Copy of AMOURRINE BEADS
Our signature beads: "AMOURRINE"
"AMOURRINE" beads are pierced pearls handmade in Murano. Our artisans forge the beads working on millefiori glass rods made in Murano ("murrine") with the lampwork technique and a special tweezer made exclusively for AMOURRINA. We pay meticulous attention to enhancing the original design of the murrina glass rods - to avoid the burrs and misalignments of the pearls generally on the market - and each bead is forged with love. Variants in production: Ø 8,5mm, Ø 14mm, Ø 19mm.
The origins of murrine
The origins of murrine can be traced back to 1000 BC in north-western Iran; mosaic glass vases were also produced in Roman times.
The creation of the first murrina, the Rosetta pearl consisting of a ground and perforated multilayer glass rod, is attributed to Marietta Barovier, from Murano, and dates back to the end of the 1400s. Since that time, impressive quantities of pearls were produced in Venice and considered so beautiful and precious that they were used instead of money in most of Africa. In 1830 the Rosetta evolved and became one of the symbols of Murano glass: the millefiori beads.
At the end of the First World War, African exchange pearls, replaced by money, lose their original function and become more and more an ornament. The pearls are finally rediscovered by the American hippies during their travels in Africa and are called "Love Beads”.
From glass rods to AMOURRINE beads
The murrine canes, now also known as millefiori, are glass rods in polychromatic layers made exclusively by hand by the master glassmakers of the EFFETRE MURANO Srl company, which is still based in the ancient factory in Murano (www.effetremurano.it).
The desired design is obtained through the use of molds into which the glass is inserted ("collection") and brought to melting temperature until a large vitreous bolus is obtained ("marbling") which will then be pulled up to obtain the desired diameter ("pull") and obtain rods that will be cut with a length of about 1 meter.
The millefiori glass rods are cut into small cylinders using a tool similar to the guillotine and grounded to adjust the height. The cylinders are then heated with a lamp (the so called "lamp technique" or "lampworking"), slowly introducing the glass rods into the flame to prevent cracking from thermal shock. When molten, the murrine are coupled on a copper barrel - which creates the hole - and forged using special tweezers to become AMOURRINE. We like to couple different styles so that each pearl has two faces with different designs but the same external colour.
The "conterie" are beads of pâte de verre produced by cutting a hollow rod and rounding off the little cylinders produced with heat in “ferrazze”, or special metal containers. Until the 1970, the industry of conterie had been employing more than 3.000 workers in Murano.
Since the early 90s, socio-economic contingencies and the crisis of the sector led to the end of production of conterie in Murano, starting from the closure of the largest company, the Venetian Society for the Conterie Industry, in 1993 and then the progressive closure of all the smaller family businesses.
Today the production of artifact with conterie beads is still ongoing because in Murano there are still large stocks in the warehouses of closed conterie factories. AMOURRINA uses conterie coming from the warehouse of the Costantini factory, the last one to close in 2003.
The art of the Venetian glass beads listed by UNESCO
In December 2020 the multi-secular Venetian art of the glass beads has been listed in the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage.
For the city of Venice, this marks the first time in the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The art behind the making of glass beads requires a rich understanding of the material of glass, and the element of fire. The candidacy focuses not only on the object itself, but also on the unique skill behind it and the socio-cultural implications of this art.
© Andrea Rizzo, 2019