On the magic of lost Venetian glass treasures

For centuries, the waste of Venetian glassblowers has ended up in the lagoon. Rounded and polished by the current, these pieces of glass end up on the hidden shores of the Venetian islands. Jewellery designer Alessandra Piazza took the opportunity to collect them and make precious jewellery from them, enhancing these found treasures with white gold and gold. We collaborated for our current pop-up in Bolzano at Parkhotel Mondschein because we share the same values. Making something unique out of what is already there.


IRMA: What was the most important learning experience during your apprenticeship at the renowned jeweller HEMMERLE in Munich?
ALESSANDRA PIAZZA: I would say that the whole training and working time at Hemmerle is very important. The whole approach to a piece of jewellery, how to build and set something, how to work with different metals and why, is not every day, but extraordinary. Being able to make exclusively one-of-a-kind pieces has had a huge impact on me and has influenced my whole understanding of jewellery to this day.

Glass earrings made from ancient Venetian Murano glass.

IRMA: What is the idea behind your jewellery line?
ALESSANDRA PIAZZA: The basic idea is that I want to show that it doesn’t always have to be precious stones and diamonds to make beautiful jewellery. By upcycling the unique glass remnants, this special and rare glass gets a new value and gives me the opportunity to achieve a change in thinking among my customers.

IRMA: Tell us something about the material you work with?
ALESSANDRA PIAZZA: The Venetian Murano glass I use is very old, partly from the 16th and 17th centuries. Until about 50-100 years ago, the glassblowers, who make each glass individually (colour, texture), threw the scraps produced during production into the canals. The sea currents still bring these lumps to a secret beach in Venice. There I collect this special and unique glass and process it further by combining it with different metals (gold, silver, bronze, etc.).


IRMA: How do you implement sustainability in your work process?
ALESSANDRA PIAZZA: By processing Venetian Murano glass, every piece of jewellery that leaves my workshop is sustainably made. In addition, like all goldsmiths, I am very careful in the sustainable use of my metals. Metal waste is collected, separated by type and reused after melting.

IRMA: What is the most valuable asset you own?
ALESSANDRA PIAZZA: I think it’s my knowledge of jewellery and how to make it.

IRMA: How do you like it when people wear your jewellery?
ALESSANDRA PIAZZA: The beauty of my pieces is that on the one hand they are very classy and high-quality, but on the other hand they can also be worn casually because the transparency of the glass means they don’t look so ostentatious. So, I appeal to self-confident, tasteful wearers who like to dare to do something new.

Gold and ancient Murano glass earrings


IRMA: Where do you get your inspiration?
ALESSANDRA PIAZZA: From the colours. When I see a glass remnant, I already start combining it with different metals in my head. I get most of my inspiration from the glass and its colour. Also, from nature and from works of art.

Glass remnants


IRMA: Something you would like to do in the future?
ALESSANDRA PIAZZA: If it is possible for me in the future, I would like to do my part to protect the Venice Lagoon permanently. Not only by collecting the glass, but also through larger projects.

Murano glass scraps


IRMA: Your favourite place in Munich?
ALESSANDRA PIAZZA: The English Garden, the northern part.

Goldsmith Allessandra Piazza, founder of her eponymous jewellery brand.