Terms regarding Murano Glass Processing


This is a type of wall lamp used since the XVIth as a decorative element. It is realised with a particular attention to details. Generally the applique are realised in pairs, they can have one or more lights and these can be upwards or downwards. The applique can also include a mirror.


The avventurina is a high quality vitreous paste, which is obtained by adding copper oxide to the vitreous mass. Once the glass cools down, the copper oxide looks like tiny crystals, trapped inside the glass. It is these tiny particles that confer to the avventurina glass its peculiar brightness.


This is a particular process that allows to confer to the glass surface a grid-like pattern. To obtain this pattern, the vitreous mass is inserted into a mould, called in venetian dialect “bronzin”. When the master glass-worker blows inside the cane, the pattern is impressed on the glass. Notice that the mould impresses on the glass the decoration but not the shape, which is manually made by the master.


The bossola is a small blown glass element typical of the Murano glass chandeliers. Each bossola is only a few centimetres long, and it is inserted in curvilinear metal tubes to decorate the structure of the Ca’ Rezzonico style chandeliers.


An element typical of the Murano glass chandelier is the bottom bowl. This element has a round shape, it is used to close the central part of the chandelier. The bottom bowl also contains the arms and the decorative elements.


In Murano blown glass chandeliers the bottom finial is the element placed as closure, on the lower part of the chandelier. This element is tighten with a screw, in order to block the bottom bowl, inside which is placed the electric system. The bottom finial can have various shapes, but it has always a narrow part that has to be inserted inside the bottom bowl.


With this term, that literally means “cage”, it is called the central part of the Ca’ Rezzonico chandeliers, that is the part delimited by the metal structure and the upper and lower disks. Inside the cage is often inserted a central decoration, made of flowers and leaves.


This is a specific technique that allows to colour the glass during the fusion: the mineral pigments are mixed directly inside the vitreous mass. The glass coloured in fusion represents the best quality of glass: this process guarantees a high durability of the colour, that stay intense, bright and unaltered over time.


Cornucopia is the name with which is called a special bossola, the glass element typical of the Ca’ Rezzonico chandeliers. The cornucopia is larger than a common bossola, and it is often an elaborated element. The cornucopia is used since the XVIIIth century, it completes and enriches the whole composition, it is also used to fix pendant elements to the chandelier.


In Murano glass chandeliers it is called crown the upper blown glass element, placed as “crowning” element on the top of the column. This element can be close – if the chandelier is fixed to a chain, or open – if the chandelier is fixed directly to the ceiling, without a chain.


In Murano glass chandeliers it is called cup the element placed at the end of each arm that contains the lightbulb. Originally, the function of the cup was that of gather the wax of the candles and protect the flame from draughts. The cup lasts over the years as a traditional element of the Murano glass, nowadays its function is that of spreading and filtering the light. The cup can have many different shapes, the most common are the bell-shaped cup, the “secolo” cup and the “trilobata” cup.


This technique consists in overlapping two coats of glass of different colours. This technique is often used in Murano glass chandeliers; generally coloured glass is covered with a coat of clear glass. This technique allows to obtain an extremely bright surface and to protect from alteration the inner coat of glass. It is possible to encase different colours of glass, another common combination is the overlapping of coloured glass with white glass, to create particular chromatic effects.


The gold leaf is a thin foil of pure gold 24 kt that is attached to the glass when this is still in a viscous state. The gold foil, once melted on the hot glass surface, can be cover again with another coat of clear glass. When the glass is blown, the gold foil breaks up into tiny particles, thus creating a fine bright dust inside the glass. From the XIXth century masters glass-worker have started to use also silver foil, that has to be necessarily cover by a coat of clear glass, to avoid oxidation.


This process consists in attaching a relief decoration on a glass surface when the glass is still hot, it consists in adding a certain quantity of vitreous mass on the surface of the piece. The hot-working application is the best way to fix two or more glass pieces: if attached when the glass is hot, these two pieces would become a single piece of glass.


The term “macie”, which literally means spots, is used to refer to a specific technique to colour the glass surface. The colour is obtained by rolling the clear vitreous mass on a layer of granulated coloured glass. The granulated glass melts and remains attached to the hot vitreous mass. This technique is often used to colour the Murano glass chandelier; it is possible to recognize a glass coloured with “macie” by observing its surface: the colour is not completely homogeneous, but it’s possible to notice that the colour is distributed in a slightly irregular way.


The morrise are hot-working applications that rim the various glass elements that compose venetian blown glass chandeliers. The morrise are generally of a different colour respect to the body of the chandelier; they can be made using different instruments, in order to make more rich and elaborated the whole composition.


This is a very ancient technique, that harks back to the roman period. During the XXth century, the techniques has been resumed and renovated by important Murano glass artists. The technique is widely used in the production of blown glass objects; the steps to create a murrina blown glass object are the following: first, the master creates colourful glass canes, each cane has a specific pattern inside, and then the canes are cut into little disks. These disks are put on a metal plate, that is heated so that the murrine can stick to the vitreous mass, which will be blown and modelled to obtain the object desidered.


In the Murano glass chandeliers, the ornamental crest (also called giardino superiore, literally “upper garden”) is a decorative tier placed on the upper part of the chandelier. This decorative element gives even more splendour to the chandelier and complete the composition. The ornamental crest was already present in the XVIIIth century chandeliers. It is possible to insert more than one ornamental crest to create very large chandeliers.


In venetian style chandeliers, it is called “piramide” (literally pyramid) the element shaped like a pinnacle. This peculiar element comes from the venetian gothic architecture and it’s an ornamental element, with no structural purpose. The pinnacles are often inserted in the decorative tiers, to give even more richness to the whole composition.


Pulegoso is the name of a particular type of glass, which is obtained using a specific technique. This technique allows to obtain a glass with many air bubbles of various dimensions trapped inside, which are called in venetian dialect “puleghe”. To obtain this effect, the vitreous mass is put inside a solution with bicarbonate of soda, that causes a “bursting” of the glass, and consequently, the formation of bubbles. The technique has been invented by Napoleone Martinuzzi for Venini, during the Twenties.


The reciea is a tiny glass element, a little glass string attached to the various elements of the chandelier. The reciea is used to hang decorative pendant elements to the chandelier, it can be attached to different parts: arms, scrolls, bossole and also cornucopie.


It is called rigadin a decorative pattern widely used in the Murano glass chandeliers. It is characterized by little straight ribs in relief, which are obtained using a bronze mould, called in venetian dialect “bronzin”. The mould impresses the ribs on the vitreous mass, and once the vitreous mass is blown, the ribs expand, thus creating the traditional rigadin pattern. Notice that the mould impresses on the glass the decoration but not the shape, which is manually made by the master.


It is called rigamenà a decorative pattern widely used in Murano glass chandeliers, that confers to the glass surface a peculiar coil texture. The technique consists of inserting the vitreous mass inside a bronze mould, called in venetian dialect “bronzin”. The mould impresses the decorative pattern on the vitreous mass: once the vitreous mass is blown, the decoration expands, thus creating the traditional rigamenà pattern. Notice that the mould impresses on the glass the decoration but not the shape, which is manually made by the master.


In the venetian chandeliers it is called tier (also “giardino”, literally “garden”) every level in which are inserted decorative elements such as flowers and leaves, thus creating particularly eleborated and luxurious compositions. Generally the “gardens” are divided into lateral gardens, when placed on the metal structure, central gardens, when placed inside the metal cage, and lower or upper gardens when placed along the central column.

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