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Millefiori Pendant Necklaces

Updated on February 26, 2014

An Italian millefiori pendant necklace displays a beautiful, detailed millefiori pendant made of glass that adds a splash of colour to any outfit. They are loved by both adults and children and make a great addition to any jewellery collection. If you’re looking to buy millefiori pendants online, this article explains the history of millefiori, the techniques used in glass cane production and where to buy a millefiori pendant necklace online.

You can find some really beautiful millefiori pendants online, like this one I bought last year.
You can find some really beautiful millefiori pendants online, like this one I bought last year.
This interesting, modern-style millefiori pendant adds extra dimension  to the flowers by the use of sloped sides.
This interesting, modern-style millefiori pendant adds extra dimension to the flowers by the use of sloped sides. | Source

History Of Millefiori

Millefiori is a glasswork technique which combines different coloured glass to make decorative, mosaic patterns. The name “millefiori” (1000 flowers) comes from the Italian “mille” (thousand) and “fiori” (flowers) and is usually made with Murano (ancient Venetian style) glass, hence the association of caned mosaic glassware being associated with Italy.

Millefiori dates back to Ancient Roman, Phoenician and Alexandrian times. The technique of caning was revived in the nineteenth century in Venice, as interest grew in millefiori crafts and millefiori glass jewellery. Glass millefiori is the most highly prized millefiori as it has a three dimensional, colourful appearance. It’s easy to determine the expertise of the crafter in the intricacy of the millefiori created.

Today, many factories in Italy, France and England manufacture millefiori pendants and beads. You might have seen millefiori incorporated in glass paperweights, vases or made with polymer clay into bowls and candleholders. Glass millefiori is beautiful, ages well and is uplifting to look at. Children are especially fascinated by the beauty of millefiori designs.

These colourful murrines are all slices of different glass canes.
These colourful murrines are all slices of different glass canes. | Source
Another example of the beautiful millefiori heart pendants available at Amazon.
Another example of the beautiful millefiori heart pendants available at Amazon.
An antique baccarat millefiori paperweight with Gridel silhouette canes.
An antique baccarat millefiori paperweight with Gridel silhouette canes.

How Millefiori Pendants Are Made

The technique of caning involves fusing different coloured rods of glass together, then pulling the molten tube of glass at each end to lengthen the cane. When cooled, cross sections of the cane are sliced into tablets, called “murrines”.

Murrines are applied and melted over a glass core to produce millefiori pendants with curved surfaces. In commercial production, murrines are melted in specially shaped molds.

After cooling, murrines are polished to enhance their detailed beauty and may be drilled to add a hole for silver findings or cord. The technique of caning is used with all sorts of materials, the most popular being glass, polymer clay and and other clays.

Polymer clay is easier to manipulate to make canes than the glass millefiori techniques - hence you would always expect to pay less for polymer clay than glass millefiori pendants.

Did you know?

Millefiori glass is also known as “soft glass” and is used in stained glass window production and glass blowing.

A small millefiori pendant matches any outfit.
A small millefiori pendant matches any outfit.

Where To Buy A Millefiori Pendant Necklace

There are a large variety of millefiori pendants and millefiori pendant necklaces for sale, but they can be hard to find. Colourful millefiori pendants are available at Ebay and high quality glass millefiori pendants can be purchased at Amazon and through individual glass manufacturers online.

The quality of the millefiori should determine the price – you can tell by looking at the detail of the pendant whether the artist has mastered the millefiori technique. The size of the pendant also affects the price as larger pieces use more glass and require more handiwork.

A rare, antique baccus concentric millefiori paperweight sold at auction for $4200 US.
A rare, antique baccus concentric millefiori paperweight sold at auction for $4200 US.

Thanks For Reading!

Thank you for reading my article about glass millefiori pendants. If you’re looking for a delightful, colourful gift for a child, or wearable glass art for yourself, a millefiori pendant necklace is an excellent choice because they age well and draw a lot of compliments!

If this information was useful to you, please click the “vote up” or "useful" button below!

© 2012 Suzanne Day

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    • profile image

      allyndagreeno 

      7 months ago

      I would click the vote up or useful button but I don't see either. Great article!

    • colorfulone profile image

      Susie Lehto 

      3 years ago from Minnesota

      I have not made millefiori jewelry but I have made millefiori polymer clay that I used in clay sculptures. I love working with clay. This is a beautiful hub, Suzanne. - Kudos!

    • Susan Recipes profile image

      Susan 

      4 years ago from India

      I have never heard of them. They look so beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

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