Cristallo Venezia CCC Glass Identification Guide + Gallery
There is precious little information available about the Cristallo Venezia CCC glassworks. There are just a handful of labelled examples that can be found online. The gold and silver foil label reads "Cristallo Venezia", with a rectangular banner across the bottom that reads "C C C". An identical label has also been found that reads "Artistica Murano, C C C", indicating a factory name change to or from Artistica Murano CCC at some point. Of the few online labelled examples, production seems to be mainly sculptural bowls made in the sommerso technique. Common characteristics include a distinctive star shaped base, hot worked curled and cut out "maple leaf" shaped rim, and colours that fade from dark to pale or clear.
Please note: As mentioned, there are very few labelled examples to be found, and much of the information included here is speculative. I have tried to group together similar examples, but it is quite possible that other factories produced similar work, and therefore not all the pieces shown may be by the same factory. I will add new information as it is uncovered. All the glass shown here was bought in the UK.
A green, pink and clear Murano sommerso glass sculptural bowl. Made by Cristallo Venezia CCC. Reference: [click here].
A purple, blue and clear Murano sommerso glass fish sculpture. Made by Artistica Murano CCC. Reference: [click here].
Link to Venetian Glass Company / Franco Toffolo
The green bowl below has several characteristics that indicate it is likely to have been made by Cristallo Venezia CCC. However, when I purchased it online, the bowl had the black label for Venetian Glass Company shown below. The label was shown as peeling off when purchased, and actually fell off into the packaging during transit to me. When I looked at the loose label, I noticed it had been placed over another label, which was very securely attached to the back of the black label. Due to the scroll shape, and size of the mystery label, I was able to identify it as a known "generic" Murano Glass label which reads "Murano Glass, Made in Italy". An example of this label can be seen [here]. I also found the same bowl in red, on Etsy, with the same scroll shaped Murano label. I am therefore confident that this design was made in Murano, Italy, and most likely by Cristallo Venezia CCC.
A Venetian Glass Company label.
Reverse of Venetian Glass Company label showing scroll shaped Murano label.
Now for the interesting part. Venetian Glass Company was a glassworks in Blackpool, England, set up and operated by Franco Giancarlo Toffolo in the 1960's - 1980's. Franco previously worked for Venini in 1946-1950. He moved to the UK in 1965 and set up Venetian Glass Company, which made Murano style glassware. So, how did a bowl genuinely made in Murano, end up with a label from an English company that made Murano STYLE glassware? I see a couple of possibilities:
- Somebody, a previous owner or dealer, for an unknown reason, covered up the Murano label with a spare VCG label they had lying around. I can't see why anyone would do this, as it would be unlikely to affect the selling price at all, but it remains a possibility, and to rule it out, we really need to find other examples of Cristallo Venezia glass with VGC labels. Luckily, I found some, [here] and [here]! In these bowls I see all the characteristics of a Cristallo Venezia piece.
- Franco Toffolo most likely had many contacts in Murano, and maybe he had some glass imported from Murano, which he then sold with his own labels attached, similar to Jordan Imports in USA (see below).
- My favourite theory - I can find no mention of where Franco Toffolo worked between leaving Venini in 1950 and setting up Venetian Glass Company in 1965. Maybe, just maybe, he worked for or even owned Cristallo Venezia CCC, and brought some of the left over stock with him, when he set up his new glassworks in the UK, rebranding this pieces with his new labels?
Whatever the answer, there is clearly a link of some sort between Cristallo Venezia CCC and Venetian Glass Company. Maybe we will never find out what it is, but if I ever discover it, I will be sure to update this page. And if anyone out there knows anything about this, please, get in touch!
Link to J. I. Co. (Jordan Imports Company)
Jordan Imports Company, also known as J. I. Co. or JICO, was a US company that imported glassware from several factories in Murano, to USA, which was then sold in various department stores. A few of their catalogues from the 1950's and 60's, are available to view online by joining the Facebook group page "50 Shades of Chalet" [here]. The catalogues are in their "Files" section. Another very good place to view the designs sold by Jordan Imports, is on a Pinterest board [here], which has many labelled examples. From viewing these catalogues and photos, plus many others found online, it is clear that one of the Murano factories that Jordan sourced their glass from, was Cristallo Venezia CCC. Some of the same and similar designs can be found, with the same features such as star shaped base, cut out shaped rims and fading colours. In the Jordan catalogues they were marketed as large ashtrays or bon bon dishes. Other common items found with Jordan labels and shown in the catalogues, are Murano animals, clowns, and pairs of Venetian glass dancing figurines. Interestingly, clowns and dancing figures are the items that Franco Toffolo was most well known for making at his Venetian Glass Company in England, mentioned above! More info about Jordan Imports Company can be found in a forum thread [here].
View more Cristallo Venezia CCC Glass examples in our Glass Reference Database
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Cristallo Venezia Glass on eBay UK
Cristallo Venezia Glass on eBay USA
For more information on Cristallo Venezia glass, check out the following resources: