A beginner’s Guide to Collecting Murano Glass !
Welcome to the world of Murano Glass collecting!Murano glass has a lot to offer the collector, a long lineage of artists dating back to the 12th century to the current maestri living and working in Murano, Venice. Collecting Murano glass also offers a collector a broad range of expressing their collecting whims, from traditional replicas of antique drinking glasses and 18th century chandeliers to more modern Picasso inspired art glass. All of this is bound together by a medium that has become much more popular, glass.
Where do I Start?
One of the best ways to learn about Murano Glass is to visit a collection or search the web, and do some research on the Internet about the pieces and styles of Murano Glass that you find most attractive. Search your desires and figure what types of glass you like, traditional or more modern art inspired? Is there a particular artist or style of glass working that you admire? Do you like millefiori? Paperweights? Figurines? Sculptures? One of the appeals of glass collecting in general is the many unique and ingenious methods used to create different designs and effects. After a short while you should be able to ascertain which type of design or technique of glass working you favor and move your collection in that direction.
Buying Murano Glass
It is always best to buy authentic Murano Glass pieces, as they are more valuable, and it’s always nice
to know that your piece was created with care by the Italian masters. Unfortunately much of the Murano Glass on the internet is “Murano Style” which generally, means that it was made somewhere other than Murano, usually in Asia or Brazil. Authentic Murano Glass is a much higher quality, and after growing used to collecting Murano glass, you will be able to identify authentic Murano Glass at a glance.
However, over the Internet, things are often not what they seem, and you cannot easily inspect the item you are interested in. What it comes down to is the reputation and honest of the retailer. Have they been selling Murano glass for a while? Do they have a good reputation? Do they sell only Murano glass or a little of everything, including Murano Glass? How long have they been in business? Do they offer a generous return policy?
Promovetro the consortium of Glass Blowers in Venice is trying to stem the flood of counterfeit imports from Asia. A difficult to counterfeit label on the glass identifies which furnace made the item by using a numeric system. For more information on this initiative, visit their website for a list of member companies, and their identification numbers of each furnace. This new image is beginning to replace the gold foil oval “Made in Murano, Italy” familiar to so many.
Buying Pre-Owned Murano Glass
We recommend that collectors investing a sizable sum of money, buy from reputed retailer or gallery, and ask for a certificate of authenticity showing the date of production and artists information. However for
the beginner, it is not necessary to jump right into collecting headfirst. It is more realistic if you ease into collecting by learning all you can about the art and start small. A great resource for collecting vintage Murano Glass is eBay! Very often you can find pieces ranging from sculptures to jewelry, but again, make sure what you are purchasing is authentic Murano glass, with no “flea bites” or miniscule nicks , and attributable to a particular furnace. Beware of “Murano Style” glass, as it is not authentic. Once collecting glass gets in your blood, you will want to learn all you can about the different techniques of glass blowing and
how each technique is used to create a different result. You will begin to realize that you favor some techniques over others, and seek the company or artist that have made this technique their signature style.
Collecting Historic Murano Glass Many people purchase Murano glass for its aesthetic value, but also for its historical art significance. During the mid century period from the 1940′s through the 1960′s when Murano Art Glass was at its height, much of the glass from this era is sought after; especially from the more well know furnaces such as Venini. Many books address this type of Murano Glass, and it is typically sold by galleries.
Consider joining the free Murano Glass Forum, where you can post pictures and ask questions about your newly acquired collection!
In closing, collecting Murano is a rewarding hobby, which can be passed on from generation to generation much like the techniques and traditions of the Murano Maestro!
Jena and Charlie