Sea Glass, What Do You See?
Sea Glass. I never really have given it much thought. I’ve seen some interesting jewelry made from it- typically at craft shows. Occasionally in a beach town tourist shop. I recently read a novel where the main character made jewelry with it as her trade. Basically, that’s about as much thought as I’d ever given to sea glass.
A few weeks ago we were floating around on a small cruise ship off the West Coast of Africa. On our last sea day there was a talk being given on sea glass jewelry. Choices being limited as to things to do at exactly that moment in time, I thought I’d attend the talk.
The talk was given by another passenger Jean Forman. She is a sea glass jewelry artist, and had a lot of interesting information to share.
I was amazed at how much there was to learn about something as seemingly “simple” as Sea Glass. Sea glass can often be up to 100 years old. It is becoming more valuable, as less and less glass bottles are being made. To find a piece of red or yellow sea glass is very rare, as virtually no bottles are made with those colors any longer.
I was surprised to find out how valuable one of these rare pieces of glass could be! Jean stated that some pieces of the glass could sell for hundreds of dollars due to its rarity.
Jean shared that sea glass should have a “providence”- just like valuable artwork has a providence. Her jewelry all has a tag on it that tells where she found the particular piece of glass. In her talk, Jean stated that she has had great luck finding sea glass on beaches in Greece, Glass Beach at Fort Bragg and most recently, on our cruise stop in Goree Island in Dakar.
To find sea glass, you want to look on beaches where you see rocks. As the rocks come rolling in, so does the sea glass.
One of the stops on this trip was at Goree Island. We actually had to take a ferry over from our ship. According to Jean and one of our expedition team, Goree Island proved to be a fabulous place for the sea glass collector! Both of them found a great bounty of sea glass to add to their collections!
As with anything valuable, or collectible, there are books that talk about the different colors of sea glass, and what type and age the bottles they come from may be. Obviously, some types and colors are more rare than others. In doing a bit of research on Sea Glass I found that some of the “extremely rare” colors of sea glass would be orange, red, black, teal and gray. Many of the more rare colors of sea glass were made from tableware. Most of us are more familiar with the soft greens, blues and white sea glass, which are the most common colors. That glass most often came from mass produced bottles, such as 7 up, Coca-Cola and other drinks.
Simon Cook, of the expedition team on the Silversea Silver Cloud shared pictures of some of his sea glass. He had unusual stopper shaped glass, round marble shaped glass and other interesting pieces. He doesn’t make jewelry from his glass. He displays it in interesting glass bottles and vases. He shared one small bottle, which had been his father’s. In it are over 800 pieces of glass! You would never guess that to look at it.
We’ve all heard about tumblers where you can make your own “sea glass.” You can also purchase it at stores such as Michaels and Hobby Lobby. This would be referred to as “cultured sea glass” and, obviously not as valuable. If a jewelry maker doesn’t give you the provenience of the piece of glass, it’s probably been made and/or purchased in this manner. It’s still lovely, but not as valuable as the true sea glass.
I’m not one to walk the beaches very often, but when I do, I’m always scouting for shells or other objects. Now I’ll have to take the time to look for a bit of beach glass, and see what story it has to share.
To check out Jean Forman’s beautiful, hand crafted jewelry, go to https://www.custommade.com/by/luckyseaglassjewelry/
Thanks also to Simon Cook from the UK for use of his sea glass pictures for this article!