Antique Venetian Murano Pink Gold Wedding Cake Art Glass Bead Necklace
Antique Venetian Murano Pink Gold Wedding Cake Art Glass Fioreto Bead Necklace is a magnificent piece of wearable art estimated to be from the Art Nouveau, Art Deco period.
Below, please find an overview of Venetian Wedding Cake beads from a very informative blog (http://jewel-stories.blogspot.com/2012/01/wedding-cakes-venetian-fiorato-beads.html)
"Fiorato beads get their start on a copper wire, which forms the hole when finished, by winding the hot colored glass around it into a fairly good sized ball. The centuries old process is called Italian perle `a lume-we call it lampwork or lampwound. For fiorato, the opaque bead is then decorated according to a theme involving glitter, squiggles and rosebuds. There are as many variations, apparently, as there are bead-makers, or moods of bead-makers, but the basic idea is the same. First, the dazzling glitter effect is applied. The glitter is actually a specific type of glass known as aventurina or aventurine (not to be confused with the natural quartz of similar name), derived from the Italian word a ventura, "by chance". This transparent glass infused with copper filings causes an eye-catching gold-like glint when overlaid onto the surface of a bead, and it is characteristic of many exquisite Venetian beads. (Apocryphally, aventurine glass was discovered accidentally in a Murano workshop in the 1600s, and for many years was a closely guarded secret.) The next decoration applied are the various squiggles, known as a "trailing pattern", which are narrow strands of glass "trailed" in loops or zigzags around the bead. The more there are, the more likely it is the beads are old, as this adds significant time to the manufacture. Finally, more or less carefully, the floral details are applied: the rosebuds usually in pink, and the forget-me-nots in dots of blue and white with a yellow center. This style of flowered bead (in a somewhat simpler form) is thought to have made its first appearance in the late 1700s, perhaps in response to the wide European interest in the "language of flowers", a coquettish code of floral symbolism . The very earliest substantiated date is 1815. By the end of the 19th century, versions were being made in Bohemia as well.
There is also a variation called dogaressa. In this case, the glitter of the aventurine glass is replaced by a layer of gold foil applied directly to the surface. The decoration on these beads is softer, both in effect and in durability. It isn't surprising that other bead-making traditions have imitated the beautiful Italian fiorato. One of the ways to identify a true Venetian bead from its imitators is to observe the area around the hole.
In Italian beads, a lampworked bead is made one at a time, and when finished, the copper wire that holds it while it is being formed is dissolved in nitric acid, leaving the hole open for stringing. If a white residue around the hole is observed, this is an indication of a different method of manufacture, whereby several beads are made at once on a steel rod. The white residue is the remains of a releasing agent used to free the beads from the rod. It is not uncommon to see beads made in this
fashion sell for 1/100th of the price of a single Venetian bead.
I'm not sure when and where and by whom Venetian fiorato beads began to be called "wedding cake beads", but that seems to be the popular and accepted trade term in English, and it's an apt description for these fancy glass beads, with their "icing" of frills and flowers. But one possibility is that the early 19th century Biedermeier influence on European design, at a time when these beads were emerging in fashion, is why these beads carry an association with weddings. Biedermeier bouquets, still carried by brides today, nicely correspond to the bead design in their use of concentric rows of different colored flowers."
The lamp-work method is the most time consuming method of glass bead-making as each bead must be formed individually. Using a torch for heat, Murano glass rods and tubes are heated to a molten state and wrapped around a metal rod until the desired shape is achieved. Several layers of different colored glass as well as gold and silver leaf are used to produce the desired effect. After the bead is slowly cooled, it is removed from the rod which produces a hole for eventual stringing.
Wedding cake beads "Fiorato"(decorated with glass overlays featuring roses, swirls and dots) and Venetian foil beads (with their fusion of color, gold and silver foil) are just two of the kinds of beads made using the lamp-work method.
Exceptional condition, measures 17 1/2" long and largest beads measure 1/2" wide and necklace weighs 67 grams. There are 11 large beads and 12 smaller beads and the necklace has a barrel clasp. I have not cleaned this necklace and have left this to the discretion of the new owner.
This jewelry comes from a dear friend and a truly exceptional lady. While having an antique shop, she has collected these unsigned and signed designer pieces for the last 40 years and has an incredibly discerning eye for quality as well as uniqueness. The extensive nature of her collection has meant that she has not worn most pieces more than once.
It is my distinct pleasure that she has chosen to pass her collection on to me. I am in the process of acquiring her complete collection and know that I will be keeping some special pieces for myself. I will also be offering some for sale and please know that with each piece comes a wonderful legacy of a very special lady that makes this jewelry all the more special.
Her collection includes some of the most desirable designers; Boucher, Carnegie, Ciner, DeLizza and Elster (aka Juliana), Eisenberg, Haskell, Hobe, Lane, Philippe for Trifari, Schreiner, Schiaiparelli, Vendome, and Weiss as well as Coro, Coventry, Kramer, Krementz, Lisner, and Trifari.
Numerous pieces are book pieces and many had matching pieces so many demi-parures are available. I acquired so much of this jewelry that I will be working on offering it in the store for years to come.
There are additional antique and vintage necklaces, brooches, and earrings in the Designer, Necklaces, Pendant, Earrings, as well as the Bakelite, Lucite, and Other Plastics Studio Categories.
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Necklaces come in a variety of lengths:
16" Choker length
17-18" at collarbone
20" A few inches below collarbone
22" At or above neckline
24" or longer extend below the neckline 24-26" hangs at bust line
30" just below the bust line
36" hangs above the navel
Vintage Origin Details
Unsigned Murano Glass
Wedding Cake Art Glass
Country of Origin