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In Short: Murano Glass Chandeliers were invented by Venetian master Giuseppe Briati, who was a key figure in Murano glass making in the seventeenth century, inventing new methods using Bohemian glass experience and crafting also mirrors and furniture in his famous workshop. With the invention of a method for assembly of a new glass chandelier, and the multitude of designs and colors, Murano set itself firmly as the center of interior design and lighting in Europe and beyond.


Murano Glass Chandelier Museum

In the middle ages large public and private spaces were lit with heavy and dull chandeliers and lamps holding numerous candles, which were crafted from wood and metal. These light fixtures continued to be in use throughout Europe all the way into the seventeenth century, when they no longer fit the evolving fashion and sophisticated tastes in decor and design.

As glassmaking in Murano picked up the pace on the path of discoveries and innovation, it became possible to craft entirely new type of chandeliers from glass. These chandeliers were beautiful, elegant, sophisticated, gave more light through their reflective properties, and thus fulfilled the purpose of both good lighting and decorative excellence. Always incredibly popular, they helped keep the glass industry alive during times of Murano's fading glory.

The person behind the shift to glass chandeliers, which took Europe by storm, was Giuseppe Briati. Briati was a local master glass-maker on Murano, who in the seventeenth century came up with an ingenious modular chandelier design that became known as "ciocche". This concept made it possible to craft highly ornamental chandeliers from Murano Glass.

Murano Glass ChandeliersIn the center of the chandelier was a metallic column covered with transparent or colored blown glass shape. Other metallic parts were inserted into the central column and also covered by tubular blown glass pieces. Various decorative elements were then attached to the main glass parts, including elaborate flowers, leaves, and hanging rings or pendants. These Murano chandeliers were often crafted of transparent Cristallo glass, or Venetian crystal, with the addition of gold leaf. Sometimes other colors were used, as well as other techniques including Lattimo and Opalino.

Some Murano Glass Chandeliers were huge and extremely elaborate, lighting up the grand ballrooms in rich Venetian homes or public spaces such as Palazzo del Doge. Some extraordinary chandeliers hanging in such spaces were so gorgeous that they gave names to entire chandelier types. For example, multi-tiered elaborate Rezzonico design was named after the famous ballroom chandelier, which is still hanging at Venetian Ca' Rezzonico.

Today the production of Murano Glass chandeliers remains essentially unchanged from the seventeenth century, albeit for the electric wiring. The glass artisans create one glass part at a time entirely by hand and use specialized workshops with large furnaces to ensure enough capacity for production of even very large chandeliers. The masters then assemble the entire design from the metal base elements, which house the electric wires, and the glass pieces, which are used both to cover the metal and for decoration.

The designs run a gamut to satisfy all sorts of tastes and preferences. They range from relatively streamlined and simple transparent chandeliers which fit well in contemporary homes and offices, to the fantastical forms and decorations based on floral or abstract designs for the more artistically-minded, all the way to the Rezzonico-style gold-leaf-heavy multi-tiered chandeliers hanging in the opulent residences of the world's ultra-wealthy.

Interested in knowing more? Read more information from GlassOfVenice about Murano Glass chandeliers here:
https://www.glassofvenice.com/blog/2013/07/history-and-grandeur-of-murano-glass-chandeliers/

Thinking of buying your own piece of Murano's artistic heritage? Check out our large selection of authentic Murano Glass Chandeliers in all designs and colors at
https://www.glassofvenice.com/home-decor/murano-glass-lighting/murano-glass-chandeliers.html