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All About Venetian Glass Beads

by Ador Talukdar

posted in Shopping and Product Reviews

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For centuries, Venice has been famous for its glassworks. If you are lucky enough to get to wander the streets of this magnificent city, you will be stunned by the amount of different glass products which are on show. One of the most popular products for tourists is the jewelry which is made from glass beads. Alternatively, Venetian crafts people choose to use these glass beads to decorate sculptures. It is not unusual to see a range of different sculpture in shops which are covered in these beads, including shop mannequins, animal shapes, and funky designs like lips. Because Venice's glassworks produce a number of different types of beads, there is a lot of variety available. Here are some of the types of beads which are produced in Venice.
Aventurine beads
Aventurine beads were first created by the Murano glassworks in the mid 17th century, and became the envy of jewelry makers around the world. These beads look like they contain tiny flecks of gold or silver, which help to give the glass a rare and expensive appearance. The secret to these beads is that the glass has been combined with copper or a copper salt, which has clumped together when the hot glass cools down. Different concentrations of these salts can be used to give very different effects.
Millefiori glass beads
Although the millefiori glass technique has existed since before the 7th century AD, the technique was really made famous by Venetian glassworkers. The name actually derives from the Italian words "mille" meaning thousand, and "fiori" meaning flowers. The beads are multicolored with very distinct patterns. They are made by producing special glass canes or rods which only display the patterns from the cut ends. Once the rods are sliced, the cut ends will all display identical patterns.
Lattimo Beads
Lattimo beads are made of glass which has had a white or colored dye added to it, so that the glass looks almost opaque. Light can pass through the bead; however it cannot be seen clearly. The beads are known as lattimo which is derived from the Italian word for milk (latte) because they look as though they the glass has had milk poured into it.
Imitation gemstones
These beads are designed to look just like gemstones, but without the high cost. Many designers use imitation gemstones in their jewelry designs when they want a piece to look exquisite, but they also want it to be affordable. Imitation gemstones often weigh less than their real life counterparts, so they can also be used in designs where the weight of the real stone would make the design impractical.
If you do travel to Venice, you can visit the museum of glass to see how Venetian glass has developed and evolved over time. You will also get the chance to see some stunning rare examples of glass pieces. Venetian beads can be purchased online, as can other beads which copy the Venetian style. These beads can be used in a range of projects.
About the Author: If you want glass beads in any of the Venetian styles, look online at a reputable bead seller to see exactly what is on offer.
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