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Stunning 'Sommerso' Murano Glass Vases - Exquisite Italian Craftsmanship

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If you’re on the hunt for a unique and stunning piece of glass art to enhance the ambiance of your home or office, consider exploring the world of sommerso vases. Originating from the Murano glassmaking tradition, the sommerso technique masterfully creates layers of contrasting colors within a single object, crafting an illusion of submerged colors that seem to blend yet remain distinct. Sommerso vases, celebrated for their exquisite beauty and complexity, stand as prime examples of this technique, demonstrating the unparalleled skill and creativity of Murano’s glass artisans.

This article will delve into the history and artistry behind the sommerso technique, highlighting the undeniable allure of sommerso vases. It will guide you through the process of collecting and maintaining your sommerso vase, ensuring its lasting beauty. Additionally, you’ll uncover the best avenues for acquiring authentic Murano sommerso glass vases online, while learning how to steer clear of counterfeits and imitations. Whether you’re a newcomer or a seasoned aficionado in the realm of Murano glass, this article promises to be both enlightening and captivating.

The History and Art of Sommerso Technique

The Origins of Sommerso in Murano Glassmaking

Sommerso, a renowned glassmaking technique, emerged in Murano, Italy, during the 1930s. The term “submerged” aptly captures the essence of this technique, which involves creating multiple layers of color within a glass piece without blending them. This meticulous process results in a captivating visual effect where the colors appear to be delicately floating within the clear glass.

This innovative method was pioneered by Antonio Da Ross, an exceptionally skilled Venetian glassmaker at the I.V.A.M. factory. Through his experiments with encapsulating colored glass within molten glass of contrasting colors, and then expertly blowing and shaping it, he was able to produce artworks of significant artistic value and innovation. His creations quickly garnered acclaim, notably at the Venice Biennale and other prestigious platforms.

How Sommerso Murano Glass Vases are Made

The production of sommerso Murano glass vases is an intricate process demanding a high degree of skill and precision. Initially, a core of colored glass is heated and affixed to a metal rod. Subsequently, this core is dipped into molten glass of a differing color, carefully coating it with a slender layer.

This procedure is repeated several times with various colors to achieve the desired layered effect. Following these steps, the glassmaker blows and molds the glass into a vase, employing a variety of tools and molds in the process. The final step involves removing the rod and meticulously polishing the vase to perfection.

The versatility of the sommerso technique enables glassmakers to craft an array of shapes and designs, ranging from simplistic elegance to intricate complexity. Colors can be strategically selected to evoke either harmony or striking contrast, tailored to the artist’s vision.

Among the most celebrated sommerso Murano glass vases were those crafted by Flavio Poli, the artistic director of Seguso Vetri d’Arte in the 1950s. Poli is renowned for his elegant and refined vases, characterized by geometric forms and nuanced color transitions, much like the highly desired style of Seguso sommerso vase. Other distinguished glassmakers who have mastered the sommerso technique include Paolo Venini, Mandruzzato, Galliano Ferro, Formia, Oball, and Arte Nuova, as well as Nason with their exquisite Sommerso vase creations.

The Unmistakable Beauty of Sommerso Vases

Identifying Characteristics of Sommerso Vases

Sommerso vases, a brilliant example of Murano glass craftsmanship, employ the sommerso technique to embed layers of contrasting colors within a single glass piece. This method results in a mesmerizing visual experience where colors stand in sharp contrast without blending.

Distinctive features of Sommerso vases include:

  • A transparent outer layer that encapsulates one or more vibrant colored glass layers.
  • Visible inner layers of varying shapes and sizes, offering a glimpse into the intricate craftsmanship through the clear exterior.
  • Inner layers that showcase bright and lively colors, including shades of red, blue, green, amber, purple, and more.
  • Geometrically shaped vases, such as cubes, cylinders, cones, and pyramids, highlighting their artistic geometry.
  • A notable heaviness and thickness due to the multiple layers of glass involved in their creation.

Color, Light, and Depth – The Aesthetics of Sommerso

The allure of sommerso vases stems from their exquisite interplay of color, light, and depth. The sommerso technique enables artisans to craft a spectrum of color transitions and combinations, each evoking unique emotions and ambiances.

Their colors can range from complementary to contrasting, and from warm to cool tones, reflecting the glassmaker’s imaginative vision. Furthermore, sommerso vases enchantingly capture and refract light, giving life to the interior colors with a luminous quality that shifts with the light’s angle and source.

What truly sets sommerso vases apart is their ability to create an illusion of depth. The submerged or floating appearance of the inner layers invites onlookers into a veritable three-dimensional exploration, revealing new details and perspectives akin to peering into the depths of a crystal or gazing through a kaleidoscope.

Collecting and Caring for Your Sommerso Vase

Tips for Collectors

Sommerso vases, notable for their beauty and value, represent a pinnacle of Murano glass art. As with any valuable collectible, they are prone to fakes and imitations. To adeptly navigate the world of sommerso vases, it’s essential to be both cautious and well-informed about identifying and purchasing authentic pieces of Murano sommerso glass.

Consider these expert tips to guide your acquisition:

  • Seek out the signature or label from the glassmaker or factory. It’s common for sommerso vases to bear a signature engraved on the base or a label affixed to the glass, aiding in verification of their origin and age. Nonetheless, tread carefully as signatures and labels can be falsified or removed, making them not entirely foolproof indicators.
  • Scrutinize the quality and craftsmanship of the piece. True Murano sommerso glass is distinguished by its exceptional materials and artisan techniques, visible in the minutiae. The glass should present as clear and smooth, devoid of bubbles or cracks, with vibrant and uniform colors, without streaks or fading. The vase’s shape should appear symmetrical and well-proportioned, free of distortions or inconsistencies.
  • Align the price and style of the vase with other comparable items. Murano sommerso glass commands a premium, and bargains that seem too good to be true likely are. Research via online and offline resources—catalogs, books, websites, or auctions—to understand the market value and typical styles of sommerso vases. Consulting with experts or dealers for appraisal and authentication is also advisable.

Maintaining the Splendor of Sommerso Glass

Having acquired a splendid sommerso vase, ensuring its continued condition and aesthetic appeal becomes your next priority. While sommerso glass is known for its durability and resistance, it still requires a degree of care to avert damage and degradation. To preserve the beauty of your sommerso glass, consider these care instructions:

  • Gently clean your vase using a soft cloth and mild soap, avoiding abrasive or acidic cleaning agents that may scratch or corrode the glass. Rinse with warm water and dry with a lint-free cloth, being careful not to apply too much force or friction which might alter the glass’s colors.
  • Display your vase mindfully, shielded from direct sunlight to prevent color fading, and away from extreme temperatures or humidity that could cause cracking or condensation. Position it out of the reach of children and pets, and away from heat sources or vibrations that could jeopardize its integrity.
  • Handle with care, avoiding lifting the vase by its rim or neck, which are prone to breakage. Always support the vase from the base and body, refrain from placing water or flowers that could stain or damage the glass, and never subject it to the harsh conditions of a dishwasher, microwave, or oven, which could lead to thermal shock and cracking.


Sommerso vases are breathtaking examples of Murano glass art, demonstrating both the unparalleled skill and the boundless creativity of the glass masters of Murano. These vases employ a sophisticated technique that layers contrasting colors within a single piece of glass, creating an enchanting illusion of colors that seem to be submerged, yet do not mix.

The unique allure of Sommerso vases stems from their ability to manipulate color, light, and depth in harmony. While they are highly sought after and hold significant value, it’s essential to note that they demand a certain level of care to prevent any potential damage or deterioration.

Should you wish to enhance your collection with a Sommerso vase, or gift one, it’s crucial to be diligent and informed about the process of identifying and procuring authentic Murano Sommerso glass. For further assistance, online resources like offer an extensive array of Sommerso vases and other Murano glass creations, complete with a certificate of authenticity and a guarantee of superior quality.

Seize the chance to own a remarkable piece of Italian craftsmanship and historical artistry, while adding a touch of elegance and vivacity to your home or office.

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