Glossary of Glass
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Glasses or goblets with lateral glass "wings" attached to the sides above the handles for decorative purposes. Known in Germany as FlŘgelglaser, these were manufactured during the 16th and 17th centuries.

A wooden chest used for mixing the glassmaking mixture.

Smaller alboli.

Muranese term which indicates the completion of an object (a flower, an animal, etc.) in a continuous manner which does not require successive applications of parts in glass, or successive reheating. This mode is also used when the object is small and a careful execution is not necessary.

Sodic plant ash which was imported under this name from Syria and used as flux. See also ROSCANO.

A technique used right up to the end of the 18th century for silvering mirrors. It consists of the application of tin leaf, amalgamated with mercury, onto a sheet of glass.

An iron hook attached to the ANZIPETTO, strong enough to support the weight of the blow-pipe with glass deposited at one end, and fixed above a perpendicular shelf at the BOCCA DEL FORNO (glory-hole).

A table made of thick wood, usually coveredwith metal sheeting and placed at the left side of the glory -hole to protect the glassmaker from the heat.

Hot applications. A technique frequently used on Murano involving the application of threads, borders, handles, etc.,of various shapes, colours and sizes, during the working of a glass object. Only when the decorations are perfectly even and precise is the final product considered to be a success, from an aesthetic pont of view.

ARA (anche ERA)
Long ago, this term was applied to the rear of the Murano furnace, which was also used as an annealing oven where completed objects were left to cool.

A gently sloping, horizontal shelf underneath the glory-hole of the furnace; a sort of "tray" onto which melted glass often drips when it is being removed from the pots.

A traditionals task in the manufacture of drinking glassesor other stemmed objects. The job is usually entrusted to a skilled craftsman who is only slightly less qualified than the master.

A spool-shaped piece of glass which, as the rule, is used to unite a bstemwith its base. in a drinking glass, a bowl or a stemmed vase.

An especially prized glass paste, invented by Murano glassmakers during the first half of the XVIIth century. It was given this name because its manufacturing process was tricky and of uncertain success for even the most experienced glassmaker, and was therefore an "adventure". The preparation of "avventurina" is long and delicate, resulting in the formation within the vitreous mass of small copper crystals, foliated and shining ("stelle", or stars, from whence the name "stellaria" by which it was also known in the past), and was kept a closely guarded secret across the centuries by a small number of skilled glassmakers. The glass is removed from the furnace in blocks, after having been slowly cooled, and its characteristic appearance can be seriously impaired during remelting. Once cold,it is cut like a hard stone, or worked hot with special care. Ordinary "aventurine" treated with copper is a brownish colour with "stelle", whereas an even more highly valued type, known as "verderame" takes on a copper green colour of superb effect.


A metal die, giving a cross-relief effect on glass. Inside the die are small square-capped "points" which, when the glass is blown, result in the cross-relief pattern. By covering a PEA stamped in this way with a layer (COPERTA) of glass&emdash;using the SOMMERSO technique, for example&emdash;an effect is obtained whereby hundreds of minute air bubbles are trapped between two layers of glass.

The entire horizontal lower section of the traditional Murano glass furnace, made of heavy refractory material. It supported melting pots and plants, PALATI, NINFETTE and CROISIOLI. In the middle of the banco there was a hole approximately 30 to 40 cm. in diameter, known as the OCIO below, and allowing the flames to travel towards the main furnace area. The natural draught caused the flames to emerge from the various glory-holes, resulting in the circulation of the heat necessary to the CALDA operation and to the general working of the glass, and finally coming out of the CAVALLETTO and entering the annealing area.

An ancient term which probably referred to a type of a blown glass.

The name given to the upper section of a drinking glass, i.e. the part intended to hold liquids.

Rectangular aperture, the upper side of which is rounded. This is the main outer "entrance" to the oven, and it may vary dimension, according to the size of the object being made, which is placed in the oven using pipes, CANNE, or punties, PUNTELLO, which are rested in turn on the ANZINELLO.

A Murano word referring to the first lump of molten glass, just after its removal from the melting pot, before work on it begins. "Pastone", PARESON and LEVADA have a similar meaning.

BOLLE (Bullicante)
A particular decorative effect used in thick glass and consisting in a miriad of large and small"bubbles", distributed in layers within the thickness of the glass. It may be obtained in two manners: the first requires the glass that is being worked to be rolled on a metal surface covered with small sharp "points" so that, as they print a depression on the glass in its malleable state,it comes out with "holes" which will be successively covered with another layer of glass. The result is a real air bubble which remains "trapped" in correspondence to each "hole". A second system is to use a conic mould patterned with "points" on the inside in which to blow the glass which will come out with "holes". The subsequent overlay of transparent glass will make the "bubbles" themselves appear.

A traditional, basic glassmaking tool. A kind of pair of flexible tongs, resembling chimney tongs, and used for squeezing, modelling and shaping objects. It is the true "hand" of the glassmaster. Different types of borselle are used for specific modelling operations: - da siŔgar (segare: to saw, strozzare: to squeeze) - da pissegÓr (pizzicare: to pinch) - da gelosia ( terminating in small blades with metal criss-cross relief) - a scuel˛to (spoon-shaped) - a coppo ( tile-shaped) - a gÓtolo ( with a crosswise groove) - a do gÓtoli ( with two crosswise grooves) - a sguarat˛n ( with many crosswise grooves) - a spin de pesse ( herringbone) - lissie ( broad and flat, without moulding)

A large slab which is nowadays made of iron, but was once of bronze (hence its name). It is placed horizontally across a table or trestle, and allows various stages of the glassmaking process to be carried out. It is used for rounding off and preparing the PEA before blowing. Originally, marble was also used, leading to the name mÓlmoro.

The old name for a Murano glassmaker of modest professional standing, usually employed to make glassware for ordinary use (such as tumblers and jugs).

Used long ago to describe blown glassware for ordinary use.


A vitreous paste with a dark base, red when transparent, with multicoloured veins, imitating a variety of natural chalcedony, zoned agate. Invented on Murano in the mid-XVth century, probably by the great Angelo Barovier, its difficult preparation requires the addition of various metallic compounds to the glass mixture, in specific ways and at specific intervals. The secret of its manufacture, lost between the end of the XVIIIth century and the first half of the XIXth, was rediscovered by Lorenzo Radi, during the last century.

In early times, the places in which the mixture of silica and flux was calcinated (this operation was performed before the actual fusion took place inside the pot).

A basic operation carried out several times during the working of an object. The glass being worked, attached to the end of the blow-pipe or punty is inserted into the furnace, where it softens so that the glassmaker can make further amendments to its shape. This is a very brief operation (lasting on an average 10-15 seconds). The term "mezza calda" is used to indicate a shorter time of exposure to the fire.

Large pots used to transform plant ash, which was used at Murano in early times, into the flux suitable for preparing so-called Venetian crystal.

The blow-pipe: a basic tool in glassmaking. It consists of a tube, perforated from end to end, approximately 140 to 150 cm. long and 2 to 4 cm. in diameter. One end is slightly conical to assist blowing, whilst the other is sometimes thickened. The blow-pipe (discovered towards the 1st century A.D. in Syria it would seem) is used to blow glass, which is taken from the pot and "wound" around the thickened end. Blowing takes place whenever hollow objects (vases, bottles, etc.) are required. In old inventories blow-pipes are sometimes referred to as ferri buxi hollow rods. They are also or, simply called ferri.

Semi-finished product consisting in a "stick" of solid or hollow glass successively cut into segments of varying length. They were documented in glassmaking on Murano as early as the XVth century where there is note of a master "canÚr" (cane-maker). The working procedure is similar to that of bead production. The canes are used not only for the production of minute conteriebeads and "lamp-work beads" but also in the furnace , for example, when the canes are laid parallel side by side or cut into sections andgathered up in hotwork by the still malleable glass. (See also MURRINE)

A covered area next to the furnace, where the beechwood was kept before being placed in the stue (stoves) to dry (stuÓr) rapidly.

A large, semicircular metal spoon used to mix (missiar) or remove the molten material from the pot and transport it to other pots, or to spread it onto the BRONZINO for special operations (such as the making of glass sheets or quari&emdash;rectangular forms&emdash;for mirrors). There is documentary proof that this basic tool was already in use in 1348 (the Latin term is CACIAM AD TRAGETANDO).

A smaller version of the CASSA.

The lower part of the classic Murano oven, rectangular in shape. Beechwood was placed inside to burn, and the flames, passing through the OCIO (eye) of the BANCO, licked against the pots and spread throughout the furnace proper.

The type of box, made of refractory material and shaped like a prompter's box. In the traditional Murano furnaces, at the rear of which there was a TEMPERA or annealing area, this transported the flames which, after travelling through the OCIO and coming into contact with the pots, were directed towards the annealing zone in which the glass objects were cooled as necessary.

Hanging lamp typical to Murano, in the form of a tall cylinder into which oil was poured and slowly burned using a wick. It was used for indoor lighting. Vittore Carpaccio's painting. The Dream of St. Ursula depicts a well-known example of the cesendello.

In Venetian, bouquet of flowers. A Murano word which has been used since the 18th century for the classic Venetian chandelier which was decorated with glass flowers, leaves and branches. From this word derives the expression il liogo dele ci˛cche, the area in which Venetian chandeliers are assembled.

River pebbles containing quartz, reduced to a fine powder and used on Murano instead of sand from the first half of the 14th century in order to obtain silica. Pebbles from the Ticino River (c˛goli del Tesin) were of particular importance, thanks to their high silica content.

A technique used in the manufacture of glass sheet for windows and mirrors. It involves pouring molten glass directly into special rectangular moulds of various size (known in old slang as quari). This method was widely adopted towards the close of the 17th century at Murano, in France, and near Savona at Altare.

A small band of glass which remains attached to the tip of the blow-pipes or punties.

A large cylindrical pot with a concave base, usually in bronze or cast iron, containing molten glass that has been removed from the pots and will only be utilized as COTIZZO.

Also called DulcŔra, a jar with a lid, a type of Potiche like those made by Spanish glassmakers as sweetmeat containers (17th - 18th centuries). ConfitŔre are mentioned in an inventory dated 4th May 1496 from glassworks of Maria and Giovanni Barovier.

" Hot colouring without fusion" is a unique colouring process that was invented by Ercole Barovier at the end of the 1920's. During the working of the glass object, chemical substances (oxides and salts) or other elements are inserted between two layers of clear, incandescent glass. The high temperature causes special colour reactions and stunning chromatic effects, which are never the same from one object to the next.

COLORI IN FËGO (literally: coloured in fusion)
This expression is still used at Murano. it refers to glass that is coloured whilst still molten, using oxides or mineral salt.

Nowadays the word conterie is given to very small beads made by cutting slim, perforated glass canes into sections when cold, and and rounding off the small cylinders obtained when hot. They were once given a name of Latin origin, margarite, whereas the term conterie was used for larger beads which were also obtained from perforated canes but were threaded onto a skewer and rounded off close to the heat source. The conterie used for trading with natives of the colonial countries were made in Venice from the 17th century. Their name only dates from the17th century and derives from the Portuguese word conto (a monetary unit) or perhaps from the Latin comptus meaning "ornate".

The applications of an even layer of molten glass to the PEA or to a partly-shaped object. This technique is used to obtain the SOMMERSO and DOUBL╔ effect, and should not be confused with the LEVADA operation.

Imperfections in the cooled vitreous mass which look like "twisted ropes" and constitute a defect in fabrication. See also VESSIGHE, PONTE.

Literally, acconciatura or preparation. It is a kind of glass plate, 6 to 8 cm., on which the glass paste is stretched in order to obtain glass canes.

COT╠ZZO (Cotizza or cotticcia, i.e. not cooked through ).
A pile of large pieces of glass, usually the size of river pebbles. Cotizzo may also be obtained by pouring molten glass removed from the pots into the CONCHE and then leaving it to cool. During the cooling process the glass contracts and breaks into large pieces. Cotizzo is often re-utilized as a catalyst in the glass mixture. The 1766 Capitulary of the Murano Glass mentions "cotizzi of glass and crystal, as the shapeless glass mass taken from the pot is called. See Mariegola

CRISTALLO (Venetian crystal)
Clear, colourless glass obtained for the first time around the middle of the 15th century by the Murano glassmaker Angelo Barovier. He did not only use manganese as a decolouriser&emdash;this being a technique already in practice&emdash;but invented a purification method using ash flux and involving special processes at the melting stage. Venetian sodium crystal, unlike the later Bohemian potassium crystal and the English lead crystal, is suitable for long and complicated manual operations by the the master glassmaker.

Another word for the Venetian crystal discovered by Angelo Barovier in the mid-15th century.

A dialectical term indicating the iron oxide used to color the glass brown.

A small pot containing approximately 8 to 10 Kilograms of molten glass.

A sort of croupier's scoop, with a long handle, used to SPIUMARE or skim the surface of the molten glass inside the pots, and remove the impurities which have risen to the top.( See SPIUMAR.)


A two-wheeled trolley with a long handle at the rear and horizontal two-pronged fork at the front. When an old, broken pot had to be replaced, an incandescent pot was placed on the fork. The diavolo ("devil") was then pushed on to the BANCO, demolishing the glory-hole, and removing the ASIO, in order to put the new pot inside with the fire still alight.

A French word referring to an object made from two layers of glass, usually of different colours, which may be cut when cold.



A type of decoration obtained by applying hot vitreous threads around the walls of blown glass objects. These threads are then combed with a special tool in order to create repeated festoons. Once reheated and blown, these can be incorporated into the wall of the vase to produce a smooth surface. This decorative technique was introduced to the Murano glasswork at the end of the 16th century or in the 17th century, but we do not know what it was called then. The term Fenicio (Phoenician) was adopted during the 19th century when similar decorations were found in pre-Roman, Phoenician and Egyptian glassware. The word graffito was also used (see also VETRI PIUMATI and A PETTINE) and then abandoned.

A simple, flat iron bat about 30cm. in length, with a handgrip at one end. It is tapped on the glass piece or onto the pipe, causing a vibration which helps shift the MORSO from the pipes or punties.

FIG└ (CiapÓr el figÓ)
A Murano slang term referring to a defect in the red colour (obtained with cadmium and selenium minerals) occuring when the shade obtained, instead of being brilliant and clear, is opaque and liver coloured (figÓ: liver, in Venetian). Literally, ciapar el figÓ means that the glass has turned the colour of liver.

A refined hot-working technique invented at Murano in the first half of the 16th century. The complex working of "filigree" blown glass objects requires the use of crystal rods prepared beforehand and containing vitreous lattimo (milk glass) or colored threads in smooth or spiral design. There are various types: reticello or netted filigree, with a delicate thread net inside the crystal wall; a retortoli, twisted filigree with threads twisted into a spiral pattern (also called zanfirico after the Venetian antique dealer Antonio Sanquirico, who commissioned numerous copies of antique glass pieces made using this technique in the first half of the 19th century). In recent decades, new and original types of filigree have been invented at Murano. Today the decoration which has parallel rods with straight internal threads worked so that they take on a diagonal slant, is called "half filigree". Towards the middle of the 16th century, as we are informed by the MARIEGOLA DEI FIOLERI, redexello and retortoli glass objects were already being produced.The filigree, or the reticello is obtained using slim glass rods containing threads of opaque, usually white, glass. These rods, which are pencilshaped, are placed side by side on a refractory plate and heated in the furnace until they melt and incorporate to become a single piece. The "slab" obtained in this way is then "wrapped" around a cylinder of clear, incandescent glass so that only the internal threads (white or coloured) are visible. The glass is then blown as usual, and various objects (vases, glasses, etc.) modelled. In the case of the classic reticello technique, the operation described above is completed in two successive hot-working phases, the result of which is a criss-cross pattern. Considerable skill and artistic talent are needed to carry out this operation successfully.

Classic glass decoration which usually comprises a hot application to the upper rim of goblet, vase or glass. The rim may vary in thickness and colour (either opaque or transparent) and is purely ornamental. When the pattern is undulating, it is known as MORISE.

The penultimate decoration on the lower part of a classic Venetian chandelier, the form of which may vary. The FINALE is often attached by silver thread to the FIOCCO.

The lowest ornamental detail on a chandelier, often shaped like an upholsterer's tassle (from which the word fiocco derives), and attached to the FINALE with silver thread. The fiocco is sometimes shaped like an olive, a small ball, etc.

A very thin square of pure gold, usually 8cm by 8cm in size, which is "lifted" by the glass in its molten state during the initial phases of work. The gold may then be covered by a successive layer of transparent glass. If the glass is blown, the gold leaf is pulverized and creates a suggestive effect of "golden dust". The oldest known Murano glass pieces with gold leaf date back to the second half of the XVth century. The use of silver leaf was introduced in the XIXth century, and also required a successive layer of glass to prevent undesired oxydation.

Fiole, or fiale, was the Venetian name for bottles blown in common glass.

FIOL╚R (fiolÓrio)
An archaic (8th century) term referring to the glassmaker responsible for blowing fiale (hollow blown glass objects).

The basic tool of the forcellante, the person who specializes in annealing glass objects. It is an iron rod approximately three meters long, with a two-pronged fork at one end. The forcellante uses the tool to "manoevre" the still-hot glass pieces, which he tranfers to the cooling chamber and positions according to the annealing requirements.

This word was already in use during the early 15th century and applies to a die which can be opened. The term is still used today at Murano (cf. STAMPO).

A glass bowl, often decorated with FILI, MORISE and glass flowers, concealing the hollow metal frame into which the branches, leaves, flowers and other ornaments which go to make up a Venetian chandelier are inserted. Below the fondino are the PASSASĎRZE, FINALE and FIOCCO, in that order.

The name given on Murano to the glass mass produced by the initial fusion, which was once carried out separately from the refining process. The two stages are now combined in a single process. Known in French as fritte, in English as frit and Germany as fritte, this constitutes the preliminary calcination of the silica and flux mixture which later becomes glass.

A suggestive effect of slight clouding obtained within the walls of the so-called SOMMERSI. It is obtained by exposing the object being worked to wood smoke and by covering it with a successive layer of glass. A similar procedure also used the "fumes" of stannous chloride to obtain iridescence. (see IRIDE).


The stem, which may take various forms (even zoomorphic), supporting the bowl of a glass and uniting it with the foot.

In the glassmaker hierarchy, the youngest apprentice, who is given the simplest and most humble tasks.

Between the 13th and 18th centuries, the leader of the glassmakers' guild, who acted as representative of the glassworks' owners, by whom he was elected each year.

"Ice". A decoration consisting in an apparent cracking of the surface of blown glass, obtained by dipping it in water during the working procedure. The reaction which occurs, a sort of "puckering", produces an "icy" effect. This technique has been known since at least the XVIIIth century.

This name is given to an ancient experiment which still today is demonstrated to visitors "pour Úpater les bourgeois". A "drop" of molten glass is made to fall into a bucket of water. Its rapid cooling (in just a few seconds) makes the molecules of the glass assemble in an "allotropic" state, different from the usual pattern of the molecules themselves. If the "tail" of this drop is broken, it causes within it something of a "reaction", that is the molecules tend to realign themselves into their usual pattern. The result is the complete "pulverrization" of the drop. Tha principle is same as that of " Safety glass".

An Italianized term ( from the French gobelet and the English goblet) denoting drinking vessel in general GRAFFITO (See FENICIO)

Glass fragments the size of coarse cooking salt grain, or fine gravel, used to produce special colour effects. Smaller sized granzioli are called MACIE, whilst larger glass fragments are known as granzioloni.

A dialectical term which indicates the calcified and leached "tartar of the barrels" which in the past was added to the PARTIA , the mixture of glass components,in order to give it greater brilliance and transparency. Today chemical compounds are used.



A difficult Murano glassmaking technique. It consisted of welding together two hot open-sided blown glass objects, generally of different colours, along their two edges of equal circumference, in order to obtain different colour zones in the same object.

Glass covered with a thin vitreous layer of a different color. Frequently used in the XXth century, it is in fact a variation of the so-called "DoublÚ glass".

Diamond point engraving was introduced to Murano for the first time by Vincenzo d'Angelo on mirrors in 1534 or 1535, and in 1549 this same Vincenzo obtained a privilegio or patent for engraving mirrors and blown glass with a diamond point. With the fašon de Venise, Venetian style glassware, it spread throughout Europe, especially the Tyrol and the Netherlands. Engraving with a small wheel of abrasive stone or metal derives from hard stone engraving, and was applied with spendid result in Germany and Bohemia during the 17th century. At the end of the same century it was also introduced to Venice with the arrival of the German engravers.

A word used to denote glass that is not entirely transparent.

INFORNARE (infornamento, caricamento )
This verb refers to the insertion of the glass mixture into the pots in which the melting process subsequently takes place.

A kind of long-necked, handless jug suitable as a recipient for liquids. Globular in shape, it had a conical foot which often protruded into the base of the jug itself. Like the MOIOLI or MUIOLI, it was a mass-produced object of little aesthetic value, manufactured at Murano by "second class" glassmakers called BUFFADORI. In his dictionary of Venetian dialect, Boerio defined the inghistera as "a measure of wine sold in small quantities in the province of Verona".

IMPIRARESSA ( from impirÓr: to string)
Women who in their spare time used to string beads using "fans" of long needles which had narrow threads at one end. The necklaces made in this way were returned to the bead manufacturers to be sold.

This word is used for the "enamelled" effect the pots acquire when they are exposed to "glass vapours" inside the lighted furnace.

╠RIDE (irisÚ)
The "rainbow" effect generally obtained by fumigating the hot object with stannous chloride salts.




Opaque, white "milk" glass, similar in appearance to porcelain. Milk glass suiable for blowing was invented at Murano in the mid-15th century, with the aim of imitating the first examples of Chinese porcelain which had just arrived in Europe, where the secret of its manufacture was still unknown. The opacifying substance then used was a "compound of lead and tin", which was later replaced by other elements. It was named "porcelain glass" by Angelo Barovier (15th century).

"Lampwork" . The treatment of a solid glass cane which is shaped and heated on the flame of a spout fueled by gas in order to obtain small figures, objects or decorated beads. Hollow blown canes are also worked by lamp with appropriate utensils toobtain beads with particularly sophisticated effects of color and decoration. See also SUPIALUME. The term "Lampwork" derives from the use, in the past, of a flame from an oil lamp.

A traditional Murano term relating to the removal of molten glass from the pot, using the blow-pipe already loaded with the PEA or PALLINA, in order to obtain a layer of glass. This operation may be repeated several times once the lower coating of glass has "tempered", i.e. cooled slightly. In furnace maintenance operations, the phrase levar o mÚtter pÓstelli instead referred to the increase or reduction in size of the glory-hole, through the application of a series of layers of refractory material.


M└CIE (maciŔtte, mÓcie fine)
Glass fragments, usually colored, which are "wound" around white glass, giving it the colour of the fragments ( the word derives from macchia: stain). Maciette, macie fine: fragments of ever finer grain.

Maestro (master) is a fairly recent word for the person in charge of a team of artistic glassmakers, who is responsible for the running of the PIAZZA, the glass production area.

A sort of hollow semisphere with a handle, this tool ( made entirely of wood) is used for rounding off the PEA and giving it an even shape. It derives from the French word mailloche (mallet) from whence the verb magiossÓr.

A glass object of Murano origin, encountered in various inventories, but hard to identify.

The name once given to the head of the team responsible for drawing out the hot glass cane, the first stage in the manufacture of beads. He was also called tiracanna ("cane-drawer").

A Venetian word for glass beads. It derives from the Latin word margaritae and referred to beads made from perforated cane.

The name given during the 17th and 18th centuries to glass bead manufacturers. If in addition they produced larger beads, they were also called SUPIALUME.

MARI╔GOLA (also called: matricola or capitolare)
A sort of "logbook" or fundamental volume for Murano glassmakers in which the name of new masters and glassworks owners were entered, together with regole (from whence mariegola: mater regulae) or rules concerning employment, dismissals and all that related to the glassmakers' guild.Glassmakers were subject to statute as a guild or confraternity.The earliest documentary evidence dates from 1271.

An operation which consists in to taking the blow-pipe, already loaded with PEA, and rolling it along the BRONZINO to ensure that the glass will be of even thickness and that, if there is more than one COPERTA (layer), these are well joined together.

A Renaissance term probably referring to a bowl with a foot.

Half-moulding: a technical artifice consisting of the application of a glass cap to the bottom of the glass object, still attached to the pipe and pressing it into an open mould obtain ribbing of a certain thickness. This decorative technique was used in Murano glassworks from the 15th century at least and, before that in Roman times.

Millefiori or rosette are glass canes, either solid or perforated, with layers of different colours from which small cylinders are cut, decorated in cross-section with characteristic decorative motifs of concentric stars. Produced at Murano from the end of the 15th century, they were use to make beads and blown or solid glass objects. This form of decoration was widely practised during the 19th century.

A Veneto term no longer in use, which referred to ordinary drinking glasses, simple to manufacture, and usually made by BUFFADORI.

A traditional Murano decoration consisting of an undulating design, made by applying a thread of hot glass to a surface and "pinching" it with BORSELLE DA PISSEGAR. In practical terms, is actually comprises a twist of glass which is placed on the object being made and fashioned into the characteristic undulating pattern.

The portion of glass attached to the blow-pipes or punties.

MURRINO (mosaico a caldo)


A small pot containing 30 to35 kilograms of molten glass. The ninfetta is an even smaller pot, which can be approximately 12 kilograms of glass.0


"Eye" (see BANCO).

An archaic term referring to glass pieces that had not been blown.

Perfume jar; an archaic term found in 12th and 13th centuriy documents and old Venetian chronicles.

Thin gold leaf applied with glue to the wall of glass objects which have already been cooled , and engraved with a pointed tool to obtain a decorative motif. This technique was introduced to Murano in the second half of the 15th century and resumed in the latter half of the 19th century. This time, a more complicated version of the technique revived, one which had been used in Paleochristian glass of the 3rd and 4th centuries A.D., in which the engraved gold leaf was imprisoned between two layers of glass.

A commemorative medal bearing the arms of Murano, the PodestÓ and the four Deputies. A limited number of these were coined each year in (gold and silver), and were offered to the Doge and other important figures. The name osella (bird) was a reminder of the era in which birds were offered as recognition of Murano's vassallage to Venice.


Glassmaker's tools, similar to BORSELLE but terminating in two wooden sticks. They are used for "opening" a vase and whenever the use of metallic implements might result in the glass being "scratched". Paciofeti: smaller than real paci˛fi,they are used for " opening" delicates objects (drin;king glasses, small vases, etc.).

Pots holding more than 40 kilograms. Reports of Tera de Pathelis&emdash;refractory material used for making these pots&emdash;date as far back as 1280. These pots are also known as vasi fusori in Italian.

The largest of all pots used at Murano, approximately 1 meter in diameter and containing around 150 kilograms of molten glass.

A wooden spatula used by the glassmaker whilst working the glass, to help him shape the object.

Also called COLLETTO .

A kind of translucent coating which sometime appears on glasses and other objects, when inexact proportions of the ingredients have been used. Another phrase used is "el vero spua", i.e. " the glass spits out"

A small glass cylinder, often with a small bobŕche beneath it, into which candles can be inserted. It may form part of a candlestick or is found on the arms of a chandelier.

PARAISĎN (lÚva parais˛n)
A term borrowed from the French, referring to the extraction of the glass and its preparation for blowing. "Leva paraison!" was the first order given by the MAISTRO DE CANNA to his assistants to start working on the beads.

A definition which describes the rapid cooling (or the rapid heating) of a glass object. It occurred in the TEMPERA, where the completed piece was quickly moved to allow a successive application of glass or to anneal the piece quickly for a variety of reasons. This task was generally the duty of the "forcellante" (see FORCELLA).

Long ago, this term was given to a long-handled instrument used to spiumare el vere, i.e. remove impurities which rose to the surface of the glass during the melting process.

A term deriving from the word partita (division). In Murano,it refers to the recipes used in preparing different types of glass, giving the quantities of the various ingredients, together with instructions for their usage and for melting. The libreto de le partie (recipe book) was often handed down from father to son and jealously guarded to prevent rivals from copying techniques and colours.

PARTIA NEGADA (miscela "annegata")
A "drowned mixture", term which indicates the presence in the glass of lumps of sand which might have occurred, for example, during the melting of the glass or due to an error in the mixture.The partia negada also occurs when the fusion is incomplete or imperfect.

Venetian slang, a space large enough for a mouse to pass through. A spool-like cylinder, narrowed slightly towards the center, and in serving as a divider between the FINALE and the FONDINO on classical Venetian chandeliers.

PASTELLI (levÓr, mÚtter pastelli)
During maintenance operations on the furnaces, in particular the traditional Muranese furnaces, "levÓr or mŔtter pastelli" consisted in enlarging or reducing the glory hole by applying or removing successive layers of refractory material.

Refractory material or clay handled rather like a long sausage, and used to reduce the size of the glory-hole or to cover up damaged areas on the exterior of the melting furnace. (See also PASTELLI).

The name given by the Venetians to rosary beads, which were often made in glass in the same way as CONTERIE. The craftsmen who made these beads were called PATERNOSTR╚RI.

Also called PALLINA. The first stage in the making of a hollow glass object. The word originates from PERA, for the blob of glass referred to is pear-shaped. Once attached to the blow-pipe the pea is rolled (MARMORIZZATA) and rounded (MAGIOSSATA) as required.

"Bead".On Murano the term has two meanings: 1. It indicates a small cylinder of hollow glass which, when it is cut into small sections, is the beginning of the preparation of the actual"glass beads". 2. It also indicates a piece of solid cane which, together with other pieces, and sections, etc., forms the "fabric" of MURRINO glass or of MOSAIC glass.

A slang term indicating a flower (usually for a chandelier) executed with the ALLA PRIMA technique.

At Murano this term refers tothe working team (from four to eight persons) and all that is needed in order to produce an object. The piazza forms the basic production unit. Completely independent, it is capable of making an entire piece from start to finish. The head of the piazza is the MAESTRO, to whom a considerable amount of responsability (and authority) is given by the glassworks management.

P╠E (piede)
"Foot": the trumpet-shaped lower part of a drinking glass, which gives height to the bowl.

PI╔RA (pietra) DE POSO
A usually rectangular block of refractory material or soft stone (piera de poso) on which the cold glass PERLE are laid, to be successively exposed to the heat of the furnace. The PERLE or the CANNETTE will be melted together to allow the successive shaping of an object. (see POSO)

Enamel painting: painting of the wall of glass vases which have already been finished in the furnace, with enamels, that is coloured substances essentially composed of powdered glass mixed into a paste using a fatty substance. Once, in order to melt the wall of the vase and the enamel into a single mass, making the enamel indelible, the painted object was re-attached to punty and returned to the heat source. Nowadays,it is placed in the annealing furnace, since the enamels can melt at lower temperature. Records show that this decorative art was carried out at Murano between the end of the 13th century and the first half of the 15th century. In subsequent centuries it met with varying popularity, and is still practised today.

Glassware with special decorative details, also described as A PETTINE or A PENNE, GRAFFITO and FENICIO. This ornamentation of ancient origin was favoured by the Romans and, from the 16th century, by the Venetians.

PËNTE (punte)
In Muranese slang the term "points" indicates small pieces of refractory material which have accidentally fallen into the pots and are then gathered in the PEA. The PONTE are removed by the glassmaster at the beginning of the hotwork using small tongs.

Solid iron rods, approximately 140 cm. long and from 10 to 30 mm. in diameter, onto which an object is "attached" whilst it is being worked. The Murano term rapidly came into usage in France (pontil) and in England (punty).

A slab of refractory material, the same shape and size as the glory-hole, which it blocks during the melting process. When placed across the glory-hole it prevents heat from escaping.

In the jargon of Murano glassworking it means the "pause" between the execution of one piece and the next. The POSA is determined by the master usually and consists in only a few minutes' rest.

Living rock, also called "galtella", and described in old chronicles as "soft rocks taken from the Verona Quarries, used for constructing the BANCO of the glass furnace" "Poso stone" is still used for certain workings. (See PIERA).

From 15th century inventory: a type of tumbler (from Latin potere: to drink).

This operation consists in picking up a hot object (e.g. goblet), with a punty when it has already been "opened" and the lower part completed in order to shape the upper part. This operation is generally carried out halfway throught the working of the article.

From the slang word "p¨lega"= small bubble. A semi-opaque or translucent glass with a rough surface, and with tiny bubbles obtained by using special ingredients (bicarbonate of soda, petrol). A modern invention, typical of the 1920's, and attributed to Napoleone Martinuzzi.


A curious glass object, a sort of "toy" for the glassworkers'children. It consisted in a sort of funnel whose long end was covered in a thin layer of glass, so flexible that by blowing and aspiring the air this extremely subtle "membrane" would vibrate slightly and emit a characteristic raucous sound.Used at feasts and for carnival, today the "quanquantricola" has practically disappeared.


An old term referring to a tool used for tending the furnace.

An old term for furnace tools.

This operation consists of "skimming" the surface of molten glassto remove impurities and other undesiderable elements.

A glass "button-hole", modelled whilst the glass is hot, from which tassels, pendants and other ornamental glass elements are suspended.

From information given in the MARIEGOLA ( statute of the glassmakers'guild), we know that towards the middle of the xvi th century, fine blown glass pieces a redexello (so called because the pattern is similar to that of a fisherman's rete or net) were being produced in the island. Perhaps the idea for this technique really did spring from these nets, a familiar sight for seafaring people like the Venetians. The glass is made in the same way as filigrana, with rounded canes which contain a white, opaque thread, being twisted in opposite directions. in a difficult and risky process, carried out whilst the glass is being hot-worked, the threads become "crossed". The shapes to which this technique is applied are extremely simple. Glass lovers can therefore give their full attention to the remarkable qualities of this "woven glass" without being distracted by complicated forms.

Technical Muranese term with widerange significance: it indicates the exposure to furnace fire of an already shaped object. In particular this procedure is used when an object is decorated after cooling with low fusion-point enamels (inferior to that of the object being decorated) so that these enamels permanently adhere to the vitreous surfaces they are applied to.

An old term referring to the canes used for ZANFIRICO or

Thin ribbing obtained by blowing a glass object inside an open die. The piece can also be twisted whilst still hot to produce rigadin ritorto or twisted ribbing.

This was the tool used instead of the punty to support a glass piece worked at the master's bench, after having removed it from the pipe used for blowing. It comprised a fairly long iron rod, with more than one "point" at the end, and formed at its extremity in such a way that the glass could be held and then easily released when modelling had been completed. In old documents the "rocca" is defined in Latin as "INSTRUMENTUM QUO IN CONFLANDIS VASIS URINARIIS UTUNTUR".

RËSCANO (cßli maggiore)
A vegetable substance which was obtained from acquatic plants rich in salt, which in ancient times substituted the sodium or potassium carbonate used today.The ROSCANO was also called "calý maggiore" or "salsoda soda".

Another word for MILLEFIORI, tiny fragments of round canes, often multicoloured and with different patterns. See also PERLA. "Rosette" and "Rosechiero" is also found, as a term, in a furnace inventory by Marietta Barovier , daughter of Angelo (end of tne XVth century).

Ruby red, especially loved by the Murano glassmakers and produced by using a gold solution as a colouring agent. The date and the place of the invention of this precious type of glass are contested, but the secret of its production was known at Murano in the second half of the 14th century, as we know from a recipe manuscript still preserved today. In the past (1536c.) it was also called rosenghiero (rosei clari coloris, cf. Gianbattista della Porta of Naples in his Magia Naturale of 1589).

RUGIADA (rugiadoso)
A special decorative effect, created in 1938 by Ercole Barovier and patented by the Barovier & Toso glassworks. It consisted in applying minute fragments of glass during hotwork to give the object a brilliant effect. Applied onto luminaires the RUGIADA allows a sort of refraction of artificial light with excellent decorative effects. The term is also used as the adjective RUGIADOSO.

Known in Venetian as r¨i, these were flat discs of glass, used for windows in the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance. During the 19th century they were made at Murano in polichromatic filigree, for ornamental purpose and using bright colours. They were also called ruodi (1405) or ruoi (1417) and vissighette.


"Glassmakers's soap" as manganese dioxide was popularly known, due to its decolouring properties.

This operation consists of rotating the blow-pipe, loaded with PEA, at the speed required. The effect of rotating and spinning the glass, whilst it is still soft, is such that it expands to the length desired by the glassmaker.

Indicates the blowing of a a very thin, usually coloured glass, which is successively used in thin blades or scale-like fragments for the decoration of various objects during hotwork.

An old term referring to the glassmaker who created artistic glass, as opposed to the MAISTRO DE CANNA, who specialized in making beads or CONTERIE.

The glass master's bench. A simple wooden bench, with two parallel bars. The glassmaker rests the blow-pipe on the bench and, rotating it backwards and for wards, performs a kind of "horizontal lathing" movement which allows the glass objects being made to be evenly shaped.

The name given in a number of old Murano inventories to a glass object that was transparent and coloured, but neither decorated or engraved.

A long, heavy iron rod, slightly curved at one end and used to scorsÓr, that is, to clean out the pots.

The name given long ago to the covered areas where the melting process took place.

A iron tripod supporting a flat, horizontal sheet of metal, on which the rear parts of the pipes&emdash;CANNE, SPEI and PUNTELLI&emdash;are laid whilst the front section is being exposed to the heat source.

In the hierarchy of the PIAZZA or artistic glassmaking team, this is the master's chief assistant, with whom he directly works. He carries out tasks requiring considerable technical skill and artistry, and is capable of substituting the master at times.

In the Murano glassmaking hierarchy, the third in command in the PIAZZA (coming behind the master and the SERVENTE). A young apprentice who is already fairly experienced and who is capable of performing tasks requiring a certain degree of skill.

Indicates a defect (for example, a puckering) of the hot glass when it comes into contact with a cold surface (for example the BRONZINO).

Called ZÚMBOLA in early times, this refers to a finishing detail which oil the SI╚LA but is larger. It may be cavÓda, i.e. directly obtained from part of the glass object being made, or else butÓda, i.e. added to it.

A small, narrow piece of glass used to separate one section from another; similar to the AVOLIO.

A 15th century term applied to an open box with side bars, filled with soda flux. SIV╔IRA or SOLI╔RA in Venetian: barrow.

Indicates a large "drop" of solid glass made to cool and which allows the quality of the fusion to be examined. Traces of CORDE or VESSIGHE, etc., indicate to the FONDITORE that he must make corrections to the fusion itself.

A piece of glass is said to be "smaria" and that is imperfect because it has come into contact with cold water. Similar to the concept of "Sfrena".

"Blowing by mouth". The term indicates the "classic" technique of glassworking when a hollow object is desired. The shaping of a hollow object is executed by the "maestro" with the help of his assistants using the CANNA DA SOFFIO, BORSELLE and TAGIANTI. Glassblowing constitutes one of the most revolutionary inventions in glassmaking technology and its discovery dates back between the I century B.C. and the first years after Christ, perhaps in Syria. Glassblowing invented in the glass centers of the near Mediterranean Orient was largely applied in Roman, Islamic and Venetian glasswork. Glassblowing today is not only manual as in artistic glass, but is also done by automatic machinery.

A manual technique still in use on Murano and dating back to the Roman era. It consists in blowing a PEA into a mould which is usually made of two or three hinged parts. On Murano they are usually made of cherry wood. Today cast iron and other metals are also used. The mould may also be made of a single conic piece usually in bronze or in brass. The first type of mould gives the object a definitive form whereas the second type imprints a decorative pattern on the blown part which will later be shaped.

A Murano term relating to the direct introduction of a colourant to the vitreous mass during the melting process. During the early 14th century the word also applied to a tool used in the CALCHERA.

Literally to "remove the foam", that is to remove, with the appropriate tool, the surface layer of the glass in fusion, also REBOLAR. It is an operation similar to what housewives do when they skim off certain "impurities" which rise to the surface of meat broth. (See CROZZOLA).

In Italian, spiedi (pits or skewers). Narrow solid blow-pipes approximately 150 cm. in length, with a diameter varying 8 to 12 mm. Together with puntys (of larger diameter) and blow-pipes, these constitute the Murano glassmaker's basic work tools.

A simple iron bar about 30 cm. in length and 2 cm. in diameter, used in the initial stages of shaping a glass object.

A hollow iron mould, originally made of bronze, into which the PEA is blown in order to expand and be given its shape. Various types of moulds are used, and may have ribbing patterns or vertical grooves, the BALLOTTON relief effect, or sŔrci (horizontal rings). The mould is said to be a fermo when the type of internal ribbing it contains does not allow the PEA to be "turned" inside it.

The "strawberry die" is similar to the stampeto a gemma, although the final effect rather more closely resembles a raspberry than a strawberry. Also used as a small decorative die.

A small, concave circular die impressed like a seal onto molten glass in order to obtain small semicircular decorations - gemme (jewels).

Between the 16th and 18th centuries, the name given to the person responsable for the selling of glassware.

A workman, often of humble extraction, also called furlan (friulano: native of Friuli, a nearby region), who was responsible for looking after the furnace and was sometimes also in charge of annealing. If prevented by law from practising the glassmaking art, foresti (persons who where not of Murano origin) had to content themselves with the meaner tasks. The workers from Friuli were particulary industrious, hence this title.

STUA (stuÓr)
The term STUA (in Italian "stufa", stove) indicates the specific place where, through the 1940's, the beechwood, cut into 120 cm lengths, would be piled. The wood thus stored was then dried in this room ready to be put into the CASTRA where it burned and kept the glass furnace at a constant temperature. On Murano the term "legna stuÓda" meant that the beech was properly dried and ready for use. The wood was imported from Dalmatia even in ancient times. Transportation was effected by sea on the typical sail-driven "trabaccoli".

A conical iron instrument inside which a small rod, also made of iron is welded. It is used for "emergency" blowing, when the object is no longer attached to the blow-pipe.

A Murano term referring to glassmakers who used the lamp technique. Through "blowing" air onto the flame of the oil lamp, its heat was increased, and allowed them to shape large beads. This art was in existence from the XVIth century with a "mariegola" and specific regulations.

A Venetian word for the SOFFIATA. It indicates a sort of hollow "ball" which is prepared during the fusion to check for the existence of CORDE, VESSIGHE, or other imperfections that might require an adequate intervention.

SVENTOL└R An operation similar to SBRINDONAR, which consists in making a vase spin rapidly in order to "open" its superior end. A typical example is the very impressive procedure used to obtain a PIATTO BACCELLATO.


A glassmaker's tool, shaped like a square-bladed knife and used to shape the object during the working of glass.

A traditional Venetian word meaning scissors, which were used to tagliare or cut glass in the initial stage of its working. A variation is TAGI└NTE TONDO ("round scissor") used for special cuts.

An incorrectly used Murano word, indicating the annealing of glass, or else referring to the furnace in which this operation takes place.

In the Muranese sense of the word,to take a "pause" between one LEVADA and the next, or between one MARMORIZZADA and the next to allow the first layer of glass to harden slightly. The TEMPORIZZAR procedure obviously lasts only a fraction of a minute.

19th century Murano slang applied to goblets or vases with a base, on which the stem took the form of a stylized dolphin or swan.

A special method of coloring glass A SPEGNAURO by means of a "tociada". Using the tongs called BORSELLE DA PISSEGAR, the glass is wound around the punty and mixed together to obtain a homogeneous colouring.

TOCI┴R (tociÓda)
In the Muranese glassworking slang this means to "dip", that is to cover a PEA which is initially clear or a solid piece of glass in MACIE, using vitreous powders or gold leaf so that the glass becomes coloured or gives a different effect.

Corresponds in the glassworking vocabulary to the operation of immerging molten glass in water in order to "wash it": and , as ancient texts describe, "this to remove from them a certain salinity which greatly inhibits the crystal and darkens it...." Today the term also indicates the "passage" of a molten mass of glass from one pot to another.



A medieval word for glass stones imitating real gems. At avery early date, their makers joined up with the guild of PATERNOSTRERI

A term which indicates the presence of threads , blisters or imperfections such as bubbles within a finished object.

A wholly Muranese variation of MURRINE. Here, instead of tiny glass tesserae, the maker uses CANNE or rods that are solid and cylindrical or flat. These are placed next to each other in different colour combinations, melted and then blown into the form of vases, amphoras and goblets. The effect produced, and the difficulties involved in this technique, make these objects of considerable value.

Glass that is irregularly opaque on the surface resulting in a suggestive finish. It is obtained by irregularly spraying a glue on the surface of cold glass which has already been annealed, and then corroding it with a hydrofluoric acid.

A special effect of glass consisting in the apparent "cracking" of the vitreous wall. It is a procedure similar to glass finished"A GHIACCIO" and was widely used in France in the XIXth century.

"Ice glass". A decoration which consists of apparent cracks in the wall of a blown glass object, obtained by submerging the object in water whilst it is still hot.

Also known as SOMMERSO ("submersion"), this is a decorating technique used to obtain several layers of glass in a single object. The layers are often of different colours, resulting in unusual chromatic effects. "Submersion" was especially popular during the 1930's. It is obtained by submerging the glass, still attached to the pipe, in a series of pots containing glass of different colours. Vetro incamiciato usually has thinner layers than vetro sommerso. In France this technique, which is known as DOUBL╚ (doubled glass), was applied with great effect by cutting below the surface and reaching the glass layer below.

"Hammered glass",the surface treatment of already annealed and cold glass by grinding the piece in small strokes over the entire surface. It is a technique used especially by the Venini glassworks.

VETRO "MURRINO" (hot-worked mosaic glass)
A term used incorrectly to describe a traditional type of Murano glass that was originally made by glass craftsmen from Alexandria. It consists of a type of hot-worked intarsia or mosaic, that is, small pieces of glass, often shaped ad hoc, which are melted in such a way that the various tesserae join together under fusion. MILLEFIORI, also called ROSETTE, are a traditional variation of "murrina". A particularly difficult decorative technique, practised during the Roman era, it was revived at Murano at the beginning of the 1880's by Vincenzo Moretti at the Salviati glass workshop. The MILLEFIORI (thousand flowers) glass mosaic is obtained by juxtaposing sections of glass canes, forming a multicoloured decorative motif in the centre throughout the whole length, and fusing them at the heat source. It seems to derive from the Latin term "Murrha" which indicated in ancient times a mysterious natural stone which emitted - it was said - a sweet perfume.

"Silken glass", glass over the surface of which hydrofluoric acid is thinly applied in a uniform manner thus giving a"translucent" effect to the object.

"Venetian glass". Its components are essentially silicon bioxide as vitrifier and crystalline component (made up of quarry sand and in the past of quartzy river stones which were broken and ground, the so-called COGOLI) and as melting agent (once supplied by the ashes of seaside plants such as the ROSCANO) and currently replaced by sodium carbonate (using the Solvay process) or potassium carbonate. Limestone is used as a "stabilizer", other minerals may serve as "colourisers", "decolourisers", "opacifying agents" and "refiners", while other substances are used to confer specific qualities to the glass. This is not the place for a complete description of the components but we must mention that Venetian glass is a "long" glass, that is it remains in workable condition for a sufficiently long interval of time before needing re-exposure to the fire of the furnace to be newly "softened". This allows complex manipulations, additions of more glass, "cutting" the glass whilst hot, and other typical characteristics of the Venetian glassmaking tradition.

Glass for ordinary use, documented in 1405 at Murano, but about which no more specific information is available.

The words has two meanings: 1 the best process system of making a glass object, and 2 the upper interior part of traditional Murano ovens (or "vault").





A 16th - 17th century Murano term referring to jars used for slow-pouring liquids.

In an antique inventory, this term was applied to certain types of crystal canes.