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Venetian Glass Beads

Millefiori glass beads

Although the millefiori glass technique has existed since before the 7th century AD, the technique was really made famous by Venetian glassworkers. The name actually derives from the Italian words “mille” meaning thousand, and “fiori” meaning flowers. The beads are multicolored with very distinct patterns. They are made by producing special glass canes or rods which only display the patterns from the cut ends. Once the rods are sliced, the cut ends will all display identical patterns.

Lattimo Beads

Lattimo beads are made of glass which has had a white or colored dye added to it, so that the glass looks almost opaque. Light can pass through the bead; however it cannot be seen clearly. The beads are known as lattimo which is derived from the Italian word for milk (latte) because they look as though they the glass has had milk poured into it.

Imitation gemstones

These beads are designed to look just like gemstones, but without the high cost. Many designers use imitation gemstones in their jewelry designs when they want a piece to look exquisite, but they also want it to be affordable. Imitation gemstones often weigh less than their real life counterparts, so they can also be used in designs where the weight of the real stone would make the design impractical.

If you do travel to Venice, you can visit the museum of glass to see how Venetian glass has developed and evolved over time. You will also get the chance to see some stunning rare examples of glass pieces. Venetian beads can be purchased online, as can other beads which copy the Venetian style. These beads can be used in a range of projects.