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Murano glass: technology from the pages of history

For the production of high-quality lighting, a variety of materials are used, starting from plastic to refractory metals. Glass occupies an important place in this list. We want to tell you about the Murano glass, which is also called Venetian gold.

The term Murano or Venetian glass is widely heard by many. However, few people know its story. Let’s go a little deeper. Historians believe that Murano glass technology originated in the 13th century. It was a simple production glass, while its quality did not exceed other European manufacturers. The breakthrough came after the advent of technology, recipes, and examples of Byzantine glass in the hands of the Venetians.

Professor Katchalov N.N. divides glassmaking in Venice into 4 stages:

  • X, XI, and XII centuries – the first three hundred year stage. Glass production was in its infancy. They produced only simple household items.
  • XIII and XIV centuries – the second stage. The period of open development of the industry. The craft has taken one of the leading places in the country’s economy.
  • XV, XVI, and XVII centuries – the third stage. The stage of magnificent growth of craftsmanship and the flourishing of the art of glassmaking. The period allowed Venice to seize global leadership in the industry.’
  • XVIII century – a period of decline. Venice was occupied by France. The fashion for Venetian glass gradually faded.

The art of production was the result of a crusade and clever political actions of the government. Unique collections of Byzantine glass objects were exported from Constantinople. And even a large number of glaziers from Greece moved to Venice.

Monopolized technology. Secret Provision Laws. Conversely, awards and privileges were granted. In this regard, the Republic of Venice, where monetary compensation was in 1346, was recognized as equal.

Why Venetian glass became Murano?

Traditional glass in the old town of Murano island, Venice, Italy

It is worth paying tribute to the government of the Republic of Venice. In addition to the official and economic winners, they successfully entered the organization of the process. The biggest event is the movement of all large and small glass workshops through cities on the island of Murano at the end of the 13th century.

Do everything under the auspices of taking care of sanitation and fire safety. They all understand that the main goal was focused on preserving technology. So the term “Murano” glass was born.

About the production of Murano glass

Murano Island was a kind of internal state. The island in the 15th century had its own administration, its own court, and even a coin. Residents of the city enjoyed privileges. Any example: citizens were allowed to carry two knives. In 1445, Murano had his own ambassador in Venice, representing the interests of masters.

Murano glass production

Glassmaking on the island of Murano was strictly organized. All production was divided into workshops. They were led by an inspector (guastaldo) with three assistants. They controlled the work of masters, evaluated trial samples of products.

About Murano Glass Products

Murano glass products

Now about the products. The main types of products from Murano (Venetian) glass were beads and jewelry, dishes, mirrors and chandeliers. Not only on the island but also beyond. For the production, special equipment was not required, but there was enough “desktop” mining with a pipe and an artificial master. Raw materials for beads (colored sticks and tubes) were created on the island of Murano.

Murano glass products

The production of glass jewelry is a large segment of the market, which brings enormous income. Revenues from artificial gemstones. Murano (Venetian) glassware is famous all over the world. Vascular shapes and incredible solutions are amazing. Venetian glass products made earlier than the 15th century has not survived to our time. And you can judge only by the picture of Italian artists. These were quite outstanding items of utensils. Prior to this period, the quality of glass was improved and consolidated.

After the 15th century, artists started to work on the forms and structure of the material. As a result, Murano glass received several different technologies:

  • Colored glass. It was not stained, but metal oxides were added, which gave a certain color to the mass.
  • Colorless glass. Perfectly clear glass without opacities and defects.
  • Coated glass. As a rule, glass was covered with enamel or gilding.
  • Filigree glass. Transparent glass, inside which threads of different colors (usually white) were placed. The secret of this method has long been kept and was very popular.
  • Milk glass. Glass with a white tint was obtained using an admixture of tin oxide.
  • Aventurine glass. Sparkling glass. The effect was achieved by the addition of copper.
  • Agate glass. Different colored layers were used in this type of glass; they created a pattern resembling marble.
  • Mosaic glass. A technique in which glass looks created from various small parts bearing patterns (colors, stars, etc.).
  • Cracked glass. Crackle (from the French word “craquer” – to crack). An interesting way to decorate the glass. Its essence is that the glass was covered with “cracks”. The effect was achieved during the blowing of the mold, which was immersed for a moment in the water, causing the outer layer to cool sharply and crack. At the same time, the internal one kept its temperature and it could be further processed and blown.
Murano glass products
Murano Island (Venice) and hand-blown Murano glass flowers

Murano Glass Chandeliers

Venetian chandeliers were widely used during the flourishing period of glassmaking in Venice. The greatest demand fell in the XVII century. Murano glass chandeliers were a necessary attribute of the interior in the style of Louis XV. The fashion for Venetian baroque chandeliers held steady until the end of the 18th century.

There were no special chemical nuances in the production of Murano glass. All technologies were borrowed from Byzantine and ancient masters. Nevertheless, it is worth paying tribute to the responsibility for the quality of materials. For maximum colorlessness and transparency, only high-quality raw materials were used, for the receipt of which they did not spare money and effort.

SEE ALSO: GIANT FLOOR LAMPS

In the modern world, Murano glass is still being produced. Recovery took place in the middle of the XIX century. And now you can become the owner of magnificent exhibits from this material. Busato Factory (Vetreria Artistica Busato) masterfully uses Murano glass in its collections. The Impressionism series combines the beauty of Venetian material with reference to famous artists of the genre.

The Italian factory Sylcom also uses Murano glass in its products. The luminaire series includes chandeliers, sconces, ceiling lights, and table lamps. The uniqueness and quality of the fixtures allow us to call the factory the real successor to the unique Murano glass technology.

The technology of Murano glass chandeliers production, born on the pages of history, successfully lives in our time. The quality and uniqueness of products continue to delight followers and new owners. 

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