When our customers see our fabulous Murano Glass Beads, they always think about a shape that works for them. So one of the questions we get often is. Does it come in…..?
Well that Depends…
We have to stop and think because our bead makers don’t have a catalog with a finite list of what is made. Everything is made to order after we sit down with them and go over what we want, what worked on our last shipment and what we need to improve and we determine they have the tools and right glass to make the beads.And we write it down, we take pictures, we cross our fingers.
For anyone who tells you they go to Venice and handpick their beads, they are choosing from a selection of left-overs which either didn’t make it into the jewelry sold in Venice or was left over from a large buyer like us. It doesn’t make sense to store beads, it is easier to store canes and make the beads when you need them.
The Short Answer:
So for us the short answer is: It comes in anything we want to make.
Granted there are some things we make better than others. And to make it may involve having new tooling made by an old master. And there is the question of how many you want? It is not practical to develop a new tool for a few beads – unless it just is a really good idea.
Believe me 3d printing would be a blessing for us, it just hasn’t arrived in Murano yet (or maybe ever?). We purchase the tools for our beads in many cases, having them made in the old machine shops in Murano. They may not have the latest equipment, but they understand glass blowing and bead making.
What we all have are “sample” cards like the one on the right with lots of markups and additions. It’s not our invention, these date back as early as the Venetians began trading beads.
We have our book of Moretti Colors and we hope that the next batch turns out to be the same color. We study the canes and beads in the sunlight to be sure we have the right shade.
Some colors are always good. Red, well not so often. There is something totally unreliable about red. When it is really red, it is fabulous and it sparkles in the flame. But then without warning the next batch will turn dark as garnet.
We have shapes – they come from the tools lining the wall, so if we have the tool with a particular beadmaker, then the question is only decoration.
There are of course the standard beads, 24kt Gold Foil Beads, .925 Sterling Silver Foil, White Gold Foil, Sommerso, Nuvola, Millefiori but even with these you must be sure you specify the correct Effetre color – or hope the bead maker know what color you last bought.
Bead Card Collections
Collectors of old beads all have these tattered and stained cards in their prized possession and they sell for very large sums among these collectors. Below is a card from a family in Venice dating back to the 18th Century.
Before the Internet?
How about before the telephone, the fax, when Murano gained a foothold in Africa. The great grandson of one of the early “African Trade Bead” business tells us the story of how this entrepreneur would receive a letter in Murano which had been traveling for 3 months having left Africa on a steamer.
Slow Boat to?
It would be a request for information. He would in turn send our several bead cards, again taking ~3 months to arrive and he would wait for a reply. Months later the written order would arrive and hopefully with the payment because international banking was still in its infancy. So an average order took 9 months to 1 year even to get on the books. There certainly were no “Returns” and a great deal of trust on both sides.
The development of the phone, fax and inter-bank transfers were a boon to this small, cottage industry.
To the right are a group of these antique Bead Cards when they were on display at Abate Zanetti in Murano.
So our Final Answer
Yes, it does come in that, how many do you want?