|Selection of Venetian beads at Bead Den at TBS Bead Fair, 2013|
|Orchid glass pendant.|
|Geometric Foil collection. 24K gold and .925 sterling silver is used in Murano beads|
|Twisted beads with 24K gold|
|Pendants with frit, 24K gold. Teardrop pendant.|
|Red Murano beads with 24K. Some gold is added to make the red colour.|
|(top) Heart pendants with millefiore; (lower) Frit aand fused pendants|
|Klimt-style Murano beads with 24K gold|
| Sommerso floral garden beads|
|The name MURANO is stamped into hot glass of larger, thicker pieces.|
From the historic side, Chevron beads were created by the end of the 14th century. Venetian chevron beads are drawn beads, made from glass canes, which are shaped using specifically constructed star moulds. The first chevron beads consisted of 7 layers of alternating colours. They usually have 6 facets. By the beginning of the 20th century, 4 and 6-layer chevron beads appear on various sample cards. Read more about how the layers are created, colours and how pattern is exposed.
Chevron beads can be composed of a varied number of consecutive layers of colored glasses. The initial core is formed from a molten ball of glass (called a "gather") that was melted in a furnace. If the glassworker is making beads, an air bubble is blown into the center of the gather via a blowpipe, thus creating an opening, the future bead's perforation.
Chevron Venetian Six Layer Trade Beads Big Africna, late 1800's early 1900'x
When making solid multilayered cane intended to be used for decorating millefiori beads no air bubble is inserted. The gather (with the air bubble in its center) is plunged into a star-shaped mould, which can have anywhere between five and fifteen points. Several layers of glass can be applied, returning to the mould as desired, to create either a star-shaped or smooth effect for each layer.
Millefiori is an Italian word meaning " a thousand flowers". Millefiori beads are also known as "mosiac" beads throughout the world. The making of millefiori beads is a two step process. First the murrine or cane is made and then these are applied to a molten wound glass core and made into beads.
|Millefiori pendants. (top) flat matter millefiori pendant. See Murano label below|
|Murano Label on back of flat millefiori pendant|
Venetian bead were very highly prized world-wide. They made their way to Ukraine and were strung and finished off with a “chepraha”, a unique metal clasp. By our standards, it may seem oversize, but it was used exclusively with Venetian beads. Status was shown by how many strand and styles of beads were worn for holidays. The more strands of beads, “korail”, pearls, “zgardy”, metal crosses or coins, the higher the status of the girl. This was especially evident on bridal wear, the fanciest variation of the local folk costume with unique headdresses.
|Hutsul bride wearing 5 strings of Venetian beads amongst a beadwoven 'sylianka' choker, 'zgardy' with coins', 'korali' with metal beads, 2006|
Nat. Museum of Hutsulshchyna and Pokuttya, Kolomyya, Ukraine
|Venetian bead necklaces catalogued in the 3rd floor collection of the|
Nat. Museum of Hutsulshchyna and Pokuttya, Kolomyya, Ukraine, 2006
|Seed bead 'gerdan' and metal 'zgardy" necklace from Western Ukraine.|
Two strings of Venetian beads; lower string are "wedding cake" beads.
On display at Museum of Decorative Folk Arts, Kyiv, Ukraine, 2013
|Hutsul metal crosses strung between Venetian beads. |
Since they are so prized, the beads are carefully placed in the design.
Kosiv Museum, Ukraine, 2011
Check out the incredible Venetian beads out there! Surf the net and be amazed by the variety of Trade and Millefiori beads from the past and marvel at the prices they're fetching.
Better yet, pick up a contemporary Murano bead and create your masterpiece.
Photos of Bead Den's Murano Beads: Maria Rypan