5 Secret Murano Glass Techniques

Process of Art Glass Making
by Venetian Masters


Glass is a mesmerizing living material

No one has been able to master it better than the Venetians on Murano island. This art form is centuries old and is held in high regard because of the difficulties involved in its timeless technology. Let's tackle some of the know-how of our Maestri



This technique consists in embedding opaque or colored glass threads in a colorless glass rod then it is blown and shaped to create works of art. This pattern is particularly breathtaking when used in curved forms and round edges. These pieces will present beautiful colored threads, forming grids and designs that twist along the shape. Filigrana can be spotted in photo below on the outskirts of the discs and looks similar to a Christmas candy bar. 


Rostrato creates an effect similar to a bird's beak. It protrudes out in a pointed texture producing sensational distortions when viewed from different angles. With flat pliers, the Maestro pulls out of the heated glass extruded conic tips, creating an exceptional 3D landscape on the exterior and a hypnotizing pattern when viewed from the inside. This particular decor shows off the high quality of craftsmanship as the Maestro needs to be very precise and quick with his work. Rostrato can be implemented in a variety of applications such as chandeliers, sconces, vases, and lamps ...


Murrine involves a highly complicated process. A central glass rod is repeatedly dipped in different colored melted glass resembling a candy cane or made up of several different layers in diverse shapes. You could compare it to a layered chocolate bar. Cross-sections of these glass elements are thinly cut and then embedded in a molten mass which is blown or sculptured into an art piece. In the below examples, the Murrine are shaped like fish and algae in the aquatic scene and like flowers in the vase


Incalmo vs Sommerso

The next techniques are often confused, so read carefully! 


A tip to remember the difference is to know that in Italian Sommerso means "submerged". It involves repeatedly dipping several cores of different colors in the vitreous mass in order to achieve different layers. The challenging part is keeping the colors isolated! This technique is more used in the production of bottles, vases, and sculptures. Notice how the green, the orange, and the crystal colors in the bottle are separated, they do not mix and create a new color on the edges while in the vase the red central core is realized in Sommerso



Incalmo involves putting together completely different parts as one but still keeping them distinct. The parts are blown separately then heated again and joined while they are still hot. The result can be very picturesque. The black and the red parts in the picture are two separate pieces then fused together by the Maestro to create a uniquely captivating design



Invented in the seventeenth century, when a glassblower accidentally spilled copper shavings in the molten glass, embedding metallic oxides that reflected light, resulting in a new magnificently shimmering creation. It's a defying process because metal and glass have different melting temperatures, as a result, the lustrous outcome is worthy of excellence 



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