Fashion / Style

Murano glass is having a fashion moment

We were all too busy searching for the perfect Murano mushroom lamp to notice that the Venetian glass had shimmied its way into our wardrobe too.

Originating on the island of Murano, just north of Venice, the style of glassmaking dates back to the 1200s, and in the same way that Champagne can only come from the French region of Champagne, Murano glass has a protected denomination of origin to recognise its cultural significance and preserve its integrity. What this means is that the production of Murano glass is limited to this small Italian island populated by multi-generational glassmakers, and the output is equally as limited.

While the markings of genuine Murano glass take a much keener and well-informed eye to pinpoint, and given its limited production, what we're actually seeing is not exactly a revival of Murano glass, but more an embrace of its spirit. Handmade, unconventional and in truth, a little kitsch.

Yes, the rise of glass jewellery and accessories has been taking place for some time now. It's been a chic fixture in previous collections of Maryam Nassir Zadeh, with organic shapes in oceanic colours strung through a piece of leather or cord and tied at the nape or around one's waist, and Spanish label Gimaguas. Both of whom who have enlisted the help of Italian-born master glass blower Gennaro Pepe to craft each of their designs, which have included conch shells and the ever popular glass heart.

At home in Australia, Jean Riley is creating Murano-adjacent rings and grape pendants that conjure images of 70s table centrepieces where glass bananas, lemons and yes, grapes, are presented in a fruit bowl. A glass-on-glass statement. While Americans like Susan Alexandra, Brooke Callahan and Dalya Benor have injected their own jewellery collections with bits and bobs of the Murano sensibility, toeing the line between kitsch and high brow, just like the Italians.

The impact of a Murano-inspired piece is immediate. It draws on a nostalgia that was previously tucked away, reserved for our grandparents living spaces and our great aunt's jewellery box. There's something both simple and elegant, yet almost laughably garish and outlandish about these pieces. Balance as we see it and it's safe to say, we're onboard.


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