Murano An Island of Glass
Murano Island - A Glassmaker's Paradise Since 1291, this tiny Venetian island has been the home of Venice's glassmaking industry. Glass production was moved to Murano Island from the main part of Venice because its production posed quite a fire hazard. ( The buildings in Venice were constructed mostly of wood at this period in history and the extreme heat that is required to make glass liquid so as to mold and shape it obviously caused the Venetians some concern.)
Soon enough, Murano Island became quite a hot spot for glass production indeed. Glassmaking has quite an exalted tradition in Venice. It is an art form, after all. In the 14th century, the daughters of Murano's biggest glassmaking families were allowed to marry into the Venetian nobility. This is quite a high honor indeed. Artisans were also allowed to carry swords and enjoyed immunity from prosecution which was indeed a significant rarity in the Venetian city state of the High Middle Ages and the Early Renaissance. During later centuries, Venetians would begin to build vacation homes on Murano Island because the fire from the kilns which was used to make glass was deemed to provide healthy benefits.
Since 1291, the Murano glassmakers have refined technologies such as crystalline glass, enamelled glass (smalto), glass with threads of gold (aventurine), multicoloured glass (millefiori), milk glass (lattimo) and imitation gemstones made of glass producing beads and glasswork unmatched anywhere in the world. Most Murano beads are made using an air pump burner lampworking or torch and mandrel technique, once the mandrel was made by using an iron rod covered with a release material stuck on the top of the rod, now a day a copper tube took his place.The copper tube helps to make many other different shapes than once.
The lamp-work method is the most time consuming method of glass beadmaking as each bead must be formed individually. Using a torch for heat, Murano glass rods and tubes are heated to a molten state and wrapped around a metal rod until the desired shape is achieved. Several layers of different colored glass as well as gold and silver leaf are used to produce the desired effect. After the bead is slowly cooled, it is removed from the rod which produces a hole for eventual stringing.
We invite you to browse our huge selection of Murano Glass and Silver Beads at Nicol Street Pawnbrokers, 124 Nicol Street, Nanaimo 7 days a week!