Seedbead - Conterie
Hollow tubes produced then chopped and refired for smoothness and color. Sold in shanks prestrung or by the kilo. Used in decorative jewelry and clothing. The peak of this production was in the early 1900s and today the industry is virtually non-existent in Murano.
Rosetta or Chevron
Produced from the canes known as Rosetta which had a center hole. First produced in Murano at the end of the 14th Century. It was made of a hollow cane and six layers of glass (white, blue, white, brick red, white then finally blue). It was ground to produce patterns of 5 concentric stars with twelve points. The canes were chopped and this production method increased greatly the quantities of beads which could be sold. These were known as the chevron and the very tiny one were used in large quantities by the American Indians in their decorations. Today like the seedbead, the production of Chevrons is in limited quantities due to the influx of foreign less expensive (and poorer quality) beads.
Later as this cane was produced without the hole and the Millefiori canes were born which today create the famous Murano Millefiori beads or sometimes known as lace beads.
Blown Beads (Venetian Blown)
With the introduction of the lampwork flame, beadmakers discovered they could melt the canes and then blow the glass. Today our spiral blown beads and beads with stripes of color are produced using the Filigrana Method where canes of glass are laid down and picked up with a blow pipe.
Lampwork or Wound Beads or Perle a Lume Venetian Beads
Often called wound beads because the melting glass is wound over a mandrel. Originally the Venetian beads were wound over a ferrous mandrel which had been covered with a mixture of silica and clay which gave the bead some room for contraction when it cooled and helped remove the bead from the mandrel. In the 1920s copper mandrels were introduced into Murano and soon became the standard for making beads.
It was considered an economical as the mandrels did not need to be coated and minimized breakage in removing from the mandrel because mandrel was cut off just below the bead and the entire bead was placed in Nitric Acid which etched the copper from inside the bead. However, environmental standards are adding to the cost of this process and many small beadmakers do not have the equipment, rather they take bags of beads to one or two shops who specialize in this etching process.
Today's Murano glass beadmakers both methods, using stainless steel with a bead release material for more delicate beads or beads with silver which tends to burn (turn dark) if it touches the acid. Murano beads are made much in the same was as thousands of years ago.