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Millefiori: A Gorgeous Explosion of Color

Posted by Heath Rosenzweig on

millefiori murano glass venice murano designs

When we talk about Murano glass, the first thing that comes to mind is the stunning millefiori pieces. Whether used in a pendant, a plate, or a vase, millefiori is strongly associated with the Murano style, and interior designers, art collectors, and the general public covet it, flocking to Murano in pursuit of the perfect piece.

What is millefiori?

The term millefiori is a combination of the Italian words mille (which means thousand) and fiori (which means flowers). Apsley Pellatt, an English glass manufacturer, coined the term in the 1840s. From above, a Murano glass piece with millefiori techniques almost looks like an aerial view of a field of blooming flowers.

Also known as mosaic beads, the unique shapes and colors characteristic of millefiori glass involves the production of glass rods known as murrine. The pattern created by the glassmaker is only visible when the rod is cooled and cut into beads or discs. These discs are then formed into the desired shape using a copper frame, and placed into the oven overnight.

The history of millefiori

Millefiori is one of the oldest known Murano glass techniques, with pieces featuring millefiori dating back to the Ancient Roman era. Back then, they were known as mosaic beads and were used to make cups, vases, and jewelry.

By the 18th century, glassmakers from other parts of Europe, such as England and France, gained notoriety, and the demand for Murano glass pieces declined. A little more than a century later, Murano glass returned to the spotlight, and classic techniques were revived, including millefiori.

These days, most tourists that visit the Murano region in Venice look forward to visiting the town’s glassware shops to take home a millefiori souvenir. The unique shapes and colors of each piece tell the story of the glassmaking house that made it.

Are you looking to capture the magic of Murano glass? Make sure to visit our store to pick up something beautiful to brighten your home.

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