Author Topic: Weeding out Chinese glass posing to be Murano.  (Read 1689 times)

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Offline westred

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Weeding out Chinese glass posing to be Murano.
« on: January 22, 2009, 11:12:43 PM »
Good afternoon everyone,

  I just had to comment, after visiting a website that had been posted by Leni in another thread I had commented on.  Being a new (3 years of collecting)  art glass and paperweight collector, this website just made me more frustrated and aware of so many Chinese fakes being produced!  Especially since I primarily focus
on Murano art glass and PWs.  I honestly enjoy the Italian Murano form of glass due to its free form designs and beautifully detailed craftsmanship.  I also respect the
fact that the craft has been preserved through many generations of devoted, talented artisans!  This is something, that I believe, seems to be slipping away in many
of our global cultures, especially the more modernized ones.  So, I thought I had found an affordable hobby that I could get personal satisfaction from, because of
the one-of-a-kind nature in Art Glass of all kinds.  Let me also emphasize affordable.  Unless you have to have hand-signed classics from the masters, I found
that Murano is actually not too heavy on the wallet, if you use common sense and really HUNT!

  My undertaking of this hobby began, due to a chronic pain ailment that afflicted me suddenly and took a career away from me, that I actually loved doing.  I spent the last 12 years of my life designing, programming, and manufacturing electronic microcircuits and controllers for John Deere.  When I had no choice but to go on long term disability, I needed to find a way to use my time and "mind", being the type "A" personality that God happen to make me. I can spend hours in a thrift shop or antique mall, weeding out all of the "junk" to find that one "treasure" that no one else saw or even knew what it was!  I am sure some of you here know what I mean............
It is great "therapy" for me to research a new find, and try to identify the time period and maker of each piece.  I have even made $$ selling some pieces I found, to
buy the glass I want.  And it's just FUN!

  Now, to the issue at hand.  When you look at this site http://www.cnexpot.com/abglasweb/zxgp35.htm to see how many pieces of art glass are being copied
and produced by Chinese manufacturers.  I have seen some websites from other copycat manufacturers, but nothing this vast!  I guess it helps to look through these to help weed out the fake from the real, but where is the limit?  And, as you can see, 99% of the impostors are aping Murano art glass.  I know why they are doing it,as Murano is a highly desirable, reputable brand.  But, is there nothing the Italian manufacturers can do to protect their designs?  It just seems like a shame to me that
the Chinese are allowed to do this.  It has to have an impact on Muranos sales and reputation, doesn't it?  As you look deeper into the website, you can see that it is not just art glass they are copying.  I suppose nothing is sacred anymore!  And IMHO, the Chinese gov't will stop at nothing to better them selves financially.  And believe me, I own a few beautiful Chinese paperweights, but they are their own design from ages ago.  It's not the competition that bothers me, it's the "counterfeiting"!

  When I think back about the start of my collecting, I guess I have to laugh at myself, as I was duped a few times an bought this "junk" thinking it was Murano.  I even
purchased a piece off of eBay that was a Chinese fraud with a generic Murano sticker on it.  I have since been able to distinguish MOST of the real Murano from its
fraudulent counterpart, but as I look at this companies products, some of those pieces are looking better and better.  They seem to be trying hard to replicate Muranos product!  Should we be disturbed by this?

  All I can conclude of this is for the new collector, BUYER BEWARE of Chinese glass in Murano clothing!
  Maybe we should have a Fake Murano Glass Breaking Day once a year?  I think I still have a few lying around.............................. ::)

  Below is one of my first rookie mistakes!  It's OK to laugh, I did when I saw it on the Chinese website!
  Maybe the "blobs" around the millefiori eyes should have been a clue?  I can't wait to throw it, all 10 pounds of it!!!!

  Thanks for you attention,

  westred



 
 

 
 

westred......yea, ya betcha!

And God said, "Let the weights hold down the papers!"


Offline TxSilver

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Re: Weeding out Chinese glass posing to be Murano.
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2009, 12:44:35 AM »
 >:D Why, that is a fantastic owl.  :chky: We need a emoticon for ROFL.

I wish I had not deleted all of my Chinese glass site bookmarks. There are a lot of them online that are very helpful. The one you mentioned is the best, IMO. I looked at paperweights on eBay yesterday. It looks like soon we will be able to use eBay listings to show people what Chinese millefiori paperweights look like. I notice that the sellers usually don't mention where the weight was made, leaving it up to the buyer to make a mistake purchase. It is a tricky world out there. I wish we could get rid of the sellers who don't know or won't say what they are selling. A lot of people are fooled by them.

There is a lot of use for mistake glass. We can post it here with a "don't do what I did." Junk glass is the best education there is for a glass collector. I got rid of a lot of it last month in a community gar(b)age sale.
Anita
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Offline Anne

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Re: Weeding out Chinese glass posing to be Murano.
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2009, 01:37:24 AM »
The debate about Chinese production has been done several times on the board previously - a search will find you many examples. Sadly many have descended into rants about Chinese glass production, which has resulted in their being removed or locked. Rational discussion about glass production anywhere is welcome of course.


Offline langhaugh

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Re: Weeding out Chinese glass posing to be Murano.
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2009, 02:17:13 AM »
You ask if there is nothing Italian manufacturers can do about it, and the answer seems to be no. One of the amazing things I noticed when I was on Murano last October was the shops selling Chinese made glass. BTW, all the other amazings were of the positive variety.

David
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Offline KevinH

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Re: Weeding out Chinese glass posing to be Murano.
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2009, 02:45:51 AM »
As Anne has said, this general subject has been covered several times in the past in this board, in the Paperweights and the Murano forums. Comments about what has happened in Murano tourist outlets has also been discussed, along with views on where and when genuine Murano stickers have been added to items not made in Murano. For a board search, use the  keywords "Chinese Murano" as a starting point.

My personal view is that the subject should be discussed (and as Anne says, without degenerating into anti-Chinese rants) but all of us should take care with the use of the words "fake" and "conterfeit". If an item is marked, or labelled, as being made by a certain maker or from a general area and the item can be proven to have not been made as marked or labelled, then "counterfeit" or "fake" may be reasonable words to use.

But unless it can be reasonably shown that an item has been made or sold with the intent to deceive, then I think it's best to talk of "copies", "look alikes", "imitations" etc.
KevinH


Offline Lustrousstone

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Re: Weeding out Chinese glass posing to be Murano.
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2009, 08:04:46 AM »
In truth though, lookalikes in the world of glass have been produced since time immemorial. You only have to look at the complexities of pressed glass patterns in the first half of the last century or the problems we have deciding whether a bit of Victorian-period frivolity was made in Stourbridge or Bohemia, or working out just where that long tall thin thing with controlled bubbles came from. The real issue with China is the scale of production and the quality (I'm not considering how they achieve these, that's another issue). All the Chinese are doing is turning out a product for sale that they think people will buy - people like paperweights, ergo they make cheap paperweights and people buy them in droves. I can buy them in at least two places in my work village of 3,000ish people if I need an emergency gift or something to hold my paper down. The intent is not to deceive the collector - at least on the part of the Chinese - rather to supply something that there is a demand for.

There are three ways to buy "decorative" items:
  • you buy it because it's something you like and can afford and you will get pleasure from using it or looking at it
  • you buy it because you collect "it", you can afford it and are confident, or at least hope, you know what it is
  • you buy it because you collect "it" and consider it to be an investment, you can persuade yourself you can afford it and are confident you know what it is

The first is the que-sera-sera option, the second is the learning-curve collecting-for-fun option and maybe you'll make some money, and the third requires going beyond the learning curve and taking the risks - here the highs and lows are much more extreme. It's not good berating the Chinese or anyone else out to make a buck or three. Business is is about selling people what they want (or think they want) at a price that makes you a profit. Collecting is a totally different thing - some of the stuff that is collectable now was considered cheap tat or throwaway when it was made (here I'm talking much more generally than glass, but the principles still apply). Collecting is about knowing your stuff, doing your research and NOT expecting a bargain (hoping maybe though), particularly when you are talking items that weren't made for "collectors'". You only have to look at something like "Collect it" magazine to see that the collectables market is a whole different ball game.



Offline Lily of the Valley

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Re: Weeding out Chinese glass posing to be Murano.
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2009, 07:02:51 PM »
You know, westred, I like your owl.  It is kinda kooky looking and makes me smile.  Something about it drew your attention and unless you put out the big bucks for it, my advice would be to enjoy! :chky:  Enjoy it either way, as life and all in it provide an opportunity to learn and grow ....  Perhaps you will be able to find it a new home in the future, one that will provide a small return on your investment.

As far as imitations go (and imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so the saying goes), it isn't the fact that something is not what it is reported to be, it's more that someone may be knowingly deceiving another for personal gain, financial or otherwise.  The Chinese workers are just that .... workers.  They are producing products in an effort to make a living for their families, etc.  In this case, some glass may be nice, some trash, almost all affordable to the average buyer where these items are ultimately sold under various labels.  These items most likely would not be produced if there were not a demand for them.  Who puts labels on this mass-produced glass?  Most likely the ultimate seller (who knows exactly where they came from) as identical-looking items are sold world-wide, even here in some of our very own USA glass museum gift shops if what I have read is true.
 
Most of these items do not attract my attention now other than to think "Chinese, new" and to make note of something in some of them from time to time.  In my earlier days of collecting, it made my heart leap to see a weight that caught my eye (and many more did then than now) just because it thought it nice to look at rather than where it might have come from.  Education and time has honed my eye and, yes, my heart still leaps, but not as often, especially when it comes to being able to afford the paperweight that sets my heart aflutter. :spls:

There is quality and less in glass coming from everywhere.  A "name" attached is not a guarantee.  Time may be kind to some of these weights and ultimately make them more sought after .... :-X (as it has the c.1930's imitations).

Enjoy your collection and collecting, westred, and keep learning.  I so enjoy everyones posts.  There is so much to see and learn  about, and this is a way to bring the world of glass (especially paperweights) right to my doorstep!

A big THANK YOU to all!

Lily ;D

As a postscript, I would like to add that glasstrufflehunter showed us a button that apparently is China-made.  It is an imitation of the antique fruit weights.  It kind of got picked apart at the fine detail level, however, to my naked eye I was charmed by it and found it interesting.  Let us know if you add more of these to your collection, GTH! :)

       




Offline westred

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Re: Weeding out Chinese glass posing to be Murano.
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2009, 08:56:59 PM »
  I tried to make it clear that I was not disrespecting the Chinese people personally.  It was more of a statement about the gov't.  As far as I know, the Chinese gov't
is still one of the most abusive and intolerant countries, according to Amnesty International.  They have always gone out of their way to suppress the Chinese peoples freedoms and the gov't run businesses are still that.  I have a few Chinese friends that have sought and gained amnesty here in the States and have told me of their struggles and oppressions, to lead a life free of government control.  According to them, it is pretty much impossible.

  I am sorry if I stepped on anybody's toes, that was not my intention.  I guess, my thought, was that we could discuss the issues of the day involving the collection and
production of glass items worldwide, without breaking any board rules.  If I am not allowed to state my own opinion of a cheaply made replica being a fake, rather than an imitation or a copy, I digress and apologize.  It is hard for me to believe that the art glass manufacturers in China are producing "lookalikes" without the intention of trying to deceive the glass buyer of what he is buying.  Most of the Chinese glass I had mistakenly purchased for Murano early on, didn't even have a "made in China" sticker on it.

  As far as my point of view being an anti-Chinese "rant", I do feel a little belittled by that statement.  First, is it policy on this board not to argue a point once in a while (rant)?  If so, I will stop contributing to this board, as I did not intend, nor do I want to be known as, a "ranter".  I was just trying point out the fact that Italian artisans, who have kept their craft pure and distinctive through the generations, are being done a disservice by cheap copycat glass makers who are profiting from the imitation art glass that they are "flooding" the market with. 

  Being a new art glass collector, I also take issue with my statements of "finding bargains" and collecting for "fun".  I don't have the income to be a "real" collector, I guess.  And I always thought collecting was suppose to be "fun". otherwise why bother unless all your doing is trying to turn a profit?  My mention of selling
brings up another issue, I sell certain art objects I find that I don't necessarily collect.  I do this to be able to spend a little more on an art object I do collect, but really cannot afford.  It has nothing to do with trying to be a "by chance" profiteer.  Sorry, I guess I have not reached the learning-curve you are speaking about, I am still new to the hobby.  Or maybe I will never reach that learning curve, because I will never make enough income to do so?  Lustrousstone, are you also trying to tell me that being a "true" collector is by purchasing items that were made specifically for collectors?  This idea, in my opinion, seems very pretentious.  Do you think that 100's of years ago the antiqueties of today were made by artisans who knew that people would be collecting them in the future.  Or, even today, that specific objects should be considered collectable, only if made by someone who knows (or thinks) his art is being made specifically for the collectors.  I guess I just don't think it is that cut and dry.  I always thought the artist perceived his art to be a kind of "window" into his mind and imagination, that he wants to share with others.  Doesn't the true artisan create his art for art's sake?  Maybe I am wrong, but it seems like you are setting certain parameters and limits on being a collector.  Tell that to the person I know that collects match books.  I know I may seem a little terse, but I feel you have challenged my personal sense of what collecting is and what it is not.  I believe it is up to the person collecting a certain item he or she deems collectable.

  One last thing, business is not just selling people what they want.
I still believe that most business owners still believe in the ethics involved in running their business.  At least the honest business owners do.  It is all too true that this business ethic is fading out with the continuous buying out of the smaller "mom and pop" businesses and also the globalization of the local markets.  In America, anyway, it won't be too much longer until we have 1 or 2 banks to do business with.  Same with the media market, but I don't want to drag that on.

  I guess, in closing, I just want to say that I was in no way, trying to berating the Chinese as people.  They are great people, I have become friends with many in my life so far.  But, I still think it is my right to judge and question the Chinese government.  If I don't, then I am liable to fall for anything that goes on in the world.
My father used to say, "If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything!".  I guess I was just standing up for my right to publically state how I feel about cheap, overproduced art glass manufacturers are tarnishing the image and tradition of the disciplined artisans from Murano, Italy, that have given their life to
reproducing and fashioning art glass creations, that have been passed on from generation to generations.  For good or bad, I think it stinks!  But then again, maybe imitation is the most sincere form of flattery? 

  westred
westred......yea, ya betcha!

And God said, "Let the weights hold down the papers!"


Offline Fuhrman Glass

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Re: Weeding out Chinese glass posing to be Murano.
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2009, 04:48:37 AM »
I have heard from several reliable sources that several of the Murano shops have actually been purchased by Chinese businesses. This then makes the Chinese knock-off artists of their own factories.
Many of the Chinese factories make whatever their customers want to order. I.E. If I sent over a sample of a Baccarat sulphide paperweight and ordered 1000 of them, they would produce it as close as possible to what I sent. They are in business to make a profit,be it usually small, and to give their employees employment.
In reality, The Chuinese are the back bone of the American economy right now as they have over $2.5 trillion invested in the US in real estate and treasury bills and are still investing in ther uS economy at the rate of $1 billion per day. If they decide to suspend their investing nad claim their investments it will m,ean the complete destruction of the American economy. It's hard to believe that a country we considered to be a 3rd world country just 25 years ago has had this sort of impact on the US and world economy.
I know of several glass company managers from the US, UK, and Europe that have been running plants in China for quite a few years and trained the Chinese as they had trained the workers in their native countries prior to going to work in China. The same was true of factories in Mexico and the US that imported maestroes from Murano 30 years ago to train their workers. PIlgrim hired several Italians about 30 years ago and Their was a company in MOnterey Mexico called Cristales de Murano that hired several Italians and trained the Mexicans to do all the Italian designs at that time. I used to know the people that owned the factory and visited there several times. On another level, many of the Murano maestroes such as Lino Tagliapietra, Lucio Bubacco, David Salvadore and others have come to the US and taught many fine glass artists everything that was done in Murano for the last several hundred years.
It's a tough world in the glass business. I've been fighting it for over 30 years and it doesn't get any easier.


Offline Lustrousstone

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Re: Weeding out Chinese glass posing to be Murano.
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2009, 03:04:39 PM »
Westred I think you have misunderstood a lot of what I meant and it certainly wasn't a dig at you. I was just trying to point out the types of buyers/collectors. I fall into the second category - a great many of my uranium glass items were sold to be useful (lemon squeezers, razor strops, glasses, plates, piano insulators ...), some were sold for decorative purposes, none falls into the art glass category and none into the made as collectables category. All collecting is a learning curve, your owl is a prime example, but like you I will never move up to the collecting for investmen category. I collect because I love the hunt and what I find fascinates me, but just occasionally I find a piece to keep that is worth much more than I paid for it and just occasionally by looking and learning and researching I find a piece to sell that's worth much more than I paid for it - then I too can justify buying a special piece.

There is a huge range of stuff out there that is being made and sold specifically for collectors. This magazine is full of them. This doesn't mean the people that buy such things are collectors and that you and I aren't. There was meant to be nothing personal aimed at you, just a few of my thoughts

 

 

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