How to Identify Murano Glass Crystalware

The tradition of glass blowing in Italy is a centuries-old art that has been iconic of the Venetian Murano Islands for more than 500 years. Though the making of specialized glassware, like the floral mirrefiori or the creation of different colored glasses, has changed in ways over time, many of the glassmaking techniques remain the same. The consideration of Murano glassware as the peak of glass art across the world has not changed either, and at Poppi Italian Leather, we understand the significance of this history. We work with local Murano glassmakers to protect the tradition of their work and to bring their goods to our store, making unique Venetian glassware available to you. When you explore our glassware collection, you’ll find an elegance and style that is true to the Murano makers.


We can teach our customers how to identify Murano glass because of its iconic look, including the specialty glass types like millefiori and cristallo (crystal). Cristallo glass, in particular, is a method used globally today, but was originally bought to be coveted for its beauty thanks to the work of Murano glass makers.


Crystalware is made using a specific process that renders an extremely clear, pristine surface. Historically, lead was added into a silica composite to formulate colored glasses, but it wasn’t until 1612 when Antonio Neri wrote the four volume L’Arte Vetraria (“The Art of Glass-Making“), and when the volume dedicated to lead glassware was translated into English, that lead started to be used in crystal glassmaking. Glassmaker George Ravenscroft used this volume to become the first maker of crystal glass. The use of lead to make crystalline glasses was soon adapted by Italian artisans, and it grew over the centuries to be a hallmark of Murano glass. The creation of the first true cristallo glass is credited to the Venetian glass artisan Angelo Barovier (in about 1450).

murano crystal glass decanter

Today, crystalware is made lead-free with other minerals in its place. Decorative crystal pieces still use lead safely for a beautiful, timeless class. To recognize true Murano crystal, simply look for the absolute clarity of the glass and perfection in coloration. Excellent examples of fine Venetian crystalware include this Murano decanter, this honey pattern crystal vase, and this Scaleno pattern Murano vase. Crystals and crystalware are now made worldwide in many different countries, ranging from Germany to the United States to Japan. However, Murano glass will always be distinguishable from other crystalware for its unparalleled quality paired with elegant, fine designs.


Explore our selection of fine crystal glassware and other traditional Murano glass today. Contact Poppi Italian Leather at (507) 282-3088 or at today for questions or more information about how to identify