Glass dealer Keith Davison knows a thing or two about Murano glass: his gallery, Casanova Venetian Glass & Art, in Naples, Florida, is the largest purveyor of the beloved colorful glass in the United States.
But despite the popularity of the glassware, Davison believes many would-be collectors often aren’t sure where to start. To help those interested novices, Davison has shared five bits of expert knowledge, clarifying misconceptions and explaining processes so you can know what to look for.
It Does Not Just Come From One Factory on the Island of Murano
“I constantly have visitors in my showroom tell me they visited ‘the factory’ in Murano, assuming it’s the one and only place to visit.
“Usually, they’ve been steered to that shop by concierges and tour guides that receive a kickback. Many people don’t realize there are approximately 100 glass factories in Murano. These furnaces are usually owned by families, many of which pass their craft from one generation to the next. Two of the many furnaces I represent are the oldest families in the annals of glassblowing. The Seguso family is now in their 23rd generation, dating back to 1397. The oldest of all is the Barovier family, whose business opened in 1295, 725 years ago! Casanova Venetian Glass & Art visits Murano and purchases directly from over 60 family furnaces in Murano.”
The Most Affordable Murano Glass Isn’t Necessarily in Italy
“Some people think that if they buy glass in Murano, they will get a better price. Actually, the price in Murano (and Venice) is usually 15 to 20 percent higher than in my showroom. Our gallery eliminates the cost (and risk) of shipping, all duty is paid, and the price is still less than you would pay in Murano.”
Murano Glass Prices Very Widely
“Prices can vary widely, and several factors come into play: the difficulty of some processes can require much longer production times; the fame of the ‘Glass Master’ increases the price; and the number of copies of a style varies greatly.
“Some pieces are produced thousands of times, so they aren’t considered rare. Some are limited to around 100 pieces, which raises the price considerably. The rarest of all are one-of-a-kind, and those pieces are for the most serious collector.”
Murano Glass Can Appreciate Significantly in Value
“The best example I’ve experienced was when I purchased a vase by Giampaolo Seguso that was one of only 99 to be produced. The book value at the time of purchase was around $10,000. Seven years later, that piece sold for $28,800 (the book value by then was well over $30,000).
“I would recommend pieces by Pino Signoretto for investment, of which I have several available. Pino died two years ago; Dale Chihuly called him ‘the greatest glass sculptor of our time.’”
Understanding Millefiore Glass
“This is a very traditional treatment to glass which has been used in Murano for hundreds of years. The word ‘millefiore’ translates to ‘thousand flowers.’ Glass tubes with decorative patterns are created by the Glass Masters. Those tubes are then broken into small beads that are arranged into a pattern and added to the glass, creating beautiful and intricate patterns.”
Discover more Murano glass through Casanova Venetian Glass & Art.
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