Monday, November 25, 2019

Decorating With Murano Glass Chandeliers

There are some elements of design that are iconic symbols of refined taste and wealth. Murano glass chandeliers are one of those symbols and are recognizable all over the world. Since the 13th century the island of Murano has been the undisputed nerve center for Venetian glass production. With the creation of cristallo, a transparent glass that was considered the finest glass in the world, and a white colored glass (that we know as milk glass) called lattimo, Murano became Europe's first major glassmaking center, reaching the peak of its popularity in the 15th and 16th centuries. The first Murano glass chandeliers to be produced by Venetian glassmakers date back around the year 1700. You have to remember that these chandeliers replaced the heavy wooden and wrought iron chandeliers of the past. Can you imagine how these beautiful translucent chandeliers appeared airy and almost magical. Is it any wonder the Murano glass chandelier was desired for grand and opulent interiors? 

Today the descendants of these famous  glassmakers continue to create gorgeous chandeliers and other pieces of glass art that are coveted by modern-day customers. 

Around 1730 the Rezzonico family ordered a chandelier from Murano masters for the grand  residence they were building, Ca'Rezzonico, overlooking the Grand Canal in Venice.

Glass masters in the factory of Giuseppe Briati created what it's now called the Rezzonico Chandelier, a fabulous two-tier colorful work of art featuring twenty candle-holders. This chandelier is representative of the classic Murano chandelier. It is considered the most amazing such chandelier in existence today and still hangs in it's original room at Ca'Rezzonico.

Murano Glass chandeliers are still produced in Murano workshops and are in high demand for residences, hotels, theaters, restaurants, and other public spaces. Here they hang in Venice's Palazzo Widmann built in 1630. These chandeliers are decorated with gorgeous colors and are meant to represent a bouquet of flowers.

 The Murano glass industry flourished as the artists pushed themselves to create unique and elaborate chandeliers for the rich Venetian nobility. 

The beautiful Murano glass chandeliers were such a success they instantly brought chandeliers to a new dimension.

Elaborate yet delicate arabesques of beautifully colored leaves, flowers, and fruits are typical features of Murano glass chandeliers.

This was made possible by the unique type of glass used in Murano. It was called soda glass and was famous for it's extraordinary lightness which was different from all other glass at the time.

With their colors and fantastical artistry, Murano glass chandeliers add a bit of whimsy to the seriousness of otherwise grand interiors.

Designer, Jacques Garcia

Although Venetian glassmaking in factories existed as far back as the 8th Century, it did not originate on the island of Murano. Beginning in 1291 the Venetian Republic ordered the glassmakers to move their furnaces to the island because the glass factories caught fire frequently and posed a threat to the city.

Plus the Venetian glassmaker's secret formulas and methods of producing these fabulous chandeliers would be better protected and controlled on the island of Murano.

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An incredible amount of skill and time was required to precisely twist and shape a chandelier. Every shape of glass had to be masterly executed because any outsize piece wouldn't fit to be mounted between the others.

Design Firm Studio Peregalli

This old world formal dining room by Renzo Mongiardino features a stunning 17th-century Murano glass chandelier.

Another extremely beautiful and delicate Murano glass chandelier in Christian Dior’s Château de la Colle Noire.

A Murano glass chandelier graces the dining room at Dumfries House, considered the most beautifully intact house in Scotland.

A close view of the Dumfries House glass chandelier.

Equally beautiful are the clear Murano glass chandeliers. A series of these beautiful chandeliers beckon you down this fabulous corridor. In the 15th century master glassmaker Angelo Barovier discovered the processes of making “Cristallo Veneziano”, the world's first truly clear glass

Rosenborg Palace in Copenhagen

One of the first Murano chandeliers was made for Frederick IV of Denmark and still hangs in his former palace, Rosenborg.

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Decoration was always put before functionality when it came to Murano glass chandeliers. These status symbols were means of showing one's wealth firstly, illumination came in second.

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In other countries crystal was being used on chandeliers. Since Murano glass was extremely fragile it could not be faceted so the Venetian glassmakers relied on the delicate and unique quality of their glass.

I love the way the clear glass Murano chandeliers seem to float in the room.

Exquisite Murano glass chandelier at Ca' Sagredo Hotel in Venice.

Venice's importance as a center of commerce and it's grip on trade routes began to vanish in the 17th century. As a result Murano glass entered a period of decline as England, France, and Czechoslovakia emerged as new craft centers thus ending Murano's monopoly on glassmaking.

More hardship was felt by the Murano glass manufacturers with the occupation of Napoleon Boneparte in 1797. Many glass furnaces were closed and the production of Murano glass pretty much came to a halt.

By 1820, only sixteen glass furnaces remained in the area. Only two prominent glass making families were left: the Salviati family and the Fratelli Toso, a group of six brothers known for their creative and imaginative artistry.Today their descendants continue the family trade.

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The Murano glass industry saw revival when Salviati exhibited over 500 works made by his firm at the Universal Exposition in Paris in 1867. By 1869 the industry was booming once again.

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Magnificent Murano glass chandelier in the Nymphenburg Palace, Munich.

The dining room is a perfect spot for a Murano glass chandelier as evidenced here in this one by designer Axel Vervoordt.

Magnificent Murano glass chandelier in the Bauer Il Palazzo - Venice, Italy. Is this not a gorgeous interior!!

Interior by Mario Buatta featuring a large Murano glass chandelier.

Murano glassmakers continue to carry on the traditions of craftsmanship and quality that made their chandeliers world famous since the ancient times. This one is from the 20th century.

Design Firm Studio Peregalli via

Tips for determining if a Murano glass chandelier is the "real thing": Murano glass is hand-blown, meaning there should be bubbles and asymmetrical qualities. Look for misshapen flowers, glass that's a little cloudy or colors that have bled a bit. Also you should see the pontil mark where the glass blower broke the pontil rod from the finished piece. If it is perfect, it is NOT authentic.

Even in a modern day space a Murano glass chandelier will evoke magnificent Venetian interiors of the 17th century.

A Murano glass chandelier will add glamour to any style interior. You can count on them to provide a beautiful focal point for you room.

Designer Carlton Varney via

Murano glass chandeliers are quite expensive. Think of them as an investment that will definitely bring oohs and aahs from your guests.

Designer Diane Burn

Today Murano glass chandeliers are widely appreciated as one of the world's most beautiful and decorative types of chandelier.

As I worked on this blog post the city of Venice was struck by devastating flooding and is still reeling from a week of three exceptional tides whose floodwaters have caused massive damage to the city's cultural legacy and to residences and businesses. 

The Querini Stampalia Foundation is located in an 18th century Venetian palazzo. An elegant room with Murano glass chandeliers is now a rescue center for precious books from the foundation's seriously damaged library.

Our prayers are with the people of Venice.

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This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer

Friday, November 8, 2019

Decorating With The French Globe de Mariée

In 18th century France it was tradition for a newly married couple to create something called a Globe de Mariee. This was a way for them to display and protect items or wedding souvenirs chosen by the two of them that reflected their love for each other and the beginnings of their life together. The Globe de Mariee would be kept and treasured through the years as a record of their marriage.

I fell in love with these marriage domes some time ago but only recently was able to find one at an affordable price. Since I researched them while looking for one myself, I thought it might make a good topic for a blog post. I hope you will enjoy learning about these traditional French displays and the loving thought that went into them.

Lisa Farmer-Eye For Design

This is the Globe de Mariee I just purchased at an incredible price. It came from Écurat, France and this style is from the era of Napoleon III. These domes have a way of making you fall under their spell! UPDATE.....Recently I found a French wax bridal headpiece to go on my crown cushion. I found it in a vintge clothing booth and was able to get the bride's headpiece, gown, and a picture of her wearing it all for less than the headpiece usually sells for. I was delighted! My new project involves making a display of it all.

Lisa Farmer-Eye For Design

I only have the interior of the globe de mariee called the garniture. I still am looking for a dome to fit it. It is 20 inches tall and the closest I have found is 18 inches. I found the perfect one in France but they wouldn't ship to the US. I will have to show some patience on this one!! The glass domes are hard to find.

Since they are highly collected, it is getting hard to find globes de mariee and antique bridal pieces in good condition at affordable prices. The domes are extremely fragile, so to find the original globe with all it's parts is rare. Today you have to build your own from antique pieces you find. It's what I am attempting to do.

The first glass domes appeared in the 1850s and were manufactured in Paris. Glass dome fashion was a very popular trend during the late 1800's in France as well as other European countries. Originally designed to protect clocks it was only a matter of time until globes de mariee were covered by glass domes.

The families of the bride and groom would have commissioned the creation of the globe de mariee to a jeweler or watch maker. 

The globe de mariee would have been proudly displayed in a room like the salon or dining room. Also they found places of prominence on mantles and even dressers.

The interior of the globe de mariee, is called the garniture and had significant meaning. Choosing the items for the garniture was taken seriously and was a project carefully attended to by the bride as well as the groom.

The velvet or silk cushions were usually red although pink, white, blue, burgundy, and gold were also produced.

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The bridal crown or tiara would have been made from wax orange blossoms which reflected virginity.........

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and would have resided on the tufted velvet cushion of the garniture of the globe de mariee. Her gloves, the grooms corsag, etc would have also been attached to the cushion

The large central mirror represented the reflection of the soul and symbolizes the truth.

Sometimes they were etched and some were even painted.

The small diamond-shaped mirrors located on these antique globes de mariee indicated the number of children the couple hoped to have. The couple who owned my globe wanted a big family....six children.

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Rectangular mirrors signified the number of years between the couple’s meeting and their promised marriage.

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The trapezoidal mirror at the bottom of this globe de mariee would have symbolized perfect agreement between the two people entering into marriage. This particular style globe has a vertical tufted crown cushion that the headpiece would be pinned to.

The globe de mariee would always have a gold bird or dove looking over the nest below. This represented love and peace in the home.

The leaves on the globe de mariee represented the hoped for longevity of the marriage union. Daisies would indicate purity.

This one has oak leaves which represented strength. My globe de mariee has ivy leaves that stood for commitment. Roses signified eternal love.

The globe de mariee's oval mirrors were always donated by the bridesmaids for good luck.

Globes de mariee make great old world vignette accessories.

Very ornate and fine examples of the French tradition of the globe de mariee wedding keepsake.

I adore them and think they make lovely conversation starters.

I also like the uniqueness of the globes de mariee. They are not cookie cutter decor. Each one is different so you have something nobody else has.

Globe de mariee heaven!! This is another site you might want to visit if you are mesmerized by these lovely wedding souvenirs.

The all white Swedish/Gustavian style interior is also a lovely setting for the display of a globe de mariee.

Dispaly a globe de mariee alongside some lovely vintage lace in keeping with the wedding theme.


Throughout their lives the couple would add special items that meant something to them to their globe de mariee. Items might have been locks of hair, pictures, little intimate treasures, and even ormolu charms associated with marriage.

The globe de mariee.......a great way to strike up a conversation AND add a bit of history to your interiors!

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This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer

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