Timeless is not an aphorism often used when it comes to design, fashion and jewelry but it can certainly be applied to millefiori jewelry. “Mille” meaning thousand and “fiori” meaning flowers in the Italian, is a colorful and decorative motif well-suited to jewelry. These mosaic beads can be traced back as far as ancient Egypt, Persia, Rome, and the Islamic world.
The technique for making these beads was lost by the eighteenth century but rediscovered in the nineteenth century. Millefiori (also called murrine or murrini) is a subset of Murano glass produced by the artisans of the Venetian island of Murano who have a centuries-old tradition of quality glass-work.
Jewelry and decorative everyday objects such as vases and paperweights and no-so-everyday objects have been made using this Murano glass technique. Semi-cooled glass is shaped in layers around a central glass rod and each layer molded to obtain the desired pattern. The resultant rod is stretched and cut into slices which undergo further preparation including molding and heat treating.
Authentic Murano glass, which includes millefiori, is produced on the island of Murano in Venice, Italy in the same way that genuine Champagne is only produced in the region in France. Of course sparkling wine is made in many parts of the world just as millefiori products are made the world over. Many people are even making their own millefiori at home using polymer clay which is a much easier medium to work with than glass. But if you want authenticity, the following are examples of the craft handmade in Venice Italy.
These pieces – millefiori bracelet, necklace and earrings and are sold by the Smithsonian Museum store.
Traditional millefiori, or thousand flowers, mosaic beads get a cool new look when they are infused in opaque mouthblown glass beads. This Modern Murano Millefiori Glass Jewelry is handmade on the island of Murano. source
GlassOfVenice.com sells authentic Murano glass. Here is an excellent example of a millefiori pendant found on there website.
This gorgeous Venetian pendant makes use of unique Murano Glass technique- Millefiori (a thousand flowers), where lots of small round pieces of colorful glass with stylized flower designs are fused together for an effect reminiscent of beautiful ancient mosaics. source
Credits: glassofvenice.com, venetianglassart.com, Pinkythepug at English Wikipedia, EvelynS en.wiki – Own work (Scan), CC BY-SA 3.0, Fungus b – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikipedia