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Millefiori Jewelry

Sep 1, 2008
For those not familiar with the beautiful designs of Millefiori jewelry, this introduction is likely to begin a life long appreciation for this beautiful jewelry style.

The term Millefiori literally translated from Italian means "thousand flowers" and the jewelry is so named for the painstaking precision and detail, not to mention the pattern that defines this style. Millefiori beads and jewelry are made from hand crafted glass canes or rods known as murrine, which are very plain on the outside but when sliced expose a pattern that appears like a flower, star, geometric design or other detailed pattern.

Artisans create these canes by heating and melting together thin rods of different colored glass to make an internal pattern. To create beads very, very thin vertical slices of the murrine are then applied to glass beads while they are still hot, allowing the murrine slices with the patterns to be pressed into the surface of the bead. These slices of murrine can also be applied to any other type of glass surface to create beautiful pendants, bracelets, rings and other pieces of jewelry and artwork.

Disc style necklaces and bracelets can also be made using various thicknesses of murrine slices. Instead of being drilled through from top to bottom (the patterned sides), the discs are drilled through the sides and strung on a wire or cord to create a strikingly patterned necklace, set of earrings or bracelet.

These Millefiori designs often feature random patterns of the murrine slices rather than all one pattern. It is also common to use silver or gold beads between the Millefiori beads or discs to add a touch of elegance and gleam to the finished jewelry piece.

Keep in mind that each Millefiori bead is made by hand, with the artisan working with the very hot glass beads and adding those ultra thin strips of murrine to the surface, then heating and smoothing to cover the complete bead and make a pattern. When looking at these beads it is almost impossible to understand the amount of skill and craftsmanship that goes into each unique bead or piece of jewelry, creating a truly one of a kind item with each crafting.

Millefiori beads and jewelry items tend to be very brightly colored in various shades of yellows, oranges, blues, pinks, reds and purples. White and black as well as some metallic highlights are used to add detail and to really make the tiny flowers and patterns stand out. Common shapes in Millefiori jewelry and beads include ovals, circles, squares, hearts, crosses and rectangles all with the floral and geometric patterns. Often the shapes are then set in silver or gold to create the rings, bracelets, earrings and pendants that are in high demand around the world.

Surprisingly Millefiori jewelry is not expensive considering the beauty and the hand crafted perfection of these pieces. No two Millefiori items will be exactly the same, which means beyond a doubt that you will be getting a one of a kind item. All authentic Millefiori pieces are sold under the name Millefiori, and while there are some replicas available they are not the same quality and tend to be much less intense is color and much more typically of mass produced items.
About the Author
Amy Carrington is a fashion maven and editor at www.SorellaJewelry.com. Sorella Jewelry Studio creates elegant and original personalized jewelry with the names, words, dates and Chinese symbols that matter to you.
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