Murano Glass- many makers, many eras

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Murano Glass is very popular with collectors, and there is a great deal to learn about this glassware. The term is applied to glass which comes from the island of Murano, which forms part of the city of Venice, Italy. The development of the secrets of glass making was so important from the 15th to the 19th century, glassblowers were not permitted to leave the city. One of the results of this is that there are a number of families who have been making glass for generations and the current companies have often been formed by the descendants of those originals. It is worthwhile doing a search for company names to look for the types of glass that you are interested in, and the era in which it was made. The chunky glass of the 1960s which is so popular at the moment was largely made as Tourist pieces- souvenirs of travel- and there are many Asian reproductions masquerading as Murano, so research carefully. These two are some of the bright pieces from the island:

Try looking for specific manufacturers such as Barbini, Seguso, Fratelli Toso or Cenedese, if you are interested in antique or retro glass wares. Learn the names of particular designers, such as "Dino" Martens, Gio Ponti, or Lino Tagliapietra- all of whom designed in different eras- so research is again important. It is also important to realise that Murano glass is still being made today, and that there are many styles which are contemporary and beautiful. Many of these will become the collectors pieces of tomorrow. Sometimes collectors look for pieces with aventurine, the golden flecks of pyrites which flash - as in the amethyst vase below- or for the unusual lustre finishes - as in the white opaline vase.

It is also important to know that there are actually three centres of glass production in Italy: Venice, Florence and around Naples. Each makes different kinds of glassware. Florentine glass is often decorated and elegant; the glass from Naples is the most commonly found dinnerware.

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