Making of a Bead
Venetian beads and Murano beads have been made by the same methods for generations. Here you see Nicola making one of his designs. He uses only the tools you see here and his palette of colored canes - and years of practice.

Nicola's Vivente
Venetian glass beads take 45 minutes to make each - Colors on top of colors, each carefully placed and finally a little twist at the junction of colors.

Nicola at Work in Venice
Nicola Vivente Murano Bead
Venetian Beads

We will take you through the steps from heating the Murano glass canes, making the base of the bead, marvering the bead, adding the color dots, melting them into the bead and finally making the swirls at each junction of the dot. After completion the bead goes into the annealing oven to cool evenly.

Heating Canes
Heating the canes slowly to prevent popping glass, beginning the gather. His canes are preheated by sitting in front of the flame.
Murano Glass Canes
Gather the glass to begin the bead.Since its a large bead, he needs lots of glass melting.
Making a Venetian Bead
Slowly building up the bead. Turning the mandrel away.

Murano Glass Bead
Centrifical force helps create a ball.
Shaping Murano Glass
Using a form to get sizing/shape.
Marvering Murano Glass
Marvering the bead on a graphite paddle. Helps cool the bead.

Adding Moretti Color
Adding the dots of color - note they are on top like little points.
Making Bead dots
Always keeping the bead hot & ever turning, burning in the first dots
Adding Color
Now beginning the second color on top of the first set of dots.

More Moretti Color
Third color is added.
Final Moretti Color
Yet another color.
Venetian Bead Complete
Look at all the little dots on top of dots here. Yep all colors are there!

Spinning Murano Bead
Now begins the burning in of the dots. The dots pull together as they fuse into the bead
Burning in Bead
Always rotating the bead (Or gira, gira as they say in Italian)
Lampwork Glowing
Now it is almost done, note the complete fire glow.

Nicola lampworking
The final delicate part, taking a rod and twisting for the final effect.
With steady hands, Nicola twists at the junction of each color
Bead Almost Ready
Blowing a little helps also.

Annealing Murano Beads
And a final flash annealing on all sides, top and bottom before we put in the annealing oven.
Nicola makes it all look so easy, but his skill at the torch comes from many years of working. He started as a young boy in Murano learning lamp work, helping his father make the clowns, Santa Claus, fish, swans, any animal you can imagine. He has made countless thousands of Murano glass candies and lollipops. But since beginning the Venetian beads, it has become new again to him and he is enjoying the creativity of making lamp work beads. Somewhere in Venice
A side of Venice tourist seldom see. Its a tiny island where vegetables are grown, grapes and many people commute to Murano & Venice to work daily.