MADE IN ITALY Murano glass is manufactured in one place and one place only: Murano, Italy! Murano is located less than 2 kilometers north of Venice, Murano is a series of islands linked by bridges in the Venetian Lagoon. Murano’s history as in glassmaking dates back as far back as the late 1200’s. Look for a Certificate of Authenticity offered with each piece. The certificate should describe the production process of the item and the phrase “Made in Italy.” Parts of the certificate should be in Italian.
CHARACTERISTICS OF REAL MURANO Real Murano glass is expertly executed with the highest quality glass and every attention being paid to fine detail. A genuine piece of Murano glass is unique. No two pieces are alike! Each item should appear to be handmade with a slightly uneven texture, and, possibly, tiny bubbles under the surface of the glass. The colors should be vivid and rich. Only gold and/or silver are always used with authentic Murano glass.
PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE MERCHANDISE Whether online or in a catalogue, real Murano glass retailers display their merchandise with photos that are clear and professional in every way. Photographs of online Murano glass should be able to be enlarged so that you can see the design easily.
DESCRIPTIONS OF THE MERCHANDISE Be sure you see the phrase “Made in Italy” proudly displayed once, if not more, throughout the website or catalogue. Beware of misleading phrases such as “Murano Style Glass.” What you want to see is “Murano Glass.” Look for phrases such as “Sterling Silver” or “18-karat Gold.” Even “Gold Leaf” is in 18 karats in real Murano glass!
PACKAGING Special packaging should be offered with each item. The packaging should be of good quality and attractive design.
VARIETY OF MERCHANDISE SOLD You should see a wide range of Murano glass products. You may even see home décor items such as vases or chandeliers along with the usual jewellery. If items in the style called “Millefiori” are offered, there should be a large variety of them, each displaying intricate patterns made up of rich colors and many mosaic pieces. Custom ordering is provided.
THE VENDOR Is the vendor a Murano glass specialist? Is it evident that the vendor has good knowledge of the Murano glass industry, techniques, production process, and history? Are there indicators that the vendor has firsthand experience with Italy?
THE WEBSITE OR CATALOGUE Does the website and/or catalogue have a distinctive professional look? Does the website or catalogue readily display contact information, history, and other details about the company? Is a real business address, phone number, fax number, and/or email address clearly provided?
CUSTOMER REVIEWS Customer testimonials or reviews are readily available on the site.
RETURN AND/OR EXCHANGE POLICY Returns and/or exchanges should be easy and generous. Free shipping is nearly always or frequently offered.
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN IT’S COUNTERFEIT?
MURANO IS IN ITALY AND NOWHERE ELSE! Read through the whole website or catalogue. Often the words “Made in China” will not appear until the bottom or on some later page. Some vendors will actually lie by saying that authentic Murano glass can come from other parts of the world. Not true! Other vendors will blatantly lie and say that their products are made in Murano, Italy, when, in fact, they are not! Scour the website or catalogue carefully for addresses in Asia or in developing countries.
EVERY PIECE OF AUTHENTIC MURANO GLASS IS ORIGINAL A genuine piece of Murano glass is unique. Murano glass is not mass produced. No two pieces are alike! If every piece of the same item of jewellery photographed is identical, you know it’s fake.
WHAT YOU SEE IS NOT WHAT YOU GET If the same items appear over and over again in photographs throughout the website or catalogue, or, if the photographs don’t seem to change every now and again, beware! Fraudulent vendors are just too lazy to photograph each individual piece of jewellery! Always read the fine print! You may find a waiver stating that items are not identical to the ones pictured. In other cases, they don’t even bother to tell you at all, and what you see will most likely not be what you get!
EXTREME PRICING Be suspicious of very low prices. Authentic Murano glass is not cheap! Be especially suspicious of very low priced items if the shipping costs are as high as $14.00 or more. Chances are, when you ask for a refund, you’ll only get back the money for the very low-priced item, and you’ll be stuck with the cost of shipping back the item, too. But be suspicious of very high prices too! Some vendors appeal to the psychology of many buyers that the genuine article must cost a lot, offering the merchandise priced at outrageously high prices.
ONE OF THESE THINGS IS NOT LIKE THE OTHER THING Some vendors trick customers by including in one or two authentic Murano glass pieces in their websites or catalogues along with all the rest which are counterfeit pieces. The buyer must truly take time and beware!
REMEMBER TO READ, READ, READ Besides reading everything else, the smart buyer must read all the customer reviews. Phrases like “lots of flaws,” “not from Italy,” “very poor quality,” “inferior product,” “has a Made in China sticker,” or “does not look like item in photo” are huge warnings.
INSTINCT AND COMMON SENSE In general, trust your instinct and common sense when buying Murano glass. If something tells you “beware”, try to find out as much information as possible from the seller, and if you are still not satisfied, just steer clear from it and look elsewhere.