Murano

The term “Murano Glass” defines glass produced on the island of Murano, near Venice, Italy. There are many different manufacturers, both past and present, based on Murano. The history of Murano Glass began in 1291, when concerns about the risk of fire to the mainly wooden buildings of Venice lead to the many glass manufacturers there being ordered to move their premises to the small island of Murano, just off the coast of Venice, Italy. Murano was already a busy trade port at the time. Murano glass artists soon became renowned for their skills in glass design, and had a monopoly on glassware production for several centuries. The Murano glass industry boomed during the 1950’s/60’s, exporting a vast amount of Venetian glassware as well as producing a large quantity of glassware for tourists visiting Venice. Murano glass production is still extremely active today. Due to the success and popularity of Murano glass with collectors, styles of glassware that originated on the island of Murano have been reproduced elsewhere, often of much poorer quality. These days, a lot of “Murano” glass sold on eBay or at antiques & collectable fairs can actually turn out to be made recently in China. When collecting glass, to avoid accidentally buying glass that wasn’t actually made in Murano, it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the current styles of glassware that are of Chinese origin.

Murano glass is glass made on the Venetian island of Murano, which has specialized in fancy glasswares for centuries. Murano’s glassmakers led Europe for centuries, developing or refining many technologies including crystalline glass, enamelled glass (smalto), glass with threads of gold (aventurine), multicolored glass (millefiori), milk glass (lattimo), and imitation gemstones made of glass. Today, the artisans of Murano are still employing these centuries-old techniques, crafting everything from contemporary art glass and glass figurines to Murano glass chandeliers and wine stoppers, as well as tourist souvenirs.

Today, Murano is home to a vast number of factories and a few individual artists’ studios making all manner of glass objects from mass marketed stemware to original sculpture. The Museo del Vetro (Glass Museum) in the Palazzo Giustinian houses displays on the history of glassmaking as well as glass samples ranging from Egyptian times through the present day.

 

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