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Sea Glass Jewelry & My Favorite Hobby

Updated on September 30, 2014
Sea-glass jewelry
Sea-glass jewelry | Source

Sea & Beach Glass

I'm a bit obsessed with sea glass jewelry. How often do polished gems just wash up on the beach waiting to be collected?

Not only are they beautiful to behold in their many colors, they are also very "green". They are an amazing example of nature's way of up-cycling, its formation is very similar to the transition of a grain of sand into a pearl inside of an oyster.

Never was the saying "one man's trash..." becoming someone's "treasure" more true. What once was various forms of glass broken and discarded without a care now is cleverly re-crafted by nature and without knowing it we can't help but finally pick up after ourselves. For us to re-purpose these gems into sea glass jewelry is as natural as a perfect diamond begging to be the center of a fine ring. This is truly one of the most beautiful types of recycled jewelry I've seen.

One of my favorite hobbies

My love of sea glass began when I was a child, beachcombing with my family and finding these rare jewels of the sea.

Although most pieces found while beach combing were really only common beach glass (small in size and a common beer bottle green color) valuable only to me, in my mind it was like finding emeralds!

Where to find Sea Glass

If you would like to experiment with making your own jewelry then you have two sources of where to find Sea Glass. You can either purchase it (see section below) or find it for free on the beach.

These pebbles can be found on the shore of beaches where glass at some point in time has been discarded near the shoreline.

The best specimens

The best pebbles will be found where there are a combination of any of these factors:

- A beach with fairly rough ocean waves, as opposed to a location that is almost always calm.

- The presence of many small rocks, pebbles or shells to assist in the corrosive action, as opposed to a beach with fine sand only.

- An area where there has been a history of significant human activity, where bottles would have likely been used and ended up in the sea, for instance picnic locations and old dumping grounds. Other examples include shorelines close to old seaside bottling plants and other old commercial glass projects and crafts, historic forts preferably with a history of lots of activity.

sea glass waiting to become a piece of jewelry
sea glass waiting to become a piece of jewelry | Source

Some of my raw material collection

Here is a sample from my collection, these two stacks of small rocks are just begging to become a pair of earrings.

I hesitate to make them because this style of earrings would require the rocks to be drilled, and I dislike thought of drilling holes into my treasures.

Fortunately I also have some larger pieces that would do well as wire wrapped pendants - no drilling required.

The pieces shown here were collected from various beaches and show a variety of the more common shades.

What is Sea Glass?

It is essentially pieces of glass that has been slowly worn by the action of the waves along the shoreline.

True sea glass takes years to perfect and is produced by the ocean not manufactured or created manually.

Sea Glass is nature's way of recycling waste into something beautiful... like a gem.

What sea glass crafts do you like best?

See results

Sea glass crafts - Featuring eco friendly recycled crafts

What is a Glass Beach ?

A shoreline that is renowned for regularly having lots of these types of rocks / pebbles. It can appear as though the entire shoreline is made up of these tiny rocks, the sea glass beach Fort Bragg California (Mendocino County) is one of the more popular locations.

How to make sea glass jewelry

If you are interested in making your own jewelry, these videos will help get you stated in the right direction. The wire wrapping technique is one of the most popular techniques for this type of jewelry making.

What I love about this technique besides the fact that it preserves the integrity of the materials used to make the jewelry is that the only tools needed are wrapping wire (I prefer sterling silver) and some tools for basic wire working such as a flush cutter and various pliers.

Perfect for Pendants

I knew very little as a child about where to look for the best specimens and what pieces were considered the most valuable, desirable collectible or rare, but when I got older I was intrigued to find that collecting them was actually a hobby loved by many, so much so that there are actually not only many sites and forums for collectors and hobbyist, but even annual festivals for collectors to showcase their treasures! Pendants are a great idea to display larger single pieces.

A good choice for chunky Necklaces

Because of the random and often clunky and asymmetrical nature of the pebbles it is often better suited to jewelry where the pieces can be displayed individually, as in necklaces and pendants rather than earrings which are often expected to be mirror copies of each other. These are some of the best necklace styles featuring the rocks that I've seen.

Earrings - all you need is two

The beauty of the rocks / pebbles lies in its natural frost and shimmer as it catches the light. It is therefore best suited to dangle drop & chandelier type earring styles since this enables the pebbles to catch the sunlight and show off its properties better that if it was placed in a pierced setting. The stones are often drilled or wire wrapped, however the beauty of wire wrapping especially for collectors is that it enables the pieces to be enjoyed without any damage to the surface. If you have very few pieces to choose from, all you really need is two similar pieces to make a pair of earrings.

Beach glass jewelry

What makes Beach glass different is that it has not had as much time or corrosive elements to age as well, therefore the typical frost and shimmer will be very subtle or missing.

The good thing about it (like the ones below, especially the hoops) is that it holds the original shape of the starting material very well, whereas seaglass through the long tumbling and aging process in the ocean usually has a more random and often pebble like shape.

Sea Glass Pebble Ocean Mix
Sea Glass Pebble Ocean Mix

The variety of shapes & colors in this mix makes it an awesome find, especially for beginners.

 

Sea Glass for Sale

Finding enough for your jewelry making needs would be ideal, but they are also available for sale online, they are often available in various colors and sizes and can be sold by weight or individually for special pieces.

Authentic pebbles vary in price according to the general rarity of the pieces. Factors affecting rarity includes size, color, the presence of frost and other signs of true aging by the ocean. Other factors include shape (for instance bottle stoppers), type of raw materials (such as marbles or art glass) and other special markings or embeds.

Here is an assortment of various shapes sizes and colors of sea glass for sale.

Eco-friendly Green jewelry

This type of jewelry uses discarded glass that has been transformed by the ocean and re-purposes it, so call it eco friendly green or recycled jewelry, authentic sea & beach glass is environment friendly.

Now you know about my favorite recycled or green jewelry, what's yours?

Recycled Jewelry

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    • Jemjoseph profile image
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      Jemjoseph 2 years ago

      Thanks grand old lady, it's fun to find them washed up on the shore and think of how their beauty can best be displayed.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 2 years ago from Philippines

      The sea stones are so pretty and they make wonderful pendants for necklaces and earrings. My favorite is the cross. What a lovely idea to get glass from the beach and to make something beautiful out of them.

    • Jemjoseph profile image
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      Jemjoseph 2 years ago

      I'm glad you enjoyed the info here, if you're lucky enough to find a beach with black seaglass they are especially hard to spot, they can look so much like ordinary rock until you hold them up to to sun and see the light shining through. Hope you have a successful treasure hunt!

    • tebo profile image

      tebo 2 years ago from New Zealand

      Interesting hub with lots of great ideas to try. Next time I am at the beach I shall keep my eyes peeled for sea glass.

    • Jemjoseph profile image
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      Jemjoseph 2 years ago

      I was wondering what the old blue glass might have been actually, I didn't even know that Vicks used to be packaged in blue glass containers, very interesting, thanks for sharing Suzzycue.

    • suzzycue profile image

      Susan Britton 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I never found too much jewelry but the blue glass probably came from broken vicks jars LOL now they are plastic and people collect the glass ones

    • Jemjoseph profile image
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      Jemjoseph 2 years ago

      Hi Suzzycue, finding sea glass in rare colors like blue is a real treat, it's great to find that perfect beach where there has been a long history of human activity (like camping) which increases the likelihood of dumped glass. I'm a big fan of beach combing also, it's relaxing and fun to find what natural treasures have been brought ashore by the ocean especially after a storm, plus finding old coins and other items like lost pieces of jewelry can also be fun.

    • Jemjoseph profile image
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      Jemjoseph 2 years ago

      Hi PurvisBobbi44, glad to know you enjoyed this hub. Thanks for stopping by.

    • PurvisBobbi44 profile image

      PurvisBobbi44 2 years ago from Florida

      Hi,

      I loved this hub, and I will return to read it again because company came in.

      Bobbi Purvis

    • suzzycue profile image

      Susan Britton 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I love sea glass and my favorite color was blue. I have a few pieces from beach combing because we were lucky enough to own a campground on 1600 feet of beach. Beach combing was my way of relaxing after work and watch the sunset over the lake at night.

    • Jemjoseph profile image
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      Jemjoseph 2 years ago

      Your welcome rebeccamealey, making crafts like jewelry out of sea-glass can be lots of fun. If you have a lot of sea-glass you can be even more adventurous and make other crafts like to decorate vases and picture frames. I hope to explore more of these crafts soon.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      I have lots of sea glass that I have collected, but haven't made any jewelry yet. Thanks for these ideas.

    • Jemjoseph profile image
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      Jemjoseph 2 years ago

      Thanks SussieQ42, the possibility of finding these treasures can make living by the beach lots of fun.

    • profile image

      SusieQ42 2 years ago

      I enjoyed reading this. You're so artistic! Thank you for sharing! (put this on Facebook for my granddaughter to read. She lives near the beach)

    • Jemjoseph profile image
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      Jemjoseph 2 years ago

      Thanks Mande, I love collecting beach stones and other natural treasures from the beach as well, it's a good way to remember a location and take a little bit of it home with you.

    • jandee profile image

      jandee 2 years ago from Liverpool.U.K

      I love collecting the gorgeous stones from various beaches ,from Liverpool to Ireland then my tiny Island of Jersey ,through to France.

      My house is full of them,thanks for more information..

    • Jemjoseph profile image
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      Jemjoseph 2 years ago

      Thanks MartiLawrence, glad to introduce you to something new, although beach glass can occasionally be found at inland sources like lakes, seaglass in all its glory is truly an ocean treasure.

    • MartiLawrence profile image

      Marti Lawrence 2 years ago from Grain Valley, Missouri

      This was very interesting and informative! I've always lived in the Midwest, I had no idea about sea glass. The jewelry is beautiful!

    • Jemjoseph profile image
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      Jemjoseph 2 years ago

      Thanks MJ Martin,

    • MJ Martin profile image

      MJ Martin aka Ruby H Rose 2 years ago from Washington State

      I've heard of sea glass. Not in jewelry though, these are awesome!

    • Jemjoseph profile image
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      Jemjoseph 2 years ago

      DeborahDian Making crafts with seaglass is lots of fun, if you only come across a few pieces then something simple like a pair of earrings might be the best thing to start off with. You would only need two good pieces that are similar in shape size and color.

    • DeborahDian profile image

      Deborah Carr 2 years ago from Orange County, California

      I live near the beach and I occasionally see sea glass. I've never thought about making jewelry from it, but this sounds like fun!

    • Jemjoseph profile image
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      Jemjoseph 2 years ago

      Thanks TonyPayne, it's fun when a person can use their creative talents like making jewelry and crafts to earn an income, especially if it involves a hobby they enjoy like collecting seaglass.

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 2 years ago from Southampton, UK

      I had a friend who used to spend a couple of weeks in the Florida Keys each year, and she would collect lots of beach glass, then spend the winter making jewelry and other items, which she would take back there and sell the following year.

    • Jemjoseph profile image
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      Jemjoseph 2 years ago

      Savateuse that must have been fun, I still remember this single clear pebble I collected as a child, and the beach I found it on, I still wonder what it was, it didn't quite seam like sea glass nor a pebble, but it was beautiful, and perhaps there my early love of gemlike seaside treasures began.

    • Jemjoseph profile image
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      Jemjoseph 2 years ago

      Thanks Loretta L, glad you liked it.

    • savateuse profile image

      savateuse 2 years ago

      I used to collect sea glass on the pebble beach near my grandparents home. Some beautiful pieces here!

    • Loretta L profile image

      Loretta Livingstone 2 years ago from Chilterns, UK.

      This is a beautiful hub. The jewellery is gorgeous.

    • Jemjoseph profile image
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      Jemjoseph 2 years ago

      Thanks ecogranny, I love to see them used as jewelry, but I've also seen them used to make various crafts including mosaic vases and wreaths, if you have a creative mind and enough sea glass, there are lots of possibilities.

    • Jemjoseph profile image
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      Jemjoseph 2 years ago

      Thanks Alli Rose, glad you liked it.

    • Jemjoseph profile image
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      Jemjoseph 2 years ago

      The fact that sea glass can look so much like semi precious gems used in traditional jewelry, and that it can be easily found along the right beach makes it a very appealing option for those who enjoy making their own jewelry. Plus they're pretty inexpensive to buy if searching for them isn't an option.

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 2 years ago from San Francisco

      What beautiful pieces! I love sea glass but had never thought of having any of it made into jewelry. These are absolutely lovely. Thank you for sharing what is obviously a passion.

    • Alli Rose profile image

      Alli Rose Smith 2 years ago from Washington, DC

      Really good article, I'll have to look into that.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 2 years ago from USA

      I've heard of it being called sea glass, but have not seen it in person. I have a friend that makes her own jewelry, but she has never made anything like this. So lovely.

    • Judy Filarecki profile image

      Judy Filarecki 2 years ago from SW Arizona and Northern New York

      I never heard of this, but it really is pretty. I grew up on the Atlantic Ocean and spent hours at the beach every week. I guess I was too young to appreciate.

    • Jemjoseph profile image
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      Jemjoseph 2 years ago

      Yes, the well rounded, frosty ones are often hard to find, It would be so wonderful to visit a glass beach where they are almost as numerous as pebbles on the sand.

    • junecampbell profile image

      June Campbell 2 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      Sea glass is beautiful. It is so hard to find. I suppose the relative rareness of it contributes to its value.

    • profile image

      WinWriter 3 years ago

      I love the crosses you feature on your lens. Really pretty. I, too, am a beachcomber from way back, having grown up in Florida. This is a great topic, Thank you for sharing.