Info: Murano Glass

6 Quick and Easy Steps to Making Your Own Genuine Murano Glass

Okay, so there aren't any easy ways to make genuine Murano glass. It's a process filled with historical traditions that takes a lot of time and skill. But if you really want to know how it happens, the following six steps should help you out a little bit:

  1. Move to Italy.
    It might be a tad inconvenient, but if you want to make genuine Murano glass, you need to be on the island of Murano, just off Venice, Italy. And you probably need to get adopted by a family there. Because traditionally only a few families have ever made real Murano glass. I'm sure your parents won't mind you switching families for something this urgent though.
  2. Get used to living in Italy.
    By this I don't mean adjust to living in Italy. I mean you need to get used to living there because in 1295 Venice banned its glassmakers from moving abroad. So just realize - once you move to Venice with the intention of making Murano glass, you're stuck. In the 1500s some glassmakers moved and gave away their secrets, and as a consequence nobody invited them to their crab-cake-and-Merlot Christmas parties anymore.
  3. Find a way to make glass real hot.
    3,000 degree Fahrenheit. This could take ingenuity. Glassmakers in Murano used to do this by blowing hard through a thin glass tube to oxygenate their oil lamps. Problem was, when you blow hard for too long, you get dizzy, and you don't want to be dizzy and playing with ultra-hot fires at the same time. So they invented better bellows for their lamps. You could either try to reinvent these bellows, or just get a hot, modern lampworking torch.
  4. Learn how to tie balloons.
    Not because it's an essential skill for glassmaking. It's just easier. If you can't get the hang of tying balloons that look like dogs and pirate swords and giraffes and octopuses, you won't be able to make intricate Murano glass beads that look like stars and hearts and flowers and leaves. And if you can't get the hang of balloons, you may want to consider a career as a gondolier. Because you're still not getting out of Venice.
  5. Get a hold of a lot of gold and silver.
    This was easier back in the days when you could still steal it from Spanish galleons, but I'm sure anybody with a pinch of entrepreneurial zest will manage. Once you've acquired your treasure trove, you'll want to hammer it into really flat sheets. Then start sticking it in the glass you make. It gives the beads a nice shine.
  6. Learn how to spell Millefiori.
    Because you'll have a thousand customers every day asking you for it. It refers to a technique in which the glassmaker sticks rods of colored glass into the molten glass being shaped. When it cools, these rods look like little flowers in the glass. You may want to learn this technique yourself. Otherwise you'll run out of spaghetti money.

So, okay, it's not that easy to make genuine Murano glass. But it is possible to buy Murano glass jewelry, which is one of the hottest looks right now. So life might be a bit rough for all you die-hard do-it-yourselfers, but for the rest of us, all is certainly not lost.

Pugster, Inc., Jewelers  Retail, Pasadena, CA