Italian glass, produced on the island of Murano and in Venice itself, is known throughout for world for its purity and quality. Collectors appreciate the brilliant colour and purity of the glass.
The glassmakers in Murano have closely guarded their secret recipes and procedures handing these down from generation to generation. It is possible that the true reason the Doge (govenor) of Venice moved all the glassmakers onto the island of Murano in 1291 was to isolate them and prevent foreigners from gaining this knowledge and not because of the danger of a fire destroying Venice.
The purity of the glass enables the lampworker to produce a bead with unparalleled quality and colour. Effetre/Moretti is a soda-lime based glass. I enjoy using Murrini/millefiori (meaning “a thousand flowers”) in my beads. Made in Murano, layer upon layer of colour is added to a glass rod until the desired pattern has been formed, for example a flower. This very thick cane is then repeatedly heated and pulled into thinner canes and cut into tiny slices which can be inserted inside the bead and covered with a transparent layer of glass.
Essential items are a torch to melt the coloured rods; a kiln to anneal the beads; mandrels on which to form the beads and various tools to manipulate the glass. One can decorate beads using frit (crushed glass); pure silver; Murrini/millefiori; handpulled patterned stringers made by the lampworker.
I use a torch which burns a mixture of oxygen and gas. I wind the glass onto a metal rod which has been coated in bead release to prevent the glass sticking permanently to the rod. I form the shape, decorate the bead and cool it in a fibre blanket until it is put into the kiln for annealing, which removes all the stress from the glass and produces a high quality bead.
Our beads are used in our range of jewellery; tableware and gifts.