Murano or Venetian Glass Jewellery by Firefrost

The Murano glass beads that we use in our jewellery are also known as Venetian glass beads or Murano glass pearls. They are made by hand using a technique developed centuries ago. All our Murano glass beads are made by individual Artisan bead makers (usually women) in small studios usually in their back yard. You can see one of them at work making Murano glass beads for us at Firefrost if you click the photo below. It is fascinating to watch.

Gold or Silver leaf is layered around a clear glass core to create what the glass makers call the ‘soul’ of the bead. They are then covered with coloured glass. This lining adds depth and shine. As they are made by hand, each bead is unique in its depth of colour and the way it catches and reflects light.

Glass making in Venice can be traced back to the 7th century. In 1291 all the glassmakers of the city were moved (for fear of fire) to the small island of Murano a mile away across the lagoon. Here the glassmaking industry developed rapidly, and its secrets were fiercely protected. A glassmaker who leaked secrets to foreigners, or tried to leave Venice without permission, would be punished harshly.

Murano glass rods used to make the beads

Glass rods on Murano ready to make the beads

Murano glass is now the most highly prized in the world. The descendants of the families who moved to the island in the 13th century, craft objects of great beauty and value, using techniques developed over hundreds of years.

Venetian glass beads date back to the time of Marco Polo. He returned from China with a stock of beautiful beads of great value. The artisans of Venice immediately set out to reproduce them in glass.

In the early 1700s the glass makers developed techniques of adding metal to the beads to create extra sparkle and shine.

We source our beads from a number of small artisan bead makers in Venice and on the island of Murano.