A Little History Lesson
The History of Millefiori Beads
Millefiori is a combination of two Italian words, ‘mille’, meaning one thousand, and ‘fiori’, meaning flower. Millefiori beads are longer than the conventional beads and the patterns are made using molds made from canes. The canes come from Italy and although they have a plain exterior look, the interior has floral, star, and geometric patterns. The technology of making millefiori beads has not changed over the years and all beads are still made by hand. This makes each bead unique and they have different designs and color variations.
Millefiori beads, also called mosaic beads, were used in Phoenician times, Roman times, and Alexandrian times. Archaeological evidence in Ireland has shown that canes were used in bead making as far back as the 8th century. There is also archaeological proof that canes were used in bead making by the Anglo-Saxons in the 7th century.
However, the art of millefiori was lost for many years and the technique was only revived in the 19th century. This led to the establishment of factories making millefiori beads in England and France, but most of the beads were made in the Italian city of Venice. Millefiori beads in the late 19th century and early 20th century were made almost exclusively in Venice. Venetians had a long history of making beads and they still do today.
All of Charity’s glass decor items are created in her home studio using authentic Murano millefiori, where ancient glassmaking traditions are merged with her modern flair.