Italy is probably mostly well-known for its canals, bridges and gondolas however, you may also recognise Murano Glass and Venetian Masks as being two of the main known products produced.
Everyone, when they think of Murano Glass, thinks expensive and for very good reasons.
What is Murano Glass
Murano Glass is produced on an island that is very close to Venice and is considered one of the most refined and renowned types of crafts worldwide due to its stunning designs. These designs are produced by some of the best master craftsmen who still use traditional techniques from over a thousand years ago.
You may have noticed that they are all different styles of Murano glass which all depends on which technique has been used.
This technique uses three main steps
Step 1 – A series of colourless glass rods with a coloured inner core are arranged next to each other on a metal plate and then heated in an oven.
Step 2 – A cylinder of incandescent glass is rolled over the hot rods so that it combines
Step 3 – The piece is shaped and finished as desired.
Murrina glass also uses coloured rods but in this case are arranged to create a cross-sectional pattern.
After arranged the rods are headed to melting point and are pulled to the desired diameter. The rod is then cooled and cut into various sized disks.
The disks are then either used to combine to other rods (similar to above) or then used to bowls and dishes.
The word Millefiori means “a thousand flowers” and is a type of Murrina. It uses the cross-section of the rods which are usually flower patterned and are arranged together, usually for jewellery.
Avventurina is a yellow-brown translucent glass which features copper microcrystals which give it a golden shimmer. Avventurina is hard to get right and must be cooled very slowly which can take several days. This type of glass was very popular in the mid-nineteenth century and was often used when making pieces for Royal families.
Foglia d’Oro meaning “gold leaf”, includes thin 24 karat gold leaf inside of the glass. This process can be very fiddly and is what makes some Murano Glass more expensive.
The process is started by melting a small quality of glass and shaped into a cylinder. It is then rolled over a thin layer of gold leaf. More glass is then applied over to encase the gold.
The glass is then worked which causes the gold leaf to break and produce a series of golden straws in the glass.