AN INTRODUCTION TO
MURANO GLASS
CHANDELIERS
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CONTENTS

CHAPTER 1
MURANO

CHAPTER 2
THE ORIGIN OF THE CHANDELIER

CHAPTER 3
WORKING THE GLASS

CHAPTER 4
MURANO GLASS CHANDELIERS

CHAPTER 5
ILLUMINATING CHANDELIERS

CHAPTER 6
MURANO GLASS CHANDELIERS NOW

CHAPTER 7
GLOSSARY

MURANO

The first document to prove the existence of glass furnaces in Venice dates back to 982, more than a thousand years ago.
Subsequently every Venetian furnace was moved to the Island of Murano due to the high risk of fires that could have spread during the processing of glass.
In 1291 infact, Murano became the center for glassmaking when the Venetian Republic, fearing that fire could eventually destruct the wooden building of the city decided to move glassmakers foundries to the nearby island.
The glassmakers became soon prominent citizens of Murano and by the 14th century they were allowed to wear swords and enjoyed immunity from prosecution by the Venetian government.
However they were not allowed to leave the Venetian Republic, so as not to spread their art in other places.
They succesfully managed to hold a monopoly on quality glassmaking for centuries, innovating constantly through devolopment and refinement of technolgies and inventions such as crystalline glass, enamelled glass (smalto), glass with threads of gold (aventurine), multicolored glass (millefiori) and milk glass (lattimo).

THE ORIGINS OF THE CHANDELIER

The word chandelier has its earlier origin in the latin word candela meaning candle. From this word took origin the 10th century french word chandelabre that in the spanish language later appeared as chandelier (in the 14th century).

The earliest examples of candle chandeliers were introduced during the middle ages and used predominantly in churches. These chandeliers had the form of a wooden cross on which candles could be secured and they were hung to a suitable height with a rope or chain.
New forms of chandeliers were later developed in wood or metal, including the classical column shape, with a central support and long arms with pendants in the shape of drops and faceted spirals, the more complex ring or crown designs that became a popular decoration for the palaces of the nobles and the homes of the wealthiest.
Their high cost of illumination transformed the chandelier in a symbol of luxury and status.
In Venice too these chandeliers were produced in wood or metal, since only starting from the 17th century glass started to be used for chandeliers due to its better refraction of light around it.

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