Jewelry has long since captivated people of all kinds around the world. Rare gems, from diamonds to emeralds to rubies, have been prized as status symbols of wealth and royalty, and jewelry ranges from everyday decorations to mother to daughter inheritance to fables of pirate treasure. Sea glass, meanwhile, is another popular form of jewelry that originates not from intense pressure in the earth, but from the oceans. Sea glass jewelry has been popular for centuries thanks to the ocean’s gifts, and types of beach glass are available. Sea glass can also be worked into other jewelry. Different types of sea glass pendants, for example, are popular, as is sea glass wedding jewelry and sea glass rings, and even sea glass watches. The question is, where to find sea glass, and what is the best type to buy?
The Origins of Sea Glass
Sea glass has existed as long as man made glass itself, and is found on the world’s beaches, both freshwater and saltwater. According to Glass Beach Jewelry, for centuries around the globe, people threw away trash into the ocean and let the water carry it away, since landfills were a serious health hazard due to disease-carrying vermin. Glass products, such as bottles or jars for medicine and food and drink, broke in the ocean and were slowly ground down by sea salt and being washed onto the sandy beaches. Sea glass has existed at least sine 2000 BC, when Mesopotamian artisans practiced glass making. In fact, there are two main types of this glass. Sea glass comes from the ocean, which as a pH above 8 (basic, or alkaline), and beach glass comes from fresh water, which has a pH of 6 to 8, roughly neutral, meaning the dissolving process is much slower in fresh water. Folk legends used to call sea glass “mermaid tears,” where mermaids would cry every time a sailor died. In fact, sea glass is simply recycled and naturally polished glass refuse. Despite its humble origins, sea glass has proven very popular for jewelry for any occasion.
The Varieties of Sea glass
Sea glass can be found in a variety of colors and qualities, owing to the different types of glass used in man made glass products. Prescription bottles and perfumes from brands such as Vick’s Vapo Rub, Milk of Magnesia, and Bromo Seltzer yield the rare cobalt blue sea glass, sometimes called the sapphire of the ocean. More common shades and colors of sea glass are green, brown, and aqua, which originate from beer and soda bottles, shampoo bottles, Chlorox Bleach bottles, and more. Some other rare, exotic shades include pink, lavender, and purple, which come from perfume bottles and art glass. Some pink and lavender sea glass was once clear, but the glass’s original sand was amber-colored and became clarified with minerals in sand and then oxidized in the sun. A particularly rare shade of sea glass is red, or sea rubies, which can come from perfume bottles, car taillights or street light glass, or certain types of beer bottles manufactured in the 1950s.
Make it Into Jewelry
All kinds of jewelry is possible with sea glass for any occasion. Various types of sea glass pendants, for example, could include common shades like brown or green on a budget, or some types of sea glass pendants could use rare shades like red or cobalt blue as a show off item. They could be used for formal occasions or even for bridal jewelry, enhancing the look of a formal ceremony. Even decorative rings can incorporate sea glass in place of more expensive gems, and sea glass can be incorporated into watches. In fact, unlike with regular gems, some customers prefer cloudiness, or a “frosty” look in sea glass to enhance its look.
Some beaches are known for often producing sea glass, due to being popular places in history to dump refuse, often including glass. Nowadays, plastic is often the material of choice for bottles and other containers, which may drive up the rarity of sea glass over time. Different types of sea glass pendants or sea glass watches, for example, may become increasing rarities as glass is phased out. Even so, some beaches in California or Virginia were historically popular dumping grounds.