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Murano Glass Is In Trouble. How Skyrocketing Gas Prices Are Affecting The Ancient Industry.

Murano Glass exists in Venice for over 1,000 years and survived multiple upheavals. However, this time it is in real danger of extinction.

Murano Glass artisans create glassware in a factory on Murano island
Murano Glass artisans create glassware in a factory on Murano island. Photo courtesy of GlassOfVenice.com

Murano Glass is one of the world’s oldest surviving industries. While glass-making was known to humans even as far back as ancient Egypt, the production of glass in Venice was established on the heels of the craft developed in ancient Rome.

Fleeing from the barbarians, the Romans who settled in Venice established glass-making furnaces and used local silica and soda to create their first glass vessels. After the industry got established on Murano island by the government decree in 1291, the local glass furnaces have been working full force despite the difficulties brought by wars, floods, and competition.

However, this time it’s different. The Murano Glass industry has encountered the perfect storm created by the horrible flood of Venice in 2019, the global Covid-19 pandemic, and the enormous increase in gas prices brought on by the war in Ukraine and the transformation to renewable energy. This gas problem may just be the last straw to break the back of the ancient industry.

Murano Glass furnaces are notoriously gas-hungry. They have to burn at 1500 degrees Celsius and cannot be turned on and off daily. It takes about a week to ignite a furnace and bring it to the stable high temperature required for glass-making. This process costs tens of thousands of euros. Therefore, the furnaces are normally only extinguished for one month a year, august, when the local glass artisans traditionally take a break amid the summer heat.

The Glass Factories Are Shutting Down.

However, since February of 2022, many of the artisans we at GlassOfVenice work with had to extinguish their furnaces for varying periods of time, from a month to what looks like a permanent shutdown for some. This is because they cannot continue production with the current gas prices unless they increase their own prices to the point where customers will stop buying Murano Glass from them.

To put it all in perspective, he price of gas in Murano jumped over a thousand percentage points from 0.20 euro per cubic meter in September of 2021 to up to 3 euros per cubic meter after the start of the war in Ukraine. This translates into an unthinkable jump in the annual gas bill from about 20,000 euros to over 300,000 euros on average for a Murano Glass factory. This estimate is based on the data from Consorzio Promovetro Murano trade organization, which says there are about 100 factories on Murano and their combined gas usage is 10 to 11 million cubic meters in a normal year.

Almost as bad as the increase in prices is the uncertainty that the glass factories face. Prices jump wildly from month to month and no gas supplier is willing to renew Murano factories’ expiring gas contracts at fixed price. Because of this, it is impossible to plan production. Some Murano business owners decide to shut down their production entirely while they wait for some stabilization and subsidies from the government. Others shut down some furnaces resulting in limitations to the variety of their glassware and other restrictions in the glass-making process.

Smaller Artisans Also Face Uncertain Future.

Even smaller Murano Glass workshops and individual artisans working with a torch instead of large furnaces are feeling the pain. Such glass makers use much less gas but the torches require oxygen to operate, which also increased in price. In addition, they are faced with a shortage of glass canes.

Many smaller Murano artisans use lampworking method of glass-making. This means they use glass canes, which they heat up under the torch, then blow and shape into jewelry, ornaments, and figurines.

These canes in all designs and colors are produced by Effetre – the icon of Venetian glass-making and the only maker of glass canes on Murano island. However, Effetre, which operates multiple large furnaces, has also stopped production almost completely due to the gas price increases, since their business has also become unsustainable almost overnight.

The situation is really dire for all glass artisans on Murano. Among Glass Of Venice’s 30+ suppliers of varying sizes, 10 have stopped production at various points in the last 6 months and 4 have not reopened. All are waiting for promised subsidies from the government and from UNESCO, however, those are temporary patches on a growing wound and are slow to arrive.

The Murano Glass industry is an incredibly important part of our cultural heritage, it is a venerable human achievement that needs to be sustained and protected. Moreover, it is a vital part of the economy of Venice and Murano, helping them stay living breathing cities rather than Disneyland-like destinations. It is our hope that Murano Glass will stay resilient in the face of this new adversity and will prosper once again.

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Is Venetian Glass The Same As Murano Glass?

Murano Glass crafted by glass masters in Murano, Italy. Photo credit: GlassOfVenice.com

Murano Glass and Venetian Glass refer to the same glassware made on Murano island in Venice, Italy. Many of GlassOfVenice customers ask whether Murano Glass and Venetian Glass are the same things and why there is confusion about the proper name. The explanation requires a brief excursion into the history of Murano Glass.

So why are both names in use and how can we be sure they mean the same thing?

  1. Murano Glass has its origins in the Venetian Lagoon. Murano Glass is an ancient craft that has its origins in ancient Egypt, then it reached new significance in the Roman Empire and after its fall the center of glassmaking emerged in the Venetian Lagoon. In the 1960s archeologists unearthed the foundations of an 8th century AD glass factory in the Venetian Lagoon on the island of Torcello. At that time Torcello was the center of life in the Venetian Lagoon, and remained so until Venice grew in importance and assumed that role.
  2. Later Venice became the center of glass-making, and Murano island was a part of Venice. More and more glass factories and workshops started to open in Venice, and by the 12th century the local glass artisans (called Fiolari) became members of an official trade guild called Arte Fiolara, or glass blowing guild. This is how the glass from the Venetian Lagoon became known as Venetian Glass. However, many of the glass furnaces registered in the city of Venice were in fact situated on Murano island, which was initially an administrative part of Venice but won its independence from Venice in 1278.
  3. In 1291 the Great Council of Venice decreed that all furnaces in the city of Venice had to be demolished due to the risk of fires, but furnaces could be constructed and operated elsewhere in the Venetian Lagoon. Murano was already at that time an independent adminsitrative center in the Venetian Lagoon. Because of this, starting in 1291 all Murano glass-making moved to Murano island, where working furnaces already existed. Of course, since then the glassware from this region received the name of Murano Glass, even though eventually glass-making was again allowed in Venice and in later centuries many factories existed in the historical center of Venice as well as on Murano island.
  4. The confusion in the proper naming of Murano glassware still exists today. The reason is mainly the fact that Murano island is currenty administratively again a part of Venice (it lost its independence from Venice in1924), so all glass made in Murano is technically glass made in Venice. Both terms, Murano Glass and Venetian Glass, can be used interchangeably but the term Murano Glass is more commonly used by artists, collectors, sellers, regulatory bodies, and even museums. Whether handmade glassware from the Venetian lagoon is called Murano Glass or Venetian Glass, it is authentic if it is handcrafted on Murano island according the ancient techniques and traditions of the craft.
Murano Glass artisans creating glassware at a glass-making factory in Murano, Italy. Photo credit: GlassOfVenice.com

At GlassOfVenice.com we believe that it is important to understand the roots of Murano Glass and its rich history in order to truly understand the unique value and historical significance of Murano Glass Art. Learn more about Murano Glass on our blog and in our special Murano Glass portal.

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Is Murano Glass Valuable?

Murano Glass Is Valuable - Salviati, Toso, Moretti. Murano Glass Museum, Venice
Murano Glass By Salviati, Toso, Moretti, 19th Century. Murano Glass Museum, Venice.

Is Murano Glass valuable? You may wonder -is that Murano piece my grandmother left me special? Yes, many authentic Murano Glass pieces have appraised value of hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Depending on who made them and when, which technique was used, and how rare a piece is, it may be a highly valuable special work of art, or it may be considered a valuable antique.

So why is Murano Glass valuable? And where does its value come from? Here are the main aspects that help determine the value of a Murano Glass piece:

  1. The master or the glassworks that created the piece. Many masters of Murano Glass attained worldwide fame for the special artistic value of their pieces. This list includes Paolo Venini, Alfredo Barbini, Archimede and Livio Seguso, Carlo Scarpa, Vittorio Zecchin, Lino Tagliapetra, Carlo Moretti, Fulvio Bianconi and many other prominent Venetian glass artists. Their signed works, as well as the works marked with the stamps of the most prestigious Murano Glass companies, such as Barovier and Toso, Fratelli Toso, Venini, Moretti, Formia, Gambaro e Poggi, Simone Cenedese, Alessandro Mandruzzato, command high values and top prices on the antique market.
  2. The craftsmanship and the technique. Certain techniques of Murano glass-making are very complex and require incredible skill and precision along with artistic talent. Filigrana, Reticello, and Zanfirico are some of the rarest and valued Murano Glass technique, involving heating, stretching, and twisting glass canes into elaborate lace-like designs. Millefiori (or Murrina in Italian) is another one, where tiny pieces of glass canes with designs inside are fused together into quilt-like patterns.
  3. The age and condition. Murano Glass is an art, and like all artworks, Murano Glass pieces become more valuable with age. Every period of Murano Glassmaking has a unique appeal. The most valuable pieces are the ones that survived from the 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th century Venice, many of which are in museums, while others are carefully kept in private collections. Artworks from the 20th century are easier to come across, with mid-century works making up the majority of this century’s Murano Art Glass heritage. Specialized antique online marketplaces, auction houses, and serious Murano Glass sellers such as GlassOfVenice.com offer authentic valuable mid-century and other vintage Murano masterpieces at competitive prices.
Murano Glass Art By Carlo Scarpa, 20th Century Vintage Glass.

Murano Glass is certainly valuable, first and foremost because it is an art form. You can find many Murano Glass items in the most famous museums of the world, from The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Getty Villa to The British Museum, The Louvre, Murano Glass Museum in Murano, and other prominent collections. But it is possible to own a valuable piece of Murano Glass without breaking the bank. Check out the Vintage Glass Collection curated by Glass Of Venice where we offer valuable pieces by Formia, Loredano Rossin, Seguso Vetri d’Arte, Licio Zanetti, Salviati, and others, which are the true art heirlooms to keep in your family and pass to future generations.


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Why Is Murano Glass So Special?

What is so special about Murano Glass by GlassOfVenice.com
Murano Glass master at work in a glass factory in Venice, Italy. Photo credit: GlassOfVenice.com

What is so special about Murano Glass and why is it so famous?

Murano Glass is special because it is an art form that exists on Murano island in Venice, Italy for over a thousand years. Murano Glass is so famous because it is handmade by highly skilled master artisans. Each item they create is a work of art. Owning a Murano Glass piece signifies not only having class but also being a part of a long Venetian tradition and knowing how to enjoy the finer things in life.

Here are the three main things that make Murano Glass so special:

1. Murano Glass has a long history.

Practiced in Venice at least from the 8th century, Murano Glass became one of the Venetian republic’s key industries by the 1200s and all glass-making factories were moved from Venice to Murano in 1291. Since then, Murano Glass art became famous and popular far beyond the shores of the Venetian republic. It was favored by monarchs, nobility, and successful merchants for its radiance, translucency, and feather-light weight.

Murano Island Old Map Murano Glass History
Old map of Murano island. Photo credit: GlassOfVenice.com

2. Murano Glass is an art.

Murano Glass initially was simply a craft that required skilled hands and involved a repeatable process. Today Murano Glass is a recognized art form. Many Murano master glassmakers made the name for themselves in the art world by being bold and daring. They are known for realizing the emerging art trends of their time in glass form, or by collaborating with other artists across the art spectrum. World-famous last names such as Salviati, Toso, Barovier, Zecchin, Capellin, Seguso, Scarpa, Bianconi, Martinuzzi, Barbini, Zanetti, Rosin, and many others make up the hall of fame of Murano Glass Art.

Murano Glass Art In Museum In Venice
Murano Glass on display in a museum in Venice, Italy. Photo credit: GlassOfVenice.com

3. Authentic Murano Glass is valuable.

Unlike many other decorative pieces that are mass-produced today, every authentic Murano Glass piece is an original creation made by hand according to the ancient tradition. This means many things. First, each piece reflects the heart and soul of the artist. Second, it embodies the unique beauty and radiance of Venice. Finally, beyond the monetary value, it has sentimental value that cannot be measured.

If you are thinking about selling your Murano Glass piece down the road, there is a large market of Vintage Murano Glass both on specialty Murano Glass sites like GlassOfVenice and on specialty art and vintage marketplaces such as https://www.1stdibs.com and https://www.rubylane.com, as well as on various auction houses’ websites.

Murano Glass Is Valuable
Murano Glass in Correr Museum in Venice, Corning Museum in Corning NY, and Metropolitan Museum in New York City. Photo credit: GlassOfVenice.com

In this article, our experts tried to help you understand why Murano Glass is so famous and special. Here we try to give you a bit more background on that.

In short, Murano Glass items are made in small factories and workshops on Murano island entirely by hand. The glassmaking process has changed little over the centuries and the master glassmaker uses only very basic tools to create Venetian glassware.

Today Murano Glass is a recognized art form, with its own famous names. It is also a vanishing craft, which is protected by UNESCO. By granting such protection, UNESCO confirms that it’s an important part of the history of growth and development of humanity, and a significant component of the world heritage.

People who have been to Venice, Italy instantly fall in love with Murano Glass after browsing small boutiques and large galleries that fill up the island of Murano and Venice itself. If you buy your own Murano Glass artwork, whether in a store in Venice or online, please know that it is not merely a piece of jewelry or a vase. It is a way to get closer to the beating heart of Venice that is as strong today as it was a thousand years ago.

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How To Tell Real Murano Glass – 5 Tips To Identify Before Purchase

5 Tips To Identify Authentic Murano Glass by GlassOfVenice

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.

  1. 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.

    Murano Glass Millefiori Vase Gold
  2. 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.

    Making Murano Glass Vase in Venice Italy
  3. 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.

    Murano Glass Bowl with the signature of master glassblower
  4. 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.

    Murano Glass store in Venice Italy
  5. 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.

    Master Holding Murano Glass Birds Figurine in Murano Italy

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.

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Where To See Murano Glass Blowing When Visiting Venice

Where To See Murano Glass Blowing? We’ll tell you how to find the best family-owned real Murano Glass factory where you can see the real glass-making, not a tourist show. If you get trapped into the tourist pitch, you will see a very basic short demonstration by someone who barely knows the craft, and will be quickly ushered into the retail area and encouraged to shop and overspend. To avoid this experience, we recommend a place where you can see the authentic glass-blowing process on Murano without any sales pitch.

  1. How to avoid a tourist trap While there are many factories and workshops on Murano, there are also many that pretend to be factories, when in reality, they are merely showrooms. In order to get the best glass-making demonstration experience, a tourist must be careful and not get pulled into showrooms and retail stores pretending to be factories. Most places that offer demonstrations on Murano are just such retail locations. They often claim to be the only place where you can see a real Murano Glass demonstration and the items they sell are overpriced and often not authentic Murano Glass.

    We also strongly recommend that you steer clear of hotel-sponsored trips to see Murano glass-making. And do not engage with people strategically standing near Vaporetto stops with signs on seeing Murano glass-making.

  2. Where to see the real Murano Glass demonstration The place that we know well and recommend to our customers and all Murano visitors is located at Calle San Cipriano 48, 30141 Murano and is called Vetreria Murano Arte or VMA. For a small 3 euro fee, you can see real masters work in the real family-owned Murano Glass factory and create wonders of Murano Glass. The added benefit is that you don’t need to make reservations in advance or connect with an organization that will facilitate the glass-blowing demonstration. Just show up at your convenience and see the demo with no sales pressure.

    Murano Glass Blowing Demonstration

  3. How to get to Murano Island and see the glass making demonstration To see this glass blowing demo all you need to do is take Vaporetto to Murano from Fondamente Nove stop in Venice and get off at Murano Colonna stop. Then ignore all the people promoting demonstrations and holding up signs, get off the Vaporetto, turn left and walk along the embankment. In about 5-7 minutes you will reach Vetreria Murano Arte. The demonstration is open weekdays between the hours of 9am and 4pm. Children under 11 years all can see the demonstration free of charge.

Murano Glass Blowing is a mesmerizing process which takes its roots from Roman glass-blowing and has evolved over the centuries in the Venetian Republic and in modern-day Italy into a prominent art form. There are hundreds of workshops and small factories on Murano island, most family enterprises, where one or more maestro’s work with hot glass, assisted by a few helpers.

A typical factory has several furnaces where the artisans repeatedly heat up the glass mass to make it malleable. Once heated up, the master takes the glass blob on a metal rod to the special bench, where they work on the hot glass blob, while constantly turning the rod to make sure the shape stays and the glass doesn’t fall onto one side. The masters use very basic tools and instruments to cut and shape the glass, and it’s their precision, experience, talent, and fantasy that make their creations unique art glass pieces renown throughout the world.

To become a Murano Glass master, one has to start out working in a furnace as a child and work alongside an experienced maestro to learn all the tricks and secrets of this unique and ancient trade. The most talented artisans then develop their own manner and artistic style, becoming famous maestros in their own right. This old-fashioned way of learning is still practiced in Murano, and all the masters we work with at Glass of Venice have learned their craft in this way.

If this sounds interesting, the next time you are on Murano make sure to visit the real glass-making demonstration without the sales pitch, and then walk around Murano island at your leisure. Peek into stores and galleries and view the beautiful Murano Glass jewelry, vases, sculptures and figurines to see if anything attracts your attention.

If you find a piece that you’d like to purchase, make sure it’s authentic. If you are taking it along with you, ensure that it will be packed well for its voyage home. Otherwise, if you would like it shipped to your home, remember to take down the information about the store, the salesperson, and agree on all the specifics of shipping to avoid any surprises with regard to the shipping fees and timing.

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The Great Murano Glass Masters: Alfredo Barbini

Murano’s history is made by hundreds of talented and ingenious glass masters. Many of them attained prominence centuries ago, while others are still stunning the world with dazzling creations. Others have collaborated together to evolve the glass-making industry and bring it global fame, which it is still enjoying today. Each and every one of them, however, has contributed invaluably to Murano’s history and beauty, surprising admirers and collectors with new ideas, artistic boldness, and alluring designs. Such is the case of the Barbini family, who has been an important presence in Murano’s history since ages ago, and is still present in today’s picture.

The Barbini family goes back a long way. Their story in the Murano Glass industry can be traced back to the XVI century, when the family name was added to Venice’s Golden Book, a book known for containing the crème de la crème of Venetian noble families and the best glass masters, whose guild received special permission to be in the Book. Members of the Barbini family played active roles in Venice’s history for a long time, be it in politics, commerce, or different areas of glass production. Many of them became famous thanks to their beautiful Venetian mirrors, others thanks to their enamel glass, others still for making majestic chandeliers. Some members of the Barbini family even moved to abroad in order to create decorative glass exclusively for royal houses and the wealthiest foreign families. During the following centuries the Barbini family started counseling other glass masters, such as Pietro Bigaglia, the Briati family, the Bertolini brothers and Benetto Barbaria. All of them in turn went on to make significant contributions to Murano’s glass-blowing innovations and history.
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The Great Murano Glass Masters: Paolo Venini

When talking about Murano’s history in glassmaking, it is natural to find only the best of the best glass masters working on these precious and unique designs. Some of these stories are full of unexpected surprises, stunning beginnings, and eminent success. Such is the case of Venini, one of Italy’s oldest and most renowned glass masters of all times. 

Born in a small town near Milan in 1895, Paolo Venini studied to become a lawyer but would soon change course when he crossed paths with fellow Italian Giacomo Cappellin. In 1921, the two Italian entrepreneurs opened their first glass factory in Murano, naming it Vetri Soffiati Muranesi Cappellin Venini & C. A third associate, Andrea Rioda, would later join the team. The idea was to reopen Rioda’s glass factory and summon back all of the company’s former glassblowers, taking advantage of the firm’s long history and know-how. Unfortunately, their plans did not go accordingly due to Rioda’s departing before the beginning of production. The partnership further dissolved after Cappellin decided to part ways in 1925 in order to launch another firm, taking many glass masters with him along the way. Venini, however, managed to reposition himself as one of Murano’s leading glass masters, renaming his company Venini & C.
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History and Grandeur of Murano Glass Chandeliers

Murano Glass ChandelierVery few objects are so recognizable the world over and have been the symbols and statements of wealth for so long as Venetian Glass Chandeliers. In the 17th century, when Venice was a mighty and rich maritime republic, Venetian nobility and merchants strived to outperform each other in demonstrating their power and wealth. Murano Glass industry flourished with talented glass masters rushing to create ever more elaborate articles of interior design to satisfy demand from their rich clientele. In addition to elegant mirrors, elaborate goblets, and gold-accented tableware, the glass masters created new designs of lighting fixtures. Replacing the unattractive and unwieldy wooden and wrought iron chandeliers of the past, the new chandeliers appeared airy, translucent, sparkly, and were richly decorated for a grand opulent look.

It was in those times that one of the mightiest Venetian families of the 17th century, Rezzonico, was building their magnificent residence, Ca’ Rezzonico, overlooking the Grand Canal. Designed by Giorgio Massari, a well-known Venetian architect, and decorated by the best artists and artisans in Venice, the palace featured beautiful façade, a grand staircase, and an unusual grandiose ballroom. The uniquely constructed soaring ceiling in the Ballroom was created by eliminating the second floor in part of the building. As a highlight of this grandeur, around 1730 Rezzonico family ordered a chandelier from Murano masters, which had to fit the regal atmosphere of the residence. Using all of their technical skills and knowledge, Murano Glass masters in the factory of Giuseppe Briati created a gorgeous two-tier masterpiece in rare polychrome glass featuring twenty candle-holders. This chandelier is the most amazing such chandelier still in existence today and it still hangs in its original room in Ca’ Rezzonico where tourists can now admire its beauty.
Murano Glass Chandelier
Moreover, this Rezzonico chandelier was so beautiful and famous that it gave rise to the entire style of Murano Glass chandeliers called Rezzonico, which is still produced in Murano Glass workshops. Rezzonico style, always in high demand for residences, hotels, restaurants, luxury boats and public spaces, is characterized by opulent detailing of stems and cups, elaborate floral elements, gorgeous colors, gold decoration, and grand multi-tier structure. Other classic Venetian chandeliers created by Murano masters today continue the famous Murano Glass chandelier tradition of the late 16th – early 17th century with translucent or colorful glass, lush decorative elements, and use of 24K gold and genuine silver leaf for gorgeous and unique look. Recently, more modern and trendy chandelier designs have also become popular, reflecting contemporary artistic trends and search for leaner forms, bolder colors, and more minimalistic styles.

Murano Glass masters have always stood apart from all their competitors around the world not only because of the superior quality of their glass creations, but also thanks to their unique ability to reinvent themselves and their craft while remaining true to the artistic heritage of Venice and traditions of their forefathers. While experimenting with new styles, decorative techniques, and artistic trends, Murano glassmakers carry on the classical traditions of craftsmanship and quality that made them world-famous since the ancient times. Today the descendants of the famous glass artisans of the centuries past continue to create gorgeous chandeliers and other pieces of art glass appreciated by even the most discerning modern-day customers.

by Kevin Grinberg

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Murano Island – The Home of Murano Glass-Making

Visting Murano island in Venice is a part of our job. But it is also our passion. We encourage you to take a trip to Murano to see firsthand how world-famous Murano Glass is made. Murano is a small island only 2 miles away from Venice. Little water buses, or vaporettos as they are known in Venice, transport you to Murano from Venice in about 10 minutes, and when you get off, you feel like you just returned to the Venice of centuries past.

Floating peacefully on the water, with colorful historic houses and palazzos lining its canals, Murano presents a much calmer, and more real-life alternative to the touristic hustle and bustle of nearby Venice. People go about their business, the canals are full of boats transporting goods, the children are walking home from school chatting and laughing, and history and beauty are surrounding all of this. Just by observing the everyday life on this historic island you feel like you are thrown into a different day and age, more carefree and more simple.

Murano Island


Yet Murano is much more than a curious tourist destination. For over 700 years Murano has been the place where the magic of glass is created from water, sand, and some minerals in the simple furnaces heated up to 1700 degrees Celsius or 3090 degrees Fahrenheit, or, for smaller items and jewelry, in front of a special torch using an ancient method known as lampworking. What makes this more than a chemical process is the talent and skill of the masters who breathe life into the glass mixture and shape it to become the amazing pieces of art that are famous worldwide.

Murano Glass Making Lampworking Technique


The process of Murano glass-making has remained virtually unchanged since the middle ages. Today, walking around the island of Murano, we see the little factories everywhere, often employing only a few people, who are members of the same family. In a typical glass-making family, many of which have been doing this work for generations, the business roles are traditional as well: the father and sons work the glass, the mother and the sisters assist in the process, pack ready items for sale in Venice or shipping outside, and work with the clients.

Murano Glass ready to ship


Seeing the artisans work their magic moving gracefully between the furnace and the special bench used for shaping the glass, manipulating simple age-old instruments, talking quietly to each other, it seems that this process is invariable like the change of seasons – that it’ll always be here and cannot be stopped.

However, this impression is far from reality. With the spread of globalization, the artistry of Murano Glass is in danger. Between the inflow of cheap counterfeit glass from the East, the rising costs of raw materials, the economic woes in the West, and the difficult working conditions, including standing up all day in the heat of the furnaces, the young people even from the old glass-making families increasingly flock to the easier and more profitable jobs on “terra ferma”, as Venetians call the mainland, personified by the grim industrial suburb of Mestre. Many factories and workshops have closed in recent years unable to compete with fake cheap glass from China and to find enough clients. And with each closing factory goes the mastery and the artistic touch of that particular glassmaker, which cannot be easily picked up by anyone else, and the Art of Murano Glass suffers from each loss.

Murano Glass Making


This is part of the reason why, years ago, we established our company GlassOfVenice.com. Our mission is not only to bring the beautiful historic art of Murano Glass to people worldwide, but also to help this amazing art survive and flourish. By establishing close connections with the artisans and collaborating with them to continue creating new and traditional Murano Glass objects we help them reach those who appreciate and value high-quality handcrafted artistic products and the heritage of Murano Glass. In the end it is you, our customers, who help Murano Glass art survive and prosper, and we thank you for your loyalty and hope for your continued patronage.

Millefiori Pendant from GlassOfVenice

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