How To Identify Murano Glass: Real vs. Fake Murano Glass

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There are numerous counterfeit glass pieces on the market claiming to be Murano glass. These glassworks weren’t made on the island of Murano, yet their producers market them as Murano glassworks to trick customers. The good news is there are many ways to differentiate real Murano glassworks from counterfeit ones. So, how can you identify genuine Murano glass?

You can identify real Murano glass by looking for imperfections such as air bubbles and a Pontil mark on the artwork. You can also look for the glass master’s signature or the certificate of origin sticker on the glasswork. If you still aren’t convinced, ask the seller about the glass piece. 

Glass making is not only a source of daily income to the Muranese people but also an ancient tradition passed down from generation to generation. People worldwide have tried to steal and make profits off it, which is unacceptable. Let’s get into the details and find out how we can spot these fakers and stop them so we can help the Muranesse people preserve their culture.

What is Murano Glass?

Murano Glass Horse Sculpture

When talking about Murano glass, people usually refer to vases, sculptures, chandeliers, and other decorative glass objects from Murano, a small island in Venice, Italy, where the art of glassmaking has more than a thousand years of tradition. Glassworks made on the island of Murano are the only ones that can be marketed as Murano glassworks, but here’s an example of “Murano-style” glass (on Amazon).

Murano glass is made from silica, soda-lime, and potassium melted together in a special furnace at a very high temperature of about 1500 °C.

The glass masters then add very thin layers of real gold or sterling silver to the liquid mixture and some minerals to give the glass its beautiful design and vibrant colors. 

How Can You Tell Real Murano Glass? 

You can tell real Murano glass from a fake one by doing the following:

Look for Imperfections

Real Murano glass is handmade, resulting in tiny imperfections like air bubbles and a pontil mark.

When using a multi-color layering technique, the glass master blows the different colored glass separately and then layers them on top of each other. Tiny air bubbles inevitably form in the glass during this process.

The Pontil mark forms when the glass master breaks the Pontil rod of the finished blown Murano glasswork. The Pontil mark is basically a scar you’ll find at the bottom of hand-blown glasswork. The surface of the Pontil mark is rough, and you can use your finger and feel the mark when inspecting Murano glass.

Look for Proof of Origin

As we’ve already established, genuine Murano glassworks come from the island of Murano. Murano isn’t a brand name but the location of origin of these glassworks. 

To verify the origin, find the signature of the glass master on the glasswork, then confirm online if the glass master is actually located in Murano. Additionally, to ensure the signature is authentic, compare it with the signature you’ll find online.

Another way to verify that the glasswork is from Murano is by looking for the certificate of origin sticker on the artwork. This sticker proves that the artwork is from Murano, and you may find more than one sticker as various certifications are available.

Look for the artist’s sticker, which may either contain their name or the name of the workshop, then go online and check against the details there. Be sure to also compare the sticker on the artwork to the one you’ll find online.

Check if the Store Sells Other High-End Glass Items

Traditional Murano glass on display Venice street shop

If a physical or online store sells a large selection of sophisticated glass items like sculptures, vases, and expensive Venetian pieces such as gondolas, clowns, Moores, Millefiori glassware, Goldonian ladies and gentlemen, and detailed Venetian chandeliers, the store likely sells genuine Murano glass.

Ask the Seller About the Glass Piece

Authentic Murano glass sellers usually know almost everything about Murano glass and will be able to answer all your questions thoroughly and honestly. If you’re unsure of the glasswork, try talking to the seller or contact them via email, chat, or on a call.

Ask them about the glass piece, the making process, or even Murano and Venice. They probably don’t sell real Murano glass if they don’t know much about the piece or can’t explain much about it.

However, if the sellers give you extensive information on the piece, are truthful about how they obtained the glass piece, and can answer all your questions in a friendly and satisfactory manner, chances are that they are selling genuine Murano glass.

Ask a Glass Expert to Check it

If you doubt its authenticity, you can get in touch with a local glass antique expert and show them all your information on your glass piece. Of course, the experts aren’t entirely reliable, but their years of experience will make it easier to tell if it’s real Murano glass.

If you can’t find an expert, you could post pictures and information about your glasswork on an antique glass forum where you can get help verifying whether your piece is real or not.

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