I enjoy lapidary (gemstone polishing and faceting), reading, writing, crochet, beading, home decorating, jewellery making and upcycling.
Millefiori Glass Pendants
An Italian millefiori pendant necklace displays beautiful details made of glass that add a splash of colour to any outfit. They are loved by both adults and children and make a great addition to any jewelry collection. If you’re looking to buy a pendant online, this article explains the history and techniques used in glass cane production and where to buy these necklaces online.
History of The Technique
Millefiori is a glasswork technique that combines different coloured glass to make decorative, mosaic patterns. The name “millefiori” (1000 flowers) comes from the Italian “mille” (thousand) and “fiori” (flowers) and is usually made with Murano (ancient Venetian style) glass, hence the association of caned mosaic glassware with Italy.
This art dates back to Ancient Roman, Phoenician and Alexandrian times. The technique of caning was revived in the nineteenth century in Venice, as interest grew in glass jewellery. Glass millefiori is the most highly prized as it has a three-dimensional, colourful appearance. It’s easy to determine the expertise of the crafter in the intricacy of the style created.
Today, many factories in Italy, France and England manufacture millefiori pendants and beads. You might have seen them incorporated in glass paperweights, vases or made with polymer clay into bowls and candleholders. Glass millefiori is beautiful, ages well and is uplifting to look at. Children are especially fascinated by the beauty of the designs.
How Are They Made?
The technique of caning involves fusing different coloured rods of glass together, then pulling the molten tube of glass at each end to lengthen the cane. When cooled, cross-sections of the cane are sliced into tablets, called “murrines."
Murrines are applied and melted over a glass core to produce curved surfaces. In commercial production, murrines are melted in specially shaped molds.
After cooling, murrines are polished to enhance their detailed beauty and may be drilled to add a hole for silver findings or cord. The technique of caning is used with all sorts of materials, the most popular being glass, polymer clay and other clays.
Polymer clay is easier to manipulate to make canes than glass techniques—hence, expect to pay less for polymer clay pendants than for glass ones.
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Where to Buy Them
There are a large variety of necklaces for sale, but they can be hard to find. Colourful millefiori pendants are available on eBay, and high-quality pendants can be purchased on Amazon and through individual glass manufacturers online.
The quality of the millefiori should determine the price—you can tell by looking at the detail of the pendant whether the artist has mastered the technique. The size of the pendant also affects the price as larger pieces use more glass and require more handiwork.
Consider One for Yourself or a Friend
Thank you for reading my article. If you’re looking for a delightful, colourful gift for a child, or wearable glass art for yourself, a millefiori pendant necklace is an excellent choice because they age well and draw a lot of compliments!
© 2012 Suzanne Day
allyndagreeno on December 25, 2017:
I would click the vote up or useful button but I don't see either. Great article!
Susie Lehto from Minnesota on July 09, 2015:
I have not made millefiori jewelry but I have made millefiori polymer clay that I used in clay sculptures. I love working with clay. This is a beautiful hub, Suzanne. - Kudos!
Susan from India on December 18, 2013:
I have never heard of them. They look so beautiful. Thanks for sharing.