Which Techniques Are Used To Make Murano Glass?

For its delicate precision and stunning colour schemes, Venetian glass is highly sought after by collectors worldwide. Before the 10th century, Venice was home to a thriving glass-blowing industry. To protect the wood-framed buildings of Venice, authorities decided to relocate the glass furnaces to the island of Murano, which sits in the Venetian lagoon.

Since Murano Island and its glass art are essentially cut off from most of the country due to geography or design, the island's glass maestros have had plenty of time to experiment with design and colouration. In doing so, they have developed many unique and complex techniques that have helped to establish the island's reputation. Let's take a look at some of those techniques.

1. Aventurine

Aventurine, one of the most prominent Murano Glass methods, is defined by its unique beauty of sparkling particles trapped inside the translucent glass. To use the old Aventurine technique in jewellery and art glass, artisans have modernised the process to make it more efficient and easier to work with.

When glass is hot, metal flakes are inserted and fused into the surface. Cooling the glass gradually creates a beautiful shine. Afterward, it's blown into the desired forms. Metal particles embedded in the glass provide the pieces with a unique appearance.

2. Bullicante

There are numerous examples of the "bullicante" effect in Murano, one of the world's most famous glassmaking processes. A thick layer of glass is used in this process. The vitreous wall is covered with a grid of air bubbles, which are layered on top of one another.

Using the blowpipe, this material is then dragged across the surface, creating tiny depressions in a consistent pattern. Several repetitions of this method are necessary to expose multiple bubble layers.


A Murano Glass table

3. Calcedonia

For the first time since Roman times, Calcedonio glassmaking was rediscovered on Italy's Venetian island of Murano. It was in the late 19th century that Murano glassblower Lorenzo Radi unearthed the technique's secrets.

Murano glassblowers utilise this method to colour their glass. Smelting specific compounds onto hot glass yields stunning Caledonia striations. Even the artists have no say in the final design, which makes it unique.

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