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Wedding Cake Beads

We have just had a selection of wonderful Wedding Cake Bead necklaces added to our stock, so would like to share some information about them with you.

Like many of our vintage glass beads, Wedding Cake Beads originate from Venice, specifically the island of Murano. It was to this Island in the 13th Century that the early glassmakers were exiled to protect the city of Venice from the furnaces and open flames in their workshops.

Wedding Cake Beads are correctly known as ‘Fiorato Beads’ are a very specific subset of Murano glass beads. They combine a selection of highly skilled techniques to create a unique decorative effect. The term ‘Wedding Cake Bead’ seems to date from the early C19th, and is probably inspired by the highly decorative cakes that were becoming popular at weddings around the same time fiorato beads were beginning to appear outside of Venice.

Firstly the beads are created using the lampwork technique – wrapping the molten glass around a wire. This creates the base layer, solid coloured, bead. Some glassmakers will also use the aventurine technique to create a glitter or sparkle effect in these base beads.

Once the bead is created, decoration is then added to the outside of the wedding cake beads. Usually this will start with a base layer of aventurine glass – to create the stunning glitter or sparkle effect. This won’t be done if the aventurine is part of the base bead.

The second layer of decoration is the “trailing pattern”. This is where narrow strands of molten glass are trailed, or wound onto the surface of the bead in elaborate zig-zags or swirls.

The final layer to be added to the beads are the distinctive decorative flowers. Again these are done using narrow strands of molten glass.

Of course not every glassmaker uses the same methods, or recipes, to create their wedding cake beads. One of the more common variations on the fiorato is known as dogaressa. In dogaressa the first layer of aventurine glass is not applied; instead a thin layer of gold or silver leaf is applied to the base bead. This creates a simpler finished design, but is also more fragile.


Avventurina Glass by Glass of Venice
Art Deco Murano Glass “Wedding Cake” Beads by Butter Lane Antiques
Lampwork Beads by Bead Euphoria
Murano, The Glass Island by Made Murano Glass
Meeting a Bead Maker in Venice by Monica Cesarato