Why is Venetian glass so special? You could argue that is has centuries of tradition, that in the 21st Century it is still manufactured in the same way it was when it first started, that Venice is the most outstanding city in the world, that the glass masters are skilled hand workers that learn for more than 20 years, that it has hundreds and hundreds of colors, that it can be used for small items like jewelry up to big installations or majestic Murano glass chandeliers.
You could come up with a list of hundreds of reasons, but most are either clichés or anyway well known. However there are some Venetian glass peculiarities which are not so wide spread or common. For example do you know why there are color discrepancies between the same items which are produced over and over?
Each morning after the glass has been molten in the ovens over night the glass masters start their day with color tests, as many as the colors that have been prepared the day before. If the color is considered acceptable then the production of the day starts. However there are no technical instruments to measure the consistency, hue, nuance or anything related to the color: everything is based on the experience of the glass masters.
Does that mean that there are no quality controls within a furnace when it comes to Venetian glass? Of course there are, but because everything is handmade and based on years of experience there is a non-written code for instance for the acceptable color range of a specific color. What does that mean? For each color there is a recipe, but like a cook in the kitchen every day the quantity of some ingredients might vary a little bit and therefore the output will never be 100 percent the same. This is how an acceptable color range takes place and normally it is an accepted fact.
Before being packed each item is inspected by the quality control, if the pieces fall into the “acceptable range” they are packed and then either shipped right away or stored in the warehouse. Normally there hardly ever is a problem when items that are produced out of the same batch are delivered together. The problems arise sometimes when goods that are stored in the warehouse are shipped with the same kind of items that have been produced on a different day.
If there is an acceptable color range that goes from “A”, where “A” is the lighter version of the color to “B”, where “B” is the darker version, everything is all right as long as items that fall closer to “A” are shipped together or items that are closer to “B” are shipped together. The problem sometimes comes up when a borderline “A” is shipped together with a borderline “B”, than the color difference might be strong and some will consider that as a defect or a “not acceptable” factor.
However it is not something that is done on purpose or because the quality control department has been sleeping, it simply happens because once an item has passed the quality control, it is packed and then stored away. The same happens to the items the following day and so on. Once a customer orders two same items they are picked out of the warehouse and put together without being unpacked again, because they have already previously passed the quality control.
It is up to every single to either accept the color discrepancies or to consider them as defects. For the people in Murano it is normal and nobody would ever think about raising the issue. This is one of the peculiarities of Venetian glass if not its beauty.