The Story of A Thousand Flowers

Now that it has started to be sunny on a daily basis, we are having a blast creating colorful, vibrant summer jewelry! Although we have tons of beads to choose from here at Blue Door Beads — we’re disgustingly lucky, we know — we feel a certain style of bead truly captures the vibrancy of summer: millefiori beads.

Many people have probably at least heard of the millefiori style of glass work, but what intrigued us was the story behind this unique style of mosaic glass. Although the term “millefiori” is Italian for “thousand flowers,” referring to the dozens of tiny flowers within the glasswork, the Italians were not the first artists to create this style.

No one culture can lay claim to being the only one that produces millefiori glass. The Egyptians first produced it around 1400 B.C.E., followed by the Persians, Roman Empire, Islamic world, then the Italians. The millefiori technique involves the production of glass canes or rods, known as murrine, with multicolored patterns which are viewable only from the cut ends of the cane. A murrine rod is heated in a furnace, pulled until thin while still maintaining the cross section’s design, and then cut into beads or discs when cooled. (Thanks Wikipedia!)

So, there’s your fun bead factoid for the day. Next time you’ve got a summer BBQ to attend, whip up a pair of millefiori earrings or a whimsical necklace, and when you’re flooded with compliments on your jewelry (as we know you will be), you can tell your admirers the history behind your “thousand flowers.”

Speaking of flowers, check out our “Chaise des Fleurs”, or flower chair. (It just sounds better en français). Our cheerful chair greets Blue Door Beads customers every day. Thanks to Thomsen’s Garden Center in Alameda for their generous donation of the lovely flowers!


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