Friday, September 14, 2007

Beach Glass 101

Okay, so I'm back at my full-time gig and trying to play catch-up from many days of inactivity from my illness this past week. I had a couple of days at the end of my absence from work to sit and create a decent amount of pieces, organize my supplies and I even snuck out to AC Moore's for about an hour to pick up some more yarn (on sale!!)
And now I have come down with a cold. UGGGH!

But I digress. Those that have read my blog recently have probably read a little about my beach glass obsession. To me, there's nothing more enjoyable than walking on the beach and coming across one of these brilliant gems lying among the shells or seaweed. A few years ago, I had no competition in my search. But now however, there are many people who are searching for them.

So what is Beach Glass?
Beach glass or sea glass are bottles that were lost in shipwrecks or discarded as trash (yes they're also known as trash-glass) that have gone through a natural tumbling process in the ocean. During this tumbling process which breaks up these bottles or large pieces of glass into much smaller "shards", the salt water hydrates the glass and the lime and soda are leeched out. This process gives the glass a frosty, crystal-like appearance. In sunlight, many of these pieces will appear brilliant and often sparkle brightly, making them highly sought after gems.

The amount of folks hunting these gems has grown significantly over the last few years and coupled with dwindling supplies ( the introduction of plastics into society in the 1960s has meant fewer glass bottles) has increased the value of beach glass and some colors are highly sought after by both collectors and crafters. Which brings us to...

Buying beach glass
My opinion on this subject is to know your source. As beach glass becomes harder to find, there will be some folks who will unknowingly (and of course knowingly) peddle "craft glass" as beach glass. Unfortunately, as the glass continues climb in value, there will be folks who try to take advantage of uneducated buyers.
So what then is craft glass? Sea glass or artificial sea glass is basically factory made pieces of glass - often run through a rock tumbler and sometimes given an acid bath (which is very toxic if not rinsed properly afterwards!) The pieces are made from sheets of glass or bottles and quite often when you see a large collection of craft glass, the colors and shapes/sizes will look similar.

I've recently stated I plan to make a few pieces of jewelry using beach glass. I've also stated that I have a hard time using my "finds" for anything other than displays. So I went and purchased some pre-drilled pieces from one of the impeccable sources of beach glass... Mr Charles Peden, co-founder and former President of the NASGA (North American Sea Glass Association) and I will using these gems for to make beach glass jewelry
For anyone interested in more information about these gems go to -

I'm excitedly awaiting my delivery of beach glass and I'm hoping I'll be able to part with at least a few of the creations (I know I'll have to keep something pretty for myself...after all, it's good advertising for me to wear one of my own pieces or 3)



idabble said...

Sorry about the grammatical errors, I was dealing with a misbehaving 4 yo while trying to get him ready for school. I ran spell check, but didn't proof read. That's what I get for trying to multi-task w/ a 4 yo.

Simply Wired said...

Great info here! I never thought about how beach glass would now be so valuable b/c of the increase in plastic production...but YEAH that makes sense. I hope you enjoy your glass once it arrives...have fun creating!