What Is a Murano Stone?
Murano stone is a type of glass that imitates the appearance of semi-precious stones. The technique used to create this "stone," called calcedonia, was developed by glass blowers in Murano, Italy. This city, a suburb of Venice made up of five islands in the Venetian lagoon, is renowned for its glass making industry.
Murano's glass makers are dedicated to tradition. These artisans use the same methods and types of equipment today that were utilized by their predecessors. This history of glass making began over 1,000 years ago. The furnace structures of old remain active, while modern Murano glass blowers beat the same glass-blowing pipes and instruments that their ancestors fashioned. According to Michele Zampedri on Ciao Venezia's website, documentation of glass blowing in Murano exists that is dated pre-first millenium.
Throughout its history, Murano has maintained its edge in glass making. The artisans of Murano accomplished this by developing different techniques and products to compete with other European glass-making centers. Murano glass blowers created opalescent (Girasol) glass and Aventurina, a type that contains threads of gold metal fragments and foil flecks. Millefiori is another product developed by these Italian artists. This technique uses glass to enclose Rosetta cane work and multi-colored beads with flower-designs.
Calcedonia is one of the products developed as a way to compete and surge ahead of other countries in glass-making production. This product is named for its milky tinge. The colorful semi-precious stone-like glass was developed in the mid-15th century and is prized for its beauty. It is primarily used to create sculptures and jewelry.
Calcedonia contains striations of color created by the 45 lbs. of silver nitrate that is added to each batch of glass. The amount of striation and the exact shade of color cannot be controlled. This creates the unique appearance of the end product.