Murano glass has been made in Murano since the late 13th century – 1291 AD to be exact. With so many fakes on the market, how do you know that your Murano Glass is 100% authentic? When you look back in history, glass blowing in Italy in fact dates right back to the 7th century but it’s real popularity and the beginning of its immense worldwide reputation for artistic brilliance and sheer beauty really began in 1291. The then King of Italy was so concerned that the increasing number of furnaces operating on Murano would become a threat to the city, as almost all of the houses and buildings were made from wood. The King then made a royal decree that all furnaces must be relocated to Venice to protect the city from the threat of fire.
Shortly after this, the word about the incredible glass being made on Murano began to filter out to the rest of the world. The King then became concerned that the secrets and incredible reputation that Murano Glass had achieved around the world might leave the island. So the King then banned all travel to and from the Island of Murano to protect this incredible asset and the incredible world of glass that is Murano was born.
The Chinese in particular have seized on this and have attempted to tap into this incredible market by producing fakes in astonishing numbers. So let me now give you some tips on how to ensure that the glass you are buying is indeed 100% authentic and made in Venice.
Ask for the VAM or Vetreria Artistica Murano certification number of the company who produced the item you are looking at purchasing. Not all furnaces on Murano carry this certification.
Genuine Murano glass has a clarity and sheer artistic presence that is unmistakable. Cheap Chinese fakes are clumsily made, lack any depth of colour and are quite often lighter in weight than authentic Murano glass pieces.
Look for the Pontil mark on the base. All Murano glass will either have a distinctive ground Pontil mark. Ground flat bases are generally not Murano although again, this is not always the case.
ALL authentic Murano glass will carry either a label, diamond etched signature if made by a Studio artist such as Gianluca Vidal. Beware of items that carry acid etched signatures as these can sometimes be faked also.
Get to know the styles and production methods used by Murano glass makers such as Avventurine, Sommerso, Filigrana, Latticino etc. Only by handling or viewing authentic Murano glass, will you get to know what is right and what is wrong when it comes to identifying the fakes.
Look for distinctive expansion lines or bubbles on the glass. These lines are created as the glass is worked and expanded under heat leaving distinctive lines in the glass similar to what you would see in a tree trunk.
Almost all the cheap mass-produced glass made in China especially jewellery and beads are all made in molds so the visible expansion lines simply aren’t visible due to being mass-produced.
Items made anywhere else but in Murano Venice or mainland Italy are SIMPLY NOT MURANO GLASS. Only items that have been produced in Murano Italy are the real deal. No Murano glass is made in China so everybody based in China stating they are selling lots of 4000 Murano glass beads for 700 USD or so is IMPOSSIBLE. To give you some sort of guide, if the 4000 beads were indeed genuine and indeed made in Murano, you would need to consider 2 factors. The style and technique used to make the beads in question, and the size and complexity of the design. i can safely assure you that if these were genuine, a base price for these if they were made in Murano would be from $4000 USD upwards – this is the very bare minimum so you can see what I mean.