That of the Moretti family is a history of inventions, passion, and exotic adventures that will make you completely rethink the concept of Venetian artistic pearls. Since its foundation in 1911, the Ercole Moretti has been innovating the glass pearls business in many ways: they invented the technique of tumble finishing that gives a highly glossy and detailed finishing to the products, thus making Moretti’s murrine millefiori the most beautiful in the world.
In 1968 they created the murrina pendants, that are so popular today, by adopting a flat copper band for the shaping of replicable ornamental templates made of pieces of murrine.
The fortune of Venetian glass beads is due to their use as token money in the colonies, especially in Africa, from the XV to the XX centuries, where they were introduced by the Western countries who controlled the slave trade as well as many other local businesses. The murrine millefiori pearl is, in fact, still called in some countries “African trade beads” and used by local people for decorative purposes.
Among the other inventions by Ercole Moretti, there is a very little known, but incredibly charming one: the Oriental Pearls; the company was, in fact, the first one to produce them in Italy. In the 30ies, following the success of the natural oyster pearls, the trade of their imitations was booming, but the recipe to reproduce them was an absolute secret. In 1937 Norberto Moretti was presented with some Essence d’Orient, an iridescent paste made of the scales of a fish coming from the Far East, that, diluted in a special glue, was used as one of the ingredients for making fake pearls. After several attempts, thanks to a stroke of genius, the Moretti brothers diluted the essence in celluloid films (made of acetate), thus creating their own secret recipe and successfully starting a business of replica pearls.
Custom jewelry made of Essence d’Orient and celluloid dreams: what can be more romantic than this?
To discover the best Venetian murrine and learn why the Ercole Moretti murrine millefiori can be easily distinguished from any other producer’s ones, book a factory visit. This includes access to the charming museum & archive of the Moretti’s production since 1911. The beautiful industrial archaeology building conserves all its original features, machinery, and objects from the postwar period, including the precious collection of vintage African custom jewellery from the 20ies and the deco exotic pieces from the late 60ies, as well as the rooms of the former Oriental Pearls workshop.