Murano glass pendants

A selection of Murano glass pendants handpicked from small family businesses in Venice. Intricate patterns and vibrant colours created with Millefiori beads.

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Murano glass pendants

Murano island, located a short boat ride from Venice, Italy, has been famous for its intricate glassmaking for centuries. There are many intriguing stories of how they tried to safeguard their techniques. Even to the point of Venetian mirror makers smuggled to France by Louix XIV to decorate the Palace of Versailles and then only to be murdered to keep the secret! …But, we better not get side tracked and just stick to the story of Millefiori beads.

Millefiori is Italian for a thousand flowers and is a reference to the often flowerlike designs of the beads.

The Millefiori technique starts with the production of glass canes or rods. On the outside these rods are plain looking and it is only from the cut ends that you can see their beautiful and intricate patterns.

The rods are made by applying one layer of coloured glass on top of each other and moulded to achieve a certain shape. The rod is then pulled thin, cooled, and sliced cross-sectionally to produce small disks revealing the designs, also called murrine.

The making of a Millefiori rod

Millefiori glass rods

To create the pendants, the murrine are placed within a mould for the overall shape and each murrine arranged individually to create the desired pattern. The moulds are placed into a hot furnace where the murrine will start bonding and creating a continuous Millefiori surface with no gaps.

The making of a Millefiori pendant

It is an intricate and time consuming process but the scope of creativity is endless.

The YouTube videos are used with thanks to Glass Of Venice and Corning Museum of Glass.

Millefiori glass beads