experts for identification and attribution. GlassOfVenice.com has been dealing with Murano glass for many years and can help you with such requests for free.
Murano Glass is made on the island of Murano, located within the city of Venice in Northern Italy. This glass is made from silica, soda, lime and potassium melted together in a special furnace at a temperature of 1500°C to reach a liquid state.
Therefore, Murano Glass is defined as being made in a special place using special techniques. It is glass in a chemical sense of the word. However, Murano glass is as different from, say, the glass in your window panes, as Rembrandt paintings are different from an empty canvas.
How is Murano Glass different from any other glass?
Once the glass mixture is prepared using the ingredients above, very thin layers of real 24K gold or sterling silver are often added to it (this is known as gold or silver leaf), along with various minerals to give glass its vibrant colors and designs. The resulting liquid glass mixture is then mouth-blown and/or hand-shaped by master glassmakers in a series of elaborate steps using special techniques such as Millefiori, Sommerso, Reticello, Filligrana, Bullicante, and many others.
For example, in Avventurina technique the master uses copper shavings to add Aventurine mineral-like sparkles to the glass piece. In Millefiori technique the artisans use small slices of special glass canes with a design inside and fuse them together for a quilt-like appearance. In Bullicante regular bubbles are introduced into the glass mixture. These and other techniques create specific recognizable looks that are characteristic of Murano Glass.
Colors are achieved only by using minerals, so unlike painted colors, they never fade. For example, zinc is added for white color, cobalt for blue, manganese for violet, gold for red.
Murano Glass has long history. Today it is an art form.
Murano’s special glassblowing process is over a thousand years old. It was re-discovered by the local artisans when they found ancient Roman glassware at the end of the first millennium. The craft of Murano glass-making has eventually become one of the main industries in the mighty Venetian Republic. As such, it has continuously evolved over the centuries, reaching global fame and turning into the art form we know today.
However, to this day the master glass-makers on Murano use only basic tools to shape, polish, and perfect the glass. Most of these tools have been developed in the Middle Ages and both the tools and the glass-blowing process have hanged little since then. This method of glass-making results in unique creations with rich coloring and beautiful, sometimes surreal, patterns and shapes, which are real artworks.
For this reason, high-end Murano Glass is considered to be Art Glass, or the glass made not merely by craftsmen, but by artists of glassmaking, called maestros in Italian. Even though beautiful glassware and crystal has also been created in other places around the world, none of the glassware still produced today has such a rich history and so much artistic value as Murano glass.
Customers often contact us when their favorite piece broke and ask: can Murano Glass can be repaired? When an article made of Murano glass breaks, the only way to fix it at home is to glue it together. Gluing may work if the item has a smooth break line and broke into only two or three pieces as opposed to many small ones. If this is your case, and you want to try to fix it yourself, first of all, you need to buy the right glue. We recommend using E-6000® glue for Murano glass, or any glass for that matter. This is a very strong waterproof and flexible adhesive once it dries. The only downside is its long drying time- make sure to let it dry for 24 to 72 hours after application. With this glue, apply a thin coat to both glass surfaces that you need to attach, wait ten minutes and strongly press the surfaces together. Then put the item aside and let dry. Make sure you use this glue only in an area that has adequate ventilation.
If your Murano glass broke in such a way that it can’t be glued together, or if it just cracked inside its frame (which may be the case with Millefiori pendants, for example), your best option may be to try to find a replacement. Regardless of whether the Murano glass item was modern or vintage, purchased recently or long ago, there are companies specializing in Murano glass that will be willing to work with you to find a replacement. We at GlassOfVenice.com work with many glass artisans on Murano island and will be happy to look into your situation and help to locate a replacement piece.
Finally, if the replacement can’t be found it may be possible to put the piece back together using the original Murano glassmaking methods, but this is a difficult and expensive undertaking and only a Murano-trained and experienced master can do that. Murano glass is hand-crafted by master artisans who work the heated-up liquefied glass mass using special centuries-old techniques and local Murano materials. They then cool the glass mass down till it solidifies to form a specific pattern within a certain shape. Hence, if it breaks, only the masters who know the methods and techniques used in the original piece and have the proper equipment and source materials may be able to take on the task of repairing the original piece.