Frequently Asked Questions regarding Murano Glass Jewelry

Below are some questions which we frequently receive regarding Venetian and Murano Glass Jewelry. If there are other questions you have on our please submit your question through the Contact Us at the top of each page.

What is the difference between Venetian Beads and Murano Beads?
There is no difference. The glass used to make the beads originates in Murano. However, Venetian Glass has been used to describe the glass coming from Murano for centuries and since Venice is much more widely known than the island of Murano, people continue to refer to it as Venetian Glass, Venetian Jewelry. So beads and jewelry made from beads produced in Murano are sold in the stores in San Marco (the famous square in Venice) as Venetian Glass. It's a matter of marketing terms and that Venice is much wider known than Murano. When the furnaces were moved from Venice to Murano in 1291, the Venetians were specifically granted by the Doge the right to make beads and other small glass objects.

What are the beads made of?
They are about 70% silica (sand). Venetian beads are made from a type of glass known as soda glass with a COE of 104 degrees which is a measurement of the expansion in heating and cooling. The beads start with glass rods which have been made in Murano. All of our beads are made from the famous Moretti Canes who make filigrana canes, millefiori canes and the solids and translucent colors (now Effetre Industriale).

Will they break easily?
Think of marbles you may have played with as a child. The round beads are quite sturdy. The longer skinny beads and shapes with points or delicate designs are more fragile. As with all jewelry it is best to treat it gently and since it is glass, well it can break.

Why is it called Lampwork?

It is called lumè in Italian and means that the beads were worked over a flame. Today the flame is supplied by natural gas to generate the heat required to melt the glass. Many traditional beadmakers continue to use the gas alone, while some have acquired newer torches which mix gas and oxygen to produce a higher heat. Different heats are required to make certain beads. Our section called "Lampwork" are made at a heat of about 200 degrees hotter as it allows for detail work, while the beads such as our fish beads and beads with gold exterior require a lower heat so to prevent burning of the gold.

What gives the beads their sparkle?
Avventurina which is a colored glass containing irridescent particles, usually copper or chrome, crystallized from the coloring agent used in the glass. The crystallizing process occurs during a lengthy cooling of the molten glass in a special glass vessel. The process was accidentally discovered on Murano about 1610-25 and the family aquired an exclusive arrangement to produce this decorative discovery. Early documents also refer to avventurina as pasta stellaria. 

What is used in Gold Foil and Silver Foil Beads?
Small squares of tissue thin gold foil 24kt gold and .925 sterling silver are used. The whitegold foils is known in Venice as "Platino" and is the same as in jewelry, it is an alloy of gold and other white metals. This the same type foil which is used in applying to statues, architecture and other gold decorated items. The bead is started on the mandrel and then quickly this molten small center of the bead is rolled over the tissue thin foil. A final coat of clear of molten translucent glass completes the bead. Because the gold is inside the bead, it will not peel or chip away.

NOTE: Beads with the gold exterior simply do not have the final coat of clear glass and with time and wear some of the gold or silver will wear off. This is not a defect, it just enhances the overall effect of the bead and is normal.

How do you care for Glass Beaded Jewelry?
Soap and water work quite well for glass to clean it. No need for stronger solutions. Like all jewelry with metal components, it is best not to swim in chlorinated water and leave your jewelry on the dresser when you bath.

What is considered normal variation in Murano Glass Beads?

Like carpet or paint, each batch can be slightly different in shading. The beads are all handmade and as such the exact measurements vary

California Prop 65 (The below provided by Swarovski™ relating to the settlement by the lead manufacturers in the 1990s.)

Attention California residents. Proposition 65 Warning: 
Consuming foods or beverages that have been kept or served in leaded crystal products or handling products made of leaded crystal will expose you to lead-a chemical known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. You may return this product for a full refund within 30 days of receipt.