sea glass or beach glass: gems of the ocean
Beach glass, also called sea glass, is simply bits or pieces of glass worn by the ocean waves, sand, rocks, and coral. It might be a piece of shattered glass bottle thrown into the ocean by a careless boater or drunken partier on the beach. Some pieces certainly come from ancient shipwrecks whose cargo or ship's galley included some glassware. Many pieces of sea glass come from old glass factories, perhaps long ago closed, whose bits and pieces were carried off in ocean currents and landed on a distant shore.
We find our best sea glass on secluded beaches. Places where people rarely beach comb but the ocean carries off discarded or lost glass worn by the sea are our favorite places to visit anyway, but the added bonus of gathering treasures is always a promising adventure.
The frosted appearance of beach glass is unique to glass which has actually been worn by the sea. The ocean waves and sandy beaches treat the surface of the beach glass differently than a tumbler or other method of atrificially frosting or etching glass mechanically or chemically. The ocean treats the beach glass perfectly and evenly, but not caringly. Sometimes a piece of beach glass has deep gouges or marks from impacts. Sometimes these impacts leave concentric rings which glisten in the light. Some pieces of beach glass have amazing marks or crevices which reveal as much of the story of this ancient sea glass as any human might ever know.
We find these pieces of sea glass and gather them back to the boat for further inspection. A good day of beach combing may yield us only a handful of small sea glass. With any luck, several of those sea glass pieces will be smooth and large enough that we can make them into valuable jewelry pieces. Back at the boat we sort through them and look for pieces with even texture, no sharp points or chips, but most of all, character.
We draw out design ideas for our beach glass jewelry and make plans for how and where they will be drilled and wrapped in silver. We get very excited about finding pieces which are similar sizes and colors so we can pair them for earrings. We use some of the smallest smooth beach glass pieces to design rings.
We drill small holes into the glass to attach sterling silver, a task not undaunting on a special treasure as fragile as these. We do not tumble, etch, grind, or otherwise alter or shape the beach glass other than to drill the holes, as the ocean-smoothed texture always seems so different and far superior to anything we can do with chemicals or machines.
When our beach glass jewelry is ready, we photograph and catalog it to be listed on our web site for sale. We hope you enjoy the pieces. They are our favorite and most exciting found treasures.