Sea Glass Jewelry & My Favorite Hobby
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.
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?
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.
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?