Murano Millefiori Pendant
Vase, 1872 V&A Museum no. 1188-1873

Millefiori is a glasswork technique which produces distinctive decorative patterns on glassware.

The term millefiori is a combination of the Italian words "mille" (thousand) and "fiori" (flowers)[1]. Apsley Pellatt (in his book "Curiosities of Glass Making") was the first to use the term "millefiori", which appeared in the Oxford Dictionary in 1849. The beads were called mosaic beads before then. While the use of this technique long precedes the term millefiori, it is now frequently associated with Venetian glassware.

More recently, the millefiori technique has been applied to polymer clays and other materials. Because polymer clay is quite pliable and does not need to be heated and reheated to fuse it, it is much easier to produce millefiori patterns than with glass[2].

Millefiore glass pendant


History of Millefiori

The manufacture of mosaic beads can be traced to Ancient Roman, Phoenician and Alexandrian times. Canes, probably made in Italy, have been found as far away as 8th century archaeological sites in Ireland,[3] and millefiori was used in thin slices to brilliant effect in the early 7th century Anglo-Saxon jewellery from Sutton Hoo.

The technical knowledge for creating millefiori was lost by the eighteenth century, and the technique was not revived until the nineteenth century.[4] Within several years of the technique's rediscovery, factories in Italy, France and England were manufacturing millefiori canes.[4] They were often incorporated into fine glass art paperweights.

Until the 15th century, Murano glassmakers were only producing drawn Rosetta beads made from mould-made Rosetta canes. Rosetta beads are made by the layering of a variable number of layers of glass of various colors in a mould, and by pulling the soft glass from both ends until the cane has reached the desired thickness. It is then cut into short segments for further processing.[5]

Murano Millefiori

Creating Millefiori

Millefiori beads, 1920s
Roman millefiori bead, 50BCE-300CE

The millefiori technique involves the production of glass canes or rods, known as murrine, with multicolored patterns which are viewable only from the cut ends of the cane.[5] A murrine rod is heated in a furnace, pulled until thin while still maintaining the cross section's design, and then cut into beads or discs when cooled.[5]

See also

  • Mille-fleur, a French term used to refer to a background composed of small flowers
  • Glass museums and galleries
  • Venetian beads


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Millefiōri — (ital., »tausend Blumen«), mit Hilfe farbiger Glasstäbe dargestellte Glasarbeiten. Man gewinnt durch Ausziehen einer gleichfarbigen Glasmasse von kreisförmigem oder polygonalem Querschnitt massive Stäbe von entsprechendem Querschnitt und aus… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • millefiori — ● millefiori nom masculin invariable (italien millefiori, mille fleurs) Objet de verre décoré intérieurement d une mosaïque formée de sections de baguettes de verre de plusieurs couleurs. (Presse papiers de Baccarat, Saint Louis, Clichy, depuis… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • millefiori — MILLEFIÓRI s.f. (Arte) Nume dat obiectelor de sticlă în interiorul cărora se poate vedea un fel de mozaic reprezentând flori. [pron. mil le fio ri. / < it. millefiori]. Trimis de LauraGellner, 09.06.2005. Sursa: DN  MILLEFIÓRI s. f. inv.… …   Dicționar Român

  • Millefiori — (ital., d.i. tausend Blumen), eine Art Glasmosaik, die aus Zusammenstellung bunter Punkte besteht, wurde bes. sonst zu Murano bei Venedig betrieben, war aber bis 1834 verloren, wo Fuß in Schönebeck ein Verfahren sie wieder herzustellen erfand …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Millefiori — Millefiori, Arbeiten aus farbigen Glasstäben und verbindender ungefärbter Grundmasse: Petinet , Faden , Filigrangläser u.s.w.; s.a. Kunstgewerbe …   Lexikon der gesamten Technik

  • Millefiori — Millefiōri (ital., »tausend Blumen«), eine aus bunten Glasstäbchen zusammengesetzte und in ungefärbtes Glas eingesetzte Glasmosaik, zu Schalen, Dosen, Nippsachen u. dgl. Beim Faden oder Filigranglas ist die farblose Glasmasse von bunten Fäden… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Millefiori — Millefiori, ital., d.h. Tausendblumen, eine Art Glasmosaik aus der Zusammenstellung bunter Punkte bestehend …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • millefiori — or millefiore [mil΄ə fē ôr′ē] n. [< It mille fiori, a thousand flowers] a type of ornamental glasswork created by fusing glass rods of various colors and diameters, typically in such a way as to form a floral pattern when the bundle is cut and …   English World dictionary

  • millefiori —    From the Italian, meaning a thousand flowers, millefiori are glass rods, typically one foot in length, each with a diameter of about 3 millimeters. From the outside, they appear to be simple glass canes. But when seen in cross section, each… …   Glossary of Art Terms

  • Millefiori —  Ne doit pas être confondu avec Mille fleurs. Presse papier (souvent appelé sulfure) …   Wikipédia en Français

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