One of the most common techniques used in Murano glass making is the infusion of precious metals. The distinct earthy sparkle of aventurine, the subtle shimmer of silver foil, and the classic look of gleaming gold flakes are the accents that give radiance and depth to the beads on your favorite Murano glass jewelry. This technique is very tedious, as it requires impeccable skill, a steady hand, and a sincere devotion to the craft of lampworking.
Our glass masters work very carefully when infusing each glass bead with either gold flakes or silver foil. First, a sheet of the precious metal has to be hammered until it is extremely thin. Next, each sheet is cut into tiny “flakes.” The artisan then rolls a small amount of molten glass in the metal flakes so that they adhere to the surface. This tiny chunk of flake-covered glass is then encapsulated in more molten glass, which “traps” the metal inside the bead before it is lampworked into the desired shape. As the artisan lampworks the bead, the flakes may pull apart and disperse throughout it.
To infuse a bead with aventurine, or copper crystal, our artisans first add cuprous iron and lead oxides to molten glass. The glass is then left to cool and harden for several days, which results in crystallization of the tiny copper particles. These sparkling particles are most commonly reddish-brown in color, and are responsible for the irresistible shimmer inside your favorite aventurine jewelry.
Now that you know a bit more about all of the hard work that goes into creating the infused beads on your favorite Murano glass jewelry pieces, which type is your favorite? Do you gravitate more towards the cool sparkle of silver foil, the warm glow of gold foil, or the amber shimmer of aventurine? Let us know!