What is Sea Glass?
Collecting Sea Glass
Sea Glass is natures way of turning trash into beauty.
Sea Glass also known as Beach Glass is actual pieces of broken glass which live in the sea.
The sea tumbles this glass in its surf and waves, as it slides along rocks and sand, the sharp edges and glass itself are transformed into glistening jewels. Sea Glass colors range in beautiful shades of blues, greens, yellows, browns and reds. Each color has a different value which is based on how difficult it is too find. Sea Glass is ultra smooth and comes in various sizes and shapes, the glass washes onto the beach and glistens like a diamonds on the shore.
Have you ever discovered Sea Glass on the Beach?
I got into collecting Sea Glass after reading an article and seeing the beautiful creations made from this lovely product of nature. Since that first article I have searched the internet for the best beaches to find Sea Glass and have been lucky enough to have visited quite a few. I have a long bucket list of Sea Glass Beaches I want to visit.
My poor family has endured the fact that every vacation we go on, it is inevitable that we will be going to some off the beaten path beach, that I have discovered through my research which is supposed to be loaded with tons of Sea Glass.
Needless to say, I am prepared with a bag for each family member to meander around picking up the small colorful pieces of glass which are just laying there waiting to be discovered. My husbands favorite part is having to carry this heavy Sea Glass back to the hotel or the crusie ship, but I guess that is what the phrase "for better or worse" really means.
How is Sea Glass Made?
Also known as beach glass, mermaids tears, ocean glass, and trash glass, this collectible is formed after years of tumbling in in the ocean, softening the sharp edges of pieces of broken glass. When spotted on the shoreline, a water-drenched piece of sea glass can stand out like a shiny, glistening jewel.
A piece of sea glass is is hydrated and dehydrated over many years to develop the frosted patina finish. A very well rounded shard normally takes about 25 years to be created in a severe tumbling environment while glass in a more protected environment may never be adequately rounded or could take up to 50 years.
Sea Glass is really just thrown out bottles and tableware, or glass from shipwrecks and household items lost in natural disasters.
Mostly it's glass that people carelessly threw into the ocean some 50 to 100 years ago, which has tumbled in the surf for years and has washed up on the sand looking like a little gemstone.
Best Books on Sea Glass
Finding Sea Glass
I am sure you are familiar with the phrase "it's like finding a needle in a haystack" Well, Sea Glass is that needle.
It's all about looking in the right place.
The best places to look for sea glass are along the shores of oceans, lakes and rivers near where old dumps used to be. Old shipping lanes are worth investigating as they are ideal for sea glass hunting ventures.
At one time it was very common for cities to haul their trash out to middle of a body of water and just dump it. Many years of dumping are the main reason why Sea Glass exists today. Bottles, jars, vases and other glass items were dumped into the ocean many years ago.
Where to find Sea Glass?
You will most likely find sea glass among the rocks and pebbles at the waters edge. Along the line the water creates of the seas debris. I usually try to schedule my visit during low tide. This time offers me the ability to comb a larger area of the beach and is truly to the best time to find beach treasures.
It really takes a trained eye.
The best approach is to have one-person lead and another follow in the same path. This way the second person will be able to find the pieces of sea glass the first person missed. And trust me the first person will miss a lot.
Make sure you have something to collect your glass in and then simply rinse them in tap water and air dry when you arrive home. These beach treasures are perfect for jewelry, crafts, jar displays, mosaics, wreaths, wind chimes and many other creative projects.
Many times you will think you have found an rare red colored piece of sea glass only to be fooled, because it is only a piece of plastic or some other form of debris. But do not be discouraged; keep looking because one day you will find that rare and beautiful piece of sea glass.
Photo: St John Beach Guide
As the availability of natural sea glass declines we find that we treasure these gifts from the sea, even more with each passing day.
Here are some examples of the various types of sea glass. Don't you just love the pottery pieces. Imaging the cool things you could create with these items. I would like to create a charm style bracelet which would showcase several pieces of antique pottery or dinnerware.
Sea Glass Colors
Let me tell you a little secret ...
It is all about the COLORS!
Sea Glass, Orange
Photos: Sea Glass Prints Available Art.com
The colors range from the most common white, green, and amber. Think of beer bottles to help you mentally picture the colors I am describing. The less common sea glass colors are cobalt and aqua. Purple and peach are more rare then the above while red, turquoise and orange are the rarest of them all.
The orgins of the bottle plays a significant role in how these colors are labeled rare or common.
Rare Sea Glass
What determines the rarity of a specific color?
The color of the sea glass can really tell a story, if you know how to read it. A gray pink shard of sea glass could indicate it dates back to the Great Depression era. Yellow shards often came from 1930s Vaseline containers. Red sea glass is found in about every 1 in 5,000 pieces and Orange 1 in 10,000 and is the rarest. The Red sea glass is believed to have come from old Schiliz bottles, nautical lights and dinnerware. Black sea glass is extremely rare and pieces can date back to the eighteenth century and were used for gin, beer and wine bottles.
Sea Glass Chart
Not all colors are created equally!
Some colors like red and orange are rare while other colors like white and emerald green are plentiful. Richard LaMotte in his recent book "Pure Sea Glass" has provided a resource for gauging the relative rarity of a particular shade. You can check the chart below for the rarity of your favorite color of Sea Glass!
Kelly Green 2/10
Opaque Green 1/1000
Forest Green 1/50
Lime Green 1/50
Sea Foam Green 1/75
Buy Sea Glass
Are you landlocked and just do not have time to go beach combing. Then you can always buy some Genuine Sea Glass. Start creating some fabulous Jewelry or crafts now. There is a great selection of Sea Glass on Ebay. You really can't go wrong.
The Many Colors of Sea Glass
There are so many colors of Sea Glass.
So many various shades of greens, blues, whites, etc. It is very hard for me to pick a favorite. I like to combine different colors together for specific projects I may be working on. Unfortunately, I have never found a red piece, and truly hope to find some one day.
What is your favoritie color sea glass?
Seek and you shall find these precious Gems Of The Sea.
Photo: Licensed under Flickr, Creative Commons by certified_su/
Finding sea glass beaches takes a little work.
Many collectors do not want to divulge this information, they prefer to keep it a secret. Through some goggling you can find some great beaches. The Caribbean is loaded with some fantastic beaches which are loaded these treasures. Sea Glass beaches are all over the world. So when you plan your next vacation, why not include a glass beach on your itinerary.
- Spectacle Island
Just a short ferry ride from Long Wharf in Boston, MA, Spectacle Island features a marina, visitors center with exhibits, sandy beaches, and walking trails that lead visitors to the crest of a 157 foot-high hill, offering magnificent panoramic views
- Glass Beach, Fort Bragg, CA
Located in Northern California among the rocky coastline is what can be considered the Mecca for sea glass collectors around the world. A short walk to the beach off Elm Street in Fort Bragg , CA, is an area that once was the town dumping ground. The
- Old San Juan
From the capital building, descend via steps along the fort wall to Playa Ocho, or look around the public beaches down from La Perla (near the stadium and the Caribbe Hilton). It is best to go right after high tide and look in the rockier areas on th
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Sea Glass Jewelry
Sea Glass Jewelry is what really caught my eye.
I wanted to learn how I could create such lovely pieces. Artisans have turned these shards of humble beginnings into various crafts. Sea glass jewelry is becoming increasingly popular. Other artists use the glass to make hair accessories, candles, sculptures, sun catchers, and mosaics. Sea glass is the recycler's dream, proving that trash can be turned into treasure.
How to wire wrap Sea Glass
Here is a great Sea Glass Jewelry idea try a simple wire wrap pendant like the one on the left. With a few basic wire wrapping tools, some wire of your choice and a piece of sea glass that you have found, create a simple piece of jewelry that will certainly garner attention from your friends.
Step 1: Selecting Tools & Materials
The three tools suggested for this sea glass project are wire cutters, round nosed pliers, and flat nosed pliers.
The wire selected should be strong enough to support your sea glass pendant on a chain. If you are using sterling silver, for example, I recommend using 18 gauge or 20 gauge half-hard. Although you can use any style it is easiest ( and more forgiving ) to use round.
TIP: If this is your first venture into jewelry making with sea glass, use a piece large enough to handle easily.
Step 2: Determining Your Design
At this point you need to visualize a design that both complements your piece of sea glass and holds it securely in place. You will then have to determine how much wire is required for the design. It will become easier to judge the required length as you become more skilled but in the beginning you can use a piece of string wrapped in a similar manner to determine the length. Just remember to add extra length to account for the bail and the curls.
TIP: It is always best to cut more than you think you need. Discovering later on that you don't have enough wire will have wasted your time as well as material.
Step 3: Making the Bail
At this point you will need to determine the bail location. For this pendant design the bail will be located approximately 1/3 from the right end of the wire.
The bail is to be created looping the wire around one jaw of the round nosed pliers (3A). Be sure the bail loop is large enough to allow the clasp to pass through easily.
How you finish the bail is up to you. An easy way is to twist the wire around itself (inset 2C). A more visually pleasing style is to wrap the shorter side of wire around the other end three or four times (3B).
Whichever style you chose the shorter length of wire remaining will be where you make the first curl in the next section.
Step 4: Curling the 1st End
Grabbing the shorter end of wire with your round nosed pliers, curl the end into a closed loop (4A).
From here you securely grab the loop with your flat nosed pliers and continue curling the wire around itself until you have created the desired size curl (4B).
TIP: It can be easier to wrap the loose end of the wire around the loop rather than trying to create the curl by twisting the loop with the pliers.
Step 5: Starting the Wire Wrap
Now placing the wire on the back of the sea glass, bend the wire at the points where you will want both ends to wrap around the front of the glass (5A).
Now flip both the piece of sea glass and wire and continue to wrap the longer end around the front and back at the desired locations to ensure a secure hold (5B).
Step 6: Curling the 2nd End & Finishing Off the Wrap
With the remaining end of wire determine how much length is required for a final wrap around the front of the sea glass and to create the desired size curl that will finish the piece. Cut off the excess wire.
Jewelry Making Tools
TIP: You have a little latitude in judging how much wire is needed. You can always make the curl a little larger or small depending on how the final wrap progresses.
Complete the curl by following the instruction in STEP 4.
Finish your piece of jewelry by wrapping the final curled end around the front of your sea glass.
Photos and Instructions: How to Wire Wrap Sea Glass by Sea Glass Journal
Books on Wire Wrapping Techniques
Sea Glass Jewelry Designs
Here are a few gorgeous Sea Glass Pieces.
How to Drill Sea Glass
Step 1: Using the right tools
You can use a standard power drill, a small Dremel drill or a drill press. Select a small-diameter, ball-tipped, diamond-coated drill bit between .084 and 1 millimeter.
Step 2: Use water to lubricate the drill bit.
You can easily do this by placing the glass or pebble in a small plastic container. Add enough waterto cover the glass or pebble, but no more. Stabilize the glass or pebble by putting it on a small piece of sponge, wood, modeling clay or florist foam inside the plastic container.
Step 3: Make sure you use the right drill speed.
The larger the drill bit, the slower your drill speed should be. When drilling glass, use a speed of 2500 rpm for a drill bit less than 1/8-inch, or 750 rpm for a 1/8- to 1-inch bit. When drilling a pebble, use a speed of 1000 rpm for a bit less than 1/8-inch and 500 rpm for a bit between 1/8- and 1-inch. Consult the owner's manual of your drill to determine how to change the speed.
Step 4: Position the drill properly
When drilling a pilot hole, hold the drill at a slight angle, just enough to help it "bite" into the surface of the glass or pebble. When you are drilling the actual hole, hold the drill so the bit is straight up and down.
Step 5: Let the drill do the work
Don't press down. Drill a little at a time. Lift the bit out of the hole every few seconds to allow the water to wash the dust out of the hole before resuming drilling.
TIP: Drill halfway through the sea glass from the front and then turn the glass over and finish drilling from the back, this will eliminate chipping and assure you of a nice clean hole.
Read more: How to Drill Sea Glass and Beach Pebbles
Watch this video to get see an excellent tutorial on drilling holes in sea glass.
Inspired by the Beautiful Colors of Sea Glass
Yesterday, I stepped out to do a little shopping with my Mother.
And it amazed me that so many stores that I went into were showcasing their spring line. What I noticed was the colors they were using. They were aquas, cobalt, limes and more... They were the colors of Sea Glass and not only that but the jewelry styles were made from imitation type sea glass.
Sea Glass colors are symbolic of the sea and the feeling of cool ocean breezes. It is no wonder why these colors are used so often in our decorating palettes and clothing.
Photo by Richard Leo Johnson Decorating with Blue Green"
Sea Glass Resources
These site are exclusively related to the Sea Glass Artist or Sea Glass Collector. Loaded with a huge amount of information and wonderful pictures and ideas for creating gorgeous crafts with your Sea Glass.
- Tears of the Sea
Unique handcrafted sea glass jewelry.
- Sea Glass Artists
A Sea Glass Artist and Sea Glass Collector Community.
- Sea Glass Lovers
A Sea Glass Community for Collectors and Artists.
- Sea Glass Journal
A great site dedicated to all types of Sea Glass information.
- Sea Glass Association
NAGSA is an excellent resource for Sea Glass information and one which I go to quite frequently.
Sea Glass Collecting is so much fun.
Creating beautiful things with these sea gems is what truly inspires me. What inspires you?
Thanks so much for visiting, please come again soon.