Identifying Genuine Murano Chandeliers with Small Jobs Electric as we Visit the Murano Factory in Venice, Italy
I have always had a fascination with lighting, likely because my Dad was an electrician and I practically grew up in the trade. I have spent almost my whole life looking up; checking out the lighting at restaurants, hotels and other people’s homes. I have even designed and made some lighting pieces for my own house.
As long as I have known my wife, she has had a fascination with…Italy. She has always wanted to go and so for our 15th year wedding anniversary that’s where we went. We toured every city one should not miss when visiting Italy including Florence, Rome, Naples, and Venice. Venice is definitely one of the most unique cities I have ever visited. It was my wife’s favorite stop on our tour of Italy. What was mine? Of course, a little island off the coast of Venice called Murano.
It takes about 30-45 minutes on a vaporetto to reach Murano from Piazza San Marco in Venice. It is a must-see for any fellow lover of lighting like me. The name of the island might sound familiar because it is famous for its glass. So as soon as we landed in Venice, off we went to Murano. As fascinating as it was to watch the Maestro demonstrate his glass blowing technique to make a horse…my real interest lay behind the doors marked: PRIVATE SHOWING AREA. That’s what I was really there to see: the chandeliers. It was like a dream come true to not only marvel at the works of art we saw in the showrooms but to also purchase a genuine Murano to hang in my own home.
Once we got back to mainland Venice though…I started to have buyer’s remorse. Every souvenir shop had chandeliers hanging from the ceiling claiming to be a Murano, and they were selling for half the price that we had paid. What if we had paid too much? What if we weren’t getting a genuine Murano chandelier? How could we tell if the company we had purchased the fixture from was legitimate? I literally couldn’t sleep that night thinking about it, so I went back to the island of Murano and visited the showroom again the next day. The answers I received to these questions really helped to verify that we were getting the real deal from an authentic company…and helped me to enjoy the rest of our trip!
So, How Can I Tell if I Have Purchased a Genuine Murano Chandelier?
If you want to make sure you bought or are buying a genuine Murano chandelier, here are the top 10 ways to identify authentic Murano glass:
- Ask for the certificate of the company selling the chandelier. This certificate is issued by the Italian association for Murano manufacturers and it is only issued to a handful of companies on the island. The certificate should also display text in the Italian language.
- Murano glass is unmistakably clear and its shine and clarity can’t be compared to generic glass from China.
- Murano glass will usually have a Pontill marking on its base.
- The glass should carry a label from the manufacturer engraved on it.
- You will need to spend some time researching the company you are buying from and researching the Maestro credited to the piece.
- Murano glass is hand-made; therefore it will not be perfect and will contain some lines and imperfections.
- Price is a factor. If you are paying the market rates, you should be suspicious about your glass as there are many cheap Chinese copies made and sold in Venice.
- Just as the price is a factor, so are shipping rates. An authentic Murano piece won’t be shipped using a cheap method and can take as long as 3-6 months to receive. Also, the chandelier should not come pre-assembled. It should arrive in pieces and will have to be put together.
- Look at the seller. Are they reputable? Does it share information about itself? Does it specialize only in Murano Glass or Venetian products and nothing else? Does the seller demonstrate good knowledge of the Murano glass industry, techniques, production process and history? Does it possess an Italian background, education or extensive travel experience to Italy?
- Verify that you can get replacement parts from the company for your chandelier. Remember that each Murano chandelier is unique. There are no two that are exactly alike. Each fixture has a specific number assigned to it which will be listed on the Certificate of Authenticity. You should be able to use that number to order a replacement part for your fixture if a piece should break on it.
My wife and I could not wait for our fixture to arrive from Italy. It now hangs above our dining room table and will always serve as a reminder of our travels to Italy! So, if you have a chandelier or fixture you would like to have installed, especially if it is a unique one of a kind piece…call me, the guy obsessed with lighting at Small Jobs Electric! (813) 652-0565