Whenever they think about Murano glass jewelry, most women and girls admit that they evoke the image of the elegant, sophisticated and intricate Murano glass pendant that has grown so popular among the weaker sex these days. Always in high demand along with beaded necklaces and bracelets, as well as contemporary lines of delicate rings and earrings, Murano glass pendants epitomize the finest qualities and traits of Venetian glassmaking. |
Let’s now immerse ourselves into the world of Murano glass and unravel some of the mysteries of glassmaking by seeing what it takes to bring a glass pendant into existence the traditional way.
Fundamental Techniques Employed to Create a Murano Glass Pendant
Like many other similar jewelry items, Murano glass pendants stem from slender rods or canes of multicolored glass called Murrine. To create a pendant, the artisan intertwines and fuses together multiple slices of Murrine to form a single, elaborate piece. Because when adjoined, the colorful glass rods make it easy for the artisan to mimic complex floral patterns in resulting pieces of jewelry, the technique bears the name “millefiori”, or “thousand flowers”.
The use of Murrine rods and Millefiori is not limited to producing only jewelry – archeological findings have revealed that the same manufacturing methods were employed to create early period objects such as bowls and vases, some of them dating back from Ancient Roman, Phoenician and Alexandrine times.
Some of the earliest historical references to Murrine can be found in old chronicles, most notably in Pliny the Elder’s book of Natural History, which describes all the methods of art production popular at the time. Murrine and Millefiori only resurfaced by the 16th century, when Venetian glassmakers gleaned and detailed them in writing along with other techniques, later adapting them so that they could create finer, frailer glassware, such as the now widely popular Murano glass pendant.
Creating a Murano Glass Pendant
To obtain intricate Millefiori designs, artisans cover each glass rod with multiple layers of different colored glass, inserting the piece repeatedly into a furnace so the sheets fuse together permanently. Later, they reheat the rod and pull it until it becomes very thin, while making sure that the original design contained within remains unaltered. When the rod cools off, the artisans cut it into small discs, patiently placing each one into metal rings of various shapes and sizes.
The resulting designs, which can take the shape of hearts, crosses or simple circles, later undergo yet another trip into the furnace. The rough pendant is then ground and polished to a shine, which emphasizes the beautiful underlying glass mosaic within. Each creation only becomes complete once it is encased in a gold or silver setting – besides complementing its effect, the setting helps transform each design into a precious piece of jewelry.
Pictures can only capture a small glimpse of the beauty of authentic Murano glass pendants. To witness the true splendor of such items, you need to view them in real life, and to make the most of their aesthetic effect, you should wear them in really bright light.
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