How to make a Murano glass frog

After graduating from the Faculty of Arts, Andreea originally planned to do a course in stained glass. However, she says ‘building such a workshop is quite difficult and very expensive.’ Instead she I opted for a course in Murano glass processing in Italy under the master-craftsman Mauro Puccitelli. Meanwhile Iza was working in the restoration of historical monuments after graduating from Art History. Due to cutbacks in the 2009 recession, she lost her job and couldn’t find further work in the field. The two childhood friends saw an opportunity to join forces, and after Iza spent some time training Andreea, they set up a business making Murano glass beads.

So what is so special about Murano glass? Murano glass is made in the island of Murano located off the shore of Venice, Italy. Murano’s reputation as a center for glassmaking was born when the Venetian Republic, fearing fire and destruction of the city’s mostly wooden buildings, ordered glass makers to move their workshop to the island in 1291. By the 10th century, the city had become well-known for its glass makers and Murano glassware has continued to hold a monopoly over glass manufacture through the ages,

Murano glass makers continued developing and refining various glassmaking technologies, such as crystalline glass, enameled glass (smalto), glass reinforced gold (aventurine), multicolored glass (millefiori) and glass milk (lattimo). Some of the historic factories are still active today and continue to use the same, centuries old techniques.

The girls buy glass rods directly from Italy and work with no other cheaper substitutes. In general, the girls do not use gold or silver, preferring to use copper or brass in their creations.

Although they love their business and the process of making Murano beads, they are very serious about their products. At first they mostly sold small items to friends and family or gave their creations away as gifts. However, after their products became increasingly popular, making beads became more than just a hobby. Each product is unique and can vary between 10 lei (€2.20) for a simple pair of earings all the way up to 700 lei (€156) for complex, custom-made collections. When asked to describe their style Iza says “happy and colorful” with Andreea adding “and entertaining.”

The girls describe the process of glassmaking as a very personal experience; ‘the artist, urging his hands and persevering with each piece, puts a part of his soul in every product they conceive.’

Glass is composed of silicon dioxide (silica) which becomes liquid at high temperatures. As the glass passes from a liquid to solid state the glass becomes soft and malleable before hardening completely. This is where artisans can implement object through imagination Murano glass. In this photo slide show the girls demonstrate the process of making one of their characteristic glass frogs in their Cluj based workshop.

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Information partially taken and edited from the Murano Glass website.

Glass making photos by Gratiela Sturza. Additional photos taken from femeiastie.

For more information or to order unique/custom-made Murano glass jewelry, you can contact Iza and Andreea directly by email:

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