The glass of Murano is known throughout the world for its beauty and artistic value, thus it is often counterfeited and sold as real. So how do we make sure that we are buying the real Murano glass, handmade by the masters and artists in Venice, and not some cheap imitation?
5 things to check before buying Murano art:
1) LOOK AT THE ITEM ITSELF
Does the item appear to be hand-made with slightly irregular surface or texture, or perhaps tiny bubbles inside the glass? Is it shiny, extremely light and composed of several different layers? Does it come with a punt mark on its base? Can you notice any traditional Murano Design techniques such as Millefiori, Sommerso, Bullicante or Fenicio?
Murano glass is always produced by hands and so it is noticeably irregular and perceivably lighter than its fake replicas, especially the very heavy Chinese glass often used to create counterfeit Murano products. In addition, mass-produced glass tends to come in one, thick, layer, while the hand-blown glass used in genuine Murano creations are usually composed of has several layers, applied one above the other.
2) THE CERTIFICATE OF AUTHENTICITY
Does the object come with a Certificate of authenticity? Does the description state “Murano Glass” or “Murano-style” and similar?
To obtain the Certificate of Authenticity the products coming out of Murano furnace are subjected to a thorough inspection. Only after passing this quality control a label is applied on the product to certify its quality and authenticity. Make sure you find this label on the product you are going to buy!
3) ENGRAVING: THE SIGNATURE OF THE MASTER
Every object is produced entirely by hand and it is therefore unique; the signature of the master on every piece guarantees its authenticity. Before buying any glass product check that it bears the signature of the master who created it.
Often Murano masters do not put their signature on glasses, carafes, mirrors and chandeliers for aesthetic reasons; in that case you will have to check for other proves of authenticity such as punt marks on the base and irregularities due to the hand making process.
Hand-blown glass has punt marks on the base. This is where the glass blower has released the metal rod used to shape the glass. If the base of the piece is completely smooth, there is the possibility that it is mass-produced and therefore a copy.
4) LOOK AT THE PRICE!
If the piece you are buying has a price tag under the market rates, you should be a little suspicious. While genuine Murano makers can offer low prices, they really could never compete against Chinese copies. The value of Murano art is based on the quality of the material used for the production. Gold leaf, silver leaf, platinum, alexandrite and aventurine are expensive materials and must be applied to glass with specific techniques.
Therefore, if the price of an object is very low comparing to others, it is unlikely that it was created with traditional techniques and materials. When prices are low objects were probably produced through fake decorations that imitates the originals.
5) CHECK WHO’S THE SELLER
Can you tell the seller is reputable? Does it demonstrate knowledge of Murano Glass techniques and history? Does it offer a wide range of Murano glass products including vases, chandeliers and glass art? If they’re also producers, can they create a piece with specific patterns, colors or shape at your request?
Pay attention to these details. Generally, if you can answer these questions positively you can be quite sure you are dealing with someone who offers authentic Murano Glass.
Despite the great number of sellers offering fake glassware labeled as Murano, there are a lot of Murano masters producing and selling the real thing with centuries-old traditional techniques. Authentic Murano is worth purchasing and keeping for ourselves or gifting to other people. It makes a great wedding or anniversary gift and often become a sentimental object that families pass through generations. Trust your instinct when purchasing Murano art and if you are still not convinced just look elsewhere!