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Murano glassmaking is an ancient craft that traces its roots back to the 8th century. The original settlers of the Venetian Lagoon were Romans who fled barbarian invasions, and after the Venetian community was established and the government set up, the settlers of the Lagoon attempted to rediscover the ancient Roman craft of glassmaking. Glassmaking quickly took off in Venice because of the exceptional quality of the local sand, a main component of glass.

Glass is a solid matter which, in its raw state, is made of silica (sand), soda, lime and potassium melted together in a furnace at a temperature of 1,500 degrees Celsius (~2,700 degrees Fahrenheit), to become a flexible material. Then, in the simplest scenario, the glassmaker removes this substance from the furnace with the help of a pipe, and shapes it using various specialized instruments. These instruments such as pliers, scissors and wooden shovels, have changed little since antiquity. "Glass-blowing" refers to a method of blowing into the pipe to fill the glass object with air and give it a shape.

The magnificent appearance and coloring of Murano glass is achieved by adding gold or silver leaf to the glass mixture and/or adding minerals such as zinc for white, cobalt for blue, manganese for violet, and so on. Once the object is finished, it is placed in a cooling furnace, called "tempera", to cool down slowly. This process is called annealing, or ensuring that glass doesn't break due internal tensions or because of extreme variations in temperature.



Millefiori

Millefiori aka Murrine

Millefiori means "a thousand flowers". Revived ancient technique based on combining glass pieces together into a pattern, then fusing them together under high temperature.

Avventurina

Avventurina

Clear or yellow-brown glass that has metal particles embedded into it to create a shimmery look.

Sommerso

Sommerso

Glass with layered appearance, where one colored layer of glass is covered by a layer of glass in a different color.

Cristallo

Cristallo

A breakthrough invention of truly colorless glass, contrived in the fifteenth century by Venetian glass master Angelo Barovier.

Filiigrana or Reticello

Filigrana, Zanfirico, Reticello

Complex technique invented on Murano in the 15th century. It involves the use of white or colored glass rods within a piece to create symmetric geometrical designs.

Chalcedony

Chalcedony

Glass featuring polychromatic veins running through the dark-colored base. Invented on Murano island to imitate the natural stones such as chalcedony, agate, and malachite.

Bullicante

Bullicante

Glass decorated with a regular pattern of evenly spaced air bubbles that may become gradually larger or smaller. This glass-making technique was especially popular with Murano glass artists during the 1950s.

Fenicio

Fenicio

"Fenicio" (Phoenician) is a technique used to produce festooned motif on glass. It was adopted in Murano at the end of the 17th century, though it is known from the 2nd millennia AD.

Lattimo

Lattimo

(From Italian "latte" - milk). Opaque white glass imitating the look of porcelain was invented in Murano in the fourteenth century. It was originally used for enameled decoration.

Gold and Silver Leaf

Gold and Silver Leaf

Gold or silver leaf decoration of Murano Glass involves the use of very fine small sheets of 24 karat gold or .925 silver and adding them to the glass mixture to create special rich sparkling appearance.

Chandelier Making

Chandelier Making

Glass chandeliers were invented on Murano in the seventeenth century and took the world by storm. Murano Glass chandeliers are still handcrafted using ancient glass-making techniques and remain the most coveted chandeliers available.

Lampworking and Beads

Lampworking and Beads

Murano Glass beads production started in Venice in the fourteenth century. Three main types of Murano beads are conteria or seed beads, rosetta or chevron beads, and a lume or lampworked beads.