6 Masterful Techniques of Murano Glass Creations

Step into the captivating world of Murano glass, where centuries-old craftsmanship and innovative techniques converge to create breathtaking masterpieces. As the daughter of Jean-Marc Fray, I had the privilege of accompanying my father and uncle on a remarkable journey to Murano. There, amidst the flickering furnaces and skilled artisans, I witnessed the magic unfold. Join me as we embark on a voyage through time and explore the historical significance and intricacies of the techniques that shape the exquisite beauty of Murano glass.

  1. Avventurina

Let us begin with Avventurina, a technique that dates back to the seventeenth century. Legend has it that a Murano glassmaker accidentally dropped copper fragments into molten glass, leading to the discovery of a captivating effect. By intentionally adding metal oxides, like copper and iron, to the hot glass mixture, these particles crystallize as the glass cools. This resulting in a mesmerizing and shimmering effect, reminiscent of a starry night sky. Avventurina adds depth and enchantment to the glass, transforming each piece into a unique and captivating work of art.

Authentic Italian Venetian Murano “Losanghe” Mirror Authentic Italian Black And Avventurina Murano Glass VasesAuthentic Italian Murano Glass Purple Avventurina Lamps

2. Battuto

During the 1930s, Murano glassmakers embraced the Battuto technique, breathing new life into their creations. This cold-working finishing treatment involves using a grinding wheel to mark the glass surface with irregular overlapping patterns. The varying depths of the grindings create a textured effect resembling the scales of fish or the craftsmanship of hammered metal. As light dances across the glass, the play of shadows and reflections unveils a captivating visual symphony that adds a touch of sophistication and intrigue to the finished piece.

Pair of murano glass bowls made of hand-blown glass in a smoked color. They have been crafted in the ferro battuto technique and are signed by Seguso.Set of three Murano glass vases in the manner of Tobia Scarpa. The set has been made using the “battuto” or hammered technique. They are in a beautiful emerald tone. The measurements listed are for the tallest vase. The measurements for all three are listed below.Trio of Murano Glass bottles from the Island of Murano outside of Venice, Italy. This set is made using the “Ferro Battuto” technique in the Manner of Carlo Scarpa.

3. Pulegoso

The innovative spirit of Murano glassmakers is embodied in the Pulegoso technique. Developed in the early twentieth century, it involves adding substances like petrol to the molten glass, causing it to boil and fuse countless irregular air bubbles together. The trapped bubbles create a sense of movement and vitality within the glass, akin to capturing the effervescence of a fleeting moment. The resulting piece becomes a testament to the skill and creativity of the artisans, delighting the eye with its dynamic and organic character.

Italian Murano Glass Lamp. Made of hand-blown rich, thick glass with the “pulegoso” and “specchiato” techniques. The amethyst Murano glass spheres feature air bubbles caught in the glass during the fusion process and the glass is lined with Mercury which gives it a reflective quality. This piece has been newly wired to fit US standards. Set of murano glass vases. These hand blown pieces are from the studio of Alberto Dona. The unique flute shape is quite eye catching. There are two blue vases, two green vases, and a mercury silver pulegoso vase.  

4. Murrine

Among the most intricate techniques employed by Murano glassmakers is Murrine, an art form that originated in ancient Rome and reached its zenith in the sixteenth century. Murrine involves repeatedly dipping a central glass rod into different colored layers of molten glass. Once cooled, the resulting rod is sliced into thin cross-sections, revealing intricate patterns and designs within the glass. These miniature works of art are then embedded into molten glass, where they are carefully blown or sculpted into the final piece. Murrine showcases the artists’ mastery of precision and their ability to transform glass into a canvas for intricate storytelling.

Vintage Murano glass “murrine” vase made by artisans in Italy. This hand-blown piece of art features the “murrine” technique - colorful images made in glass cane that are revealed when the cane is cut into cross sections. The vase is then finished with a gray “incamiciato” layer.Murano glass vase. This piece is hand-blown glass with striking colors and murrine technique. We love the organic movement of the pattern and details. 

5. Rostrato

Our favorite technique at Jean-Marc Fray…Developed by the esteemed glassblower Ercole Barovier in 1938, the Rostrato technique is a testament to the ingenuity and skill of Murano artisans. This complex method involves extruding a series of points from the glass using a wire of glass while it is still hot. The resulting prisms and protrusions create a captivating texture and form, adding depth and visual interest to the glass piece. Rostrato is a testament to the glassblowers’ technical prowess and their ability to breathe life into glass, transforming it into a tactile and visually stimulating work of art.

Italian Murano glass vase. This hand-blown piece has a striking purple color and is made with the rostrate technique.Pair of Italian Murano glass vases. This hand-blown pair has a lovely taupe color and is made with the rostrate technique.Pair of Italian Murano glass vases; in Aqua color; crafted in the “rostrate” technique ; in the manner of iconic Murano glass powerhouse “ Barovier “; mimicking birds beaks. We love the striking Aqua color and texture of the “rostrate” technique.

6. Cristallo

No exploration of Murano glass techniques would be complete without mentioning Cristallo, a glass of unparalleled clarity and brilliance. Developed by Angelo Barovier in 1450, this remarkable glass was achieved through a meticulous process. By bleaching the molten glass using manganese or similar agents, Barovier achieved a level of transparency that surpassed anything seen before. The resulting glass, known as Cristallo, became a symbol of refinement and elegance. Its transparent and luminous nature, combined with its versatility in shaping, engraving, and coloring, elevated Murano glass to the status of an unparalleled art form.

Rare Murano glass Rezzonico fountain chandelier in "cristallo pura" glass. The "Rezzonico" technique is characterized by the multiple blown glass elements composing the glass structure of the chandelier. 12 sweeping branches culminate in beautiful fountain-like spouts of glass, each holding a candelabra light. This stunning work of art in glass and light has been rewired for the US. A magnificent piece. Authentic Murano Glass Cristallo Puro Chandelier

The techniques employed by Murano glass blowers are not mere processes; they are a testament to the profound history and artistic expression deeply rooted in this enchanting craft. From the captivating Avventurina to the intricate Murrine and the innovative Pulegoso, each technique contributes to the unique charm and beauty of Murano glass. As I had the opportunity to witness firsthand, the expertise and passion of the artisans bring these techniques to life, transforming molten glass into breathtaking works of art. At Jean-Marc Fray, we take great pride in curating a collection of Murano glass pieces that honor the rich history and artistry of this timeless craft.

So come, explore our gallery and immerse yourself in the captivating world of Murano glass, where tradition meets innovation, and beauty knows no bounds. Experience the sublime artistry and discover the stories woven into each masterpiece, as the legacy of Murano glass continues to captivate hearts and inspire awe across the ages.