The story behind Murano glass
Italian glass art has gained a very special reputation over time. Murano in particular is a word that is on everyone's lips, but not many can fully explain what is being referred to. So let's start from the beginning.
Murano is an island group consisting of 7 islands in the Venetian lagoon. The 7 islands are connected by bridges, but are not connected to Venice. Murano glass is thus the glass art produced on these islands.
Venetian glassblowers have over time become known for their special techniques, the high quality of their glass art and their ability to incorporate gold and silver flakes into the different layers of the glass.
While the glassblowers in the region around Venice have been working with glass since the year 800, it was only in the 14th century that they were forced, by law, to move to the Murano islands. This was mandated because the glassblowing factories most often caught fire, so to reduce the risk of these fires spreading to surrounding buildings and businesses in Venice, all factories were moved to the islands of the Venetian lagoon. Hence it came to be called Murano glass.
Today, Murano glass is still produced on the islands, but unfortunately many of the old characteristics have been lost in the modernization of glass art. That is why there is a difference between vintage and newly produced Murano glass.
How do I identify Murano glass?
When it comes to identifying Murano glass, there are a few good tips that we here at Farveladeland ourselves follow and which make it easier to identify whether you are dealing with a product from the Murano islands or not.
The imperfect Murano glass
When you are in the market for Murano glass, you can use your senses to see and feel the product. Both vintage and newly produced Murano glass is all handmade, which results in it having small imperfections such as air bubbles or asymmetrical patterns.
When the glassblower has to fuse the colors in the glass, he will typically blow the glass to the individual colors individually before these are stored in the layers of the glass. During this process, air bubbles will be trapped between the different layers and a good indicator that you are therefore dealing with glass from the Murano islands is to look carefully to see if you can identify these small imperfections in the glass.
Another characteristic that characterizes much of the Murano glass that is found around today is that since it is handmade and thus each individual piece of glass will have its own details. A good example is the Murano wall lamp below - if you look, it's asymmetrical as its center is offset and a uneven in its pattern. Furthermore, the swirl that encircles the center point does not have smooth lines as it closes in towards the center. What we at Farveladeland often see in the wall lamps in particular is precisely that the center of the swirl is not quite centrally located on the lamp and the pattern can therefore also vary.
Vintage Murano peacock wall lamp 30cm
As a rule of thumb, all old vintage Murano glass is produced in a select few colors which are all delicate and subdued. Of these, you will typically find the classic white, blue, yellow or pink Murano glass, which especially characterizes the many Murano lamps that have been produced over time.
Classic vintage Murano glass colors
On the contrary, bolder and stronger colors are used to a much greater extent in the newly produced Murano glass. The strong and clear colors give the glass a fresh and lively expression which, to the trained eye, is something you can spot. In addition to the strong color, these are also often stored on top of each other, which means that the glasses typically have several colors and clear depictions.
Newly produced Murano glass
Gold and silver flakes
Unlike many other glass artists, the glassblowers on the Murano islands have taken the incorporation of gold and silver flakes into the glass art to themselves. When you are looking for Murano glass, you can therefore advantageously use this as an indicator of whether you are dealing with original Murano glass or not.
Vintage Murano clam table lamp with silver mica
In addition to the many glassblowers on Murano having refined and individualized their style keeping with tradition, they also needed to be able to individualize their glass art with stickers representing the factory in which the glass piece was produced. When you look at pictures of Murano glass or find something in a market that you think might be from there, look for a small sticker that says Murano on it. These will rarely be the same, as there is a different version depending on which glass factory produced it, but is a sure sign that you are dealing with original Murano glass. Unfortunately, it happens that the owners of Murano glass peel off the sticker, as it is not always put in the most appropriate places - therefore you cannot rule out standing with an original piece of Murano glass just because there is no sticker!
Vintage Murano giant mushroom lamp
Types of Murano glass
When people talk about Murano glass, they typically refer to vases, table lamps, wall lamps, ceiling lamps and other glasswork produced on the Murano islands in the Venetian lagoon. This glass art follows the custom and tradition that has been fostered over several centuries among precisely these selected glassblowers. Later, Murano became a brand, which is why only glass produced on the Murano Islands must be marketed as such.
New or old
When you are looking for Murano glass, you must first be aware of whether you are looking for old or newly produced Murano glass.
Newly produced Murano glass
When it comes to the newly produced Murano glass, it has, in contrast to the vintage glass, a more complete finish. You will therefore find less obvious imperfections on these types of glass products than on vintage items. There are, for example, far less bubbles or other small production defects in the glass. The reason for this is, among other things, that the technique has been refined further and has become more exact, which also means that the lamps do not have the small characteristics that make them unique to the same extent. Among the newly produced Murano glass, you will also find several versatile and vibrant colors.
Vintage Murano glas
The beautiful old Murano glass produced back in the 20th century is contrary to the newly produced glass, more calm in and elegant in its expression. The glassblowing technique used means that you can often feel the pattern in the glass when you run your hand over its surface, just as you can feel that the glass is dull around the edges where the glasspipe left its scar. Vintage Murano glass is therefore also more graceful (if you ask us) as all the small imperfections help to make each piece of glass completely unique. At Farveladeland, we only sell Vintage Murano glass. The ambition with Farveladeland has from the very beginning tried to fight overproduction. We want to show you that there are so many beautiful and unique things that you can advantageously introduce into your home instead of buying newly produced items. According to us, the vintage glass art gives a more personal touch and, with its soul and beautiful presence, can fit perfectly into both large and small homes.
Find our selection of vintage Murano lamps here
Murano ceiling lamps
As for the ceiling lamps, they come in many different shapes and colors. When you have to decide which Murano ceiling lamp is perfect for you, consider in which room it will hang, how high your ceiling is and whether it should hang in the middle of the room, above a dining table or in the corner. Most often, with the Murano ceiling lamps, you have the opportunity to adjust how high or low they should hang by adjusting the wire you get with it. The mount that comes with the Murano ceiling lamps is most often placed on a hook in the ceiling and the cord can then be led to the lamp from the nearest eletrical outlet or socket.
The Murano ceiling lamps can come in different shapes depending on whether you prefer a ceiling lamp with an open base or a glass ball. It is, among other things, also in this category you will find the classic white vintage Murano ceiling lamp with swirl. Finally, it is most often this type of Murano lamp that we at Farveladeland find with the Murano sticker on it.
See our collection of vintage Murano ceiling lamps here
Murano wall lamps
Murano wall lamps or Murano 'plafoniera' as they are also called are a hemisphere with a base in white or brass which is individually mounted on the wall with screws, after which the half glass sphere is mounted on a base with 3-4 screws which grip the mouthpiece of the lamp. The Murano wall lamps come in many colors and sizes, but the most common size is with a diameter of between 30 and 40 centimeters. Furthermore, they are typically found with a single E27 socket, but can sometimes also be found with 2-3 sockets if the diameter is large enough to accommodate it.
The Murano wall lamp was originally produced as a ceiling lamp, but is mostly used on the wall in the Nordics. However, we ourselves have a couple in the ceiling of our kitchen, where we have a lower ceiling and therefore cannot have a pendant hanging. This type of lamp is therefore more versatile. Use it in the entrance hall, next to the bed, in the bathroom or integrate it into a picture wall. The base is mounted completely flat on the wall or in the ceiling, which means that the lamp itself does not take up too much space in the room and is therefore ideal for narrow corridors or low-ceilinged rooms or possibly as bedside lamps. In any case, we have found two wonderful vintage Murano wall lamps with a pink swirl for our bedroom.
The wall lamps are most often found with a classic white swirl and we are sometimes lucky and can find them with a Murano sticker on them.
Find our collection of vintage Murano wall lamps here
Murano table lamps
The Murano table lamps come both as classic table lamps where they have a lampshade mounted on top - alternatively, in this category of Murano glass you will also find the well-known and popular Murano mushroom lamps which are often open at either the top or the bottom. The Mushroom lamps are designed in one whole piece of glass and typically come in a size between 18 and 45 cm. While the smaller Murano mushroom lamps typically come with a single E14 socket, there are also versions with as many as 2 E27 sockets which can be lit in both the base (lower part) and in the shade (upper part), both of which are in a single piece of glass.
Find our collection of vintage Murano mushroom lamps here
There are many different types of glass art, but the same for all is that they share the same characteristics from the glasswork factories on the Murano islands. As for vases, they are available in many different shades, with some incorporating color throughout the glass, while other vases have the color sealed behind transparent glass. When you are looking for Murano vases, you can also use your senses to your advantage. The vases to typically feel substantial and heavy. This helps to give the vases a massive feel and make them unshakable once you have given them their place in the home.
Find our collection of vintage Murano vases here