In a recent post, I discussed a bit of the history of lampworked beads, which are really a subcategory of the larger set of 'Venetion Glass Beads'. For centuries, glass beads made in Venice, Italy, have been among the highest quality beads on the world market. In addition to lampworked beads, this category includes silver-foiled or gold-foiled, chevrons, Murano, millefiori, and dichroic beads, all of which I'll discuss in future posts, and all of which have been exquisitely perfected by artisans through the ages and which continue to emerge and evolve through modern artistry. In the last 200 years, manufacturers and individual beadmakers are over the world have been borrowing Venetian, Murano, or similar techniques to create beautiful beads.
Our Etsy.com shop is currently promoting the lovely Murano heart bead shown here. See featured items at http://tinyurl.com/atcs2p3 and learn more about this specific item. I think Murano glass is particularly fascinating. Since the late 13th century, glassmakers on the island archipelago of Murano, near Venice, have developed and refined various types of glass: crystalline, enameled or smalto, aventurine (gold threads run through it), multicolored or illefiori, and milk or lattimo. According to The Illustrated Bead Bible (see my post on this great resource from a few months ago), these artisans have created chandeliers, imitation gemstones, and contemporary artworks among the best in the world. Their Murano beads are handmade from glass canes in the islands of Murano, Italy, in the Adriatic Sea. Glass furnaces were installed there after 1291, when they had been banned in nearby Venice because of the danger of fires. Authentic Murano beads today, such as the one shown here, are made by artisans in Murano who have use their ancient art to create gems that glow and sparkle. They are blown by mouth from the melted glass canes, in the furnaces of Murano.