About Murano Glass

Each piece of Murano glass that is magnificently hand - blown in Murano, Italy is an exquisite piece of art inspired by the iconic, centuries old craft.

In recent years, this symbolic Italian touchstone has been oft replicated, yet never to the incredible styles of its historical relevance. Katie Borghese has commissioned colors and styles similar to original pieces seen in some of Italy’s most impressive museums and private collections. Together with her personally selected Maestros (traditional Master Muranese glass makers) they have curated an outstanding selection of Murano styles that are reminiscent of Italy’s rich Italian history and culture.

Mrs. Borghese’s assortment of Murano glassware includes the two most popular styles of Murano available: the classic (or traditional) style and the Murrine style. The Murrine style is unique as it is formed by the organizing rods (cylinders of glass that are similar to balls of dough) in “bouquets.” It is then fired in a furnace where the glass melts and merges into the beautiful pieces of art. This technique guarantees that no two designs will ever be the same.

Each Moreno piece (both the traditional and Murrine) is marked with the Artistico Murano trademark, confirming its authenticity.


Artisans

When Francesca embarked upon her glorious Grand Tour of Europe in the 1600s, she took an unforgettable detour to Murano. An archipelago of islands north of Venice, Murano has been famous for its skilled glassmaking artisans since 1291. Upon meeting friends in Murano in the form of forcelanti, glass cutters, Francesca remarked that the Venetian glass was the most brilliant she had ever seen- the colors so vibrant and the glass so pure she felt as though she were seeing color for the first time.

Murano’s reputation as a center for glassmaking began in 1291, when the Venetian Republic ordered its glassmakers to move to the island, as glassmaking posed a threat to the wooden buildings of Venice. The Forcelanti (glass cutters) thrived in Murano, and within the following century they held a monopoly on quality glassmaking.

The Forcelanti perfected many technologies over the centuries, including crystalline glass, enameled glass (smalto), glass with threads of gold (aventurine), multicolored glass (millefiori, or thousand flowers), milk glass (lattimo), and imitation gemstones made of glass.

Today, some very exclusive designs, shapes, and colors belong only to a few forcelanti Masters who still protect the ancient secrets. 


My musings about Murano….

As cheap copies from the East continue to appear on the collectible fine-glass market, will the time-honored quality and intrinsic beauty of Murano glass triumph over the onslaught of inferior, fraudulent facsimiles?  Production costs for Murano glass have risen steadily over the past decade, along with shipping costs, as well.  It’s not easy to find young workers who are willing to stand in front of a super-heated furnace for twelve hours a day, and the Murano artisans whose skills hearken to past generations are aging out. The challenges of the EU’s financial conditions affect both tourism and manufacturing, and owners of Murano’s glassworks struggle to comply with EU health and environment regulations, often at great cost.

Romantic and beautiful, nearby Venice is a crowded tourist destination, while charming Murano beckons with offers of respite from the throngs.  Already, a high-end hotel chain has plans underway to convert a glassworks into elegant lodging, and another such conversion is being considered.  Will tourism edge out an age-old industry that has defined the region for hundreds of years?  If the tiny cameo “factories” near Naples are a credible barometer, we can hope, likewise, for the endurance of Murano’s  glass makers and their noble and fanciful creations, because Murano glass will always be desired and cherished by those who demand quality, pedigree, and provenance, despite scarcity or price.

Arrivederci,

Katie Borghese


Source:  Murano Pursues a Rennaissance, New York Times, By ELISABETTA POVOLEDO

Published: June 3, 2010