Millefiori glass, (Italian: “thousand flowers”), is a type of mosaic glassware characterized by a flowerlike pattern. It is produced by first heating a bundle of thin glass rods of different colours until the rods fuse together. The bundle is pulled thin, cooled, and sliced cross-sectionally to produce small disks with flowerlike designs.
The manufacture of mosaic beads can be traced to Ancient Roman, Phoenician and Alexandrian times. Canes, probably made in Italy, have been found as far away as 8th century archaeological sites in Ireland. The technical knowledge for creating millefiori was lost by the eighteenth century, and the technique was not revived until the nineteenth century. Within several years of the technique’s rediscovery, factories in Italy, France and England were manufacturing millefiori canes.