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About Us: Identifying Murano glass

In the mid-20th century, Murano craftsmanship combined with Italian design flair and created what, along with Scandinavian glass, is generally recognised as the finest glass in the world. It was so much accepted that superb craftsmanship and style should be the norm that the glass was seldom signed, unlike the canny Scandinavians, who signed most of theirs.

Identification is therefore a matter of experience and research.  It helps that Murano and Scandinavian glass was generally so much better in quality than its competition, and it helps to have seen thousands and thousands of pieces.

Here's an unsigned, unlabelled bowl which is clearly a mid-century design of Fratelli Toso. Much of Fratelli Toso's work is wild and ornate - this one has elements of that in the scrolled edge, but also the simple, restrained use of slices of brown and copper glass cane (murrines) fused into the bowl, expanded then cased with clear glass).

Murano Vase

People sometimes ask us about forgeries. Yes, there are forgeries out there and we have been fooled when buying from overseas based on a picture and the claim of the seller. However, in our experience these are generally errors or intentional misidentification rather than someone creating a piece of art that looks like another one. Anyone who can make an ashtray that looks as good as a Murano ashtray is better off putting their talents towards making their own masterpieces. Most Murano glass sells for less than glass by modern glass artists. If you had the talent to forge it, why would you bother? We are mean buyers – no-one would ever get rich selling forgeries to us.

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Identifying Murano glass
Glass made for mundane purposes can be beautiful
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