Artistic glass in Murano
Glassmaking had already become an integral part of life in the Venetian lagoon in the 7th century B.C. Furthermore, after the year 1000 A.D. its production had become so important that it was protected by specific laws: the furnaces used to create the molten glass were a constant fire hazard in the narrow streets of Venice. As a consequence, all the glass workshops were moved to Murano where they are still located today.
It was here that eyeglasses were invented in the 13th century and here that, in 1369, mirrors began to be produced. It was also here that, in 1450, Angelo Barovier invented crystal. Glass was a rare commodity throughout the Renaissance: it was only in 1827 that production on an industrial level began. At that point, blown glass or glass produced by lampworking became a highly prized material used for artistic purposes, achieving its height of splendor during the Art Nouveau period. Artists including Lalique, Dammouse and Tiffany sought out the glassblowers of Murano to produce their famous works.
As a result of this experience, during the mid-20th century, real masters of the art began to emerge in Murano including Signoretto, Ballarin, Zanetti and Vidal. Their works are highly coveted objects, true collectors' items which are often displayed at museums.
Murano has numerous glass factories, several of which boast an age-old history (i.e. Barovier&Toso) or a list of particularly prestigious collaborations (i.e. Venini). Crafting authentic Murano glass is no easy task and does not come cheap. Large objects require hours of work, so don't expect to take your custom-made lamp home on the same day. Furthermore, each piece is unique meaning that small imperfections are an integral part of the value of the object. Finally, the island's glass factories are equipped to make safe deliveries anywhere in the world… ask your concierge!