by Michele Buckler – Sand N Stones- 112 Front St. Lewes, DE
Long ago before we became “Green” conscious, we use to throw large portions of trash into bodies of water. Few ever gave a second thought to what happened to the trash once it got there. It would roll around in the sea for many years, some would break down and disappear, and others would wash back up on our shores.
Beachcombers use to walk the beaches and pick up glass seeing it as liter from long ago, others collected it, intrigued by its colors and shapes. It was not until Richard LaMotte wrote “Pure Sea Glass” in 2004, which told us of the value, where the glass could have come from, about the colors and the rarity of those colors.In 2009 he came out with a supplement to his book called “Pure Sea Glass Identification Cards, and in 2015 The Lure Of Sea Glass.
Genuine or Natural “Tide Tumbled” Sea Glass (also known as beach glass, mermaid’s tears, and Old Salts, Salties, many other names) is formed when any piece of glass (mostly bottles, tableware, windows, insulators, marbles, bonfire glass, ship wrecks, etc.) made their way into large bodies of water. The waves breaking them down, turning glass into shards, usually in triangular shape. The currents would move the glass over sandy surfaces smoothing the edges. Over several decades, the acidity of the water would give it a frosting turning glass into sea glass. It takes 50+ years for the acidity to eat away enough glass to make seaglass.
Many people are wondering why it is getting harder to find sea glass; there are different theories about this. More things are made of plastic today instead of glass. Some say it’s because most beaches have a carry in carry out policy. Can you remember when there were trash cans on the beaches? We are doing more recycling so we are not polluting as much as we once did. The process of beach restoration is pumping the sand from way out covering up the glass, there are also more beaches that are manicured, so they collect the shells, stones and sea glass, and use it for other purposes such as driveways. Most people say it is because more people are collecting it.
Beachcombers have found that they enjoy picking up sea glass, and displaying them in containers in their homes similar to those who enjoy gathering shells, stones and sea pottery. Authors have written about sea glass, Artisans have found ways to incorporate sea glass in their jewelry, photographs and paintings. Others have found ways to use the glass into everyday items such as sun catchers and candles. Some enjoy trying to identify its original origins.
“When I find a piece of sea glass it is like finding a missing piece of the puzzle.”
A few people have tried, unsuccessfully, to copy “Mother Nature’s” work by tumbling or etching the glass, called Ersatz sea glass. Zrsatz sea glass (fake, faux or Earth glass) has a certain appeal to some and is less expensive to buy, but to a true collector it cannot match the beauty or value that natural sea glass has. It is one of the few man-made things that get more desirable after it has been discarded and weathered by the elements.
Most beaches have sea glass some are better than others. You can do some research and find out if there were any shipwrecks near by, or what the beach or body of water was used for? Once you have found a beach that you want to collect glass from, it is best to look for glass during a full or new moon in the Fall and early Spring at low tide. But the most important thing about “sea glassing” is don’t tell others where you find your treasures.
You can bring your Sea Glass that you have found into Sand N Stones and Michele will be happy to custom wire wrap it for you in either 14k gf, Anti-Tarnish Sterling Silver (Argentium), or a combination of both. Michele usually makes pendants, pin, or earrings out of the Sea Glass.
Sand N Stones, Delaware & Nature Shoppe, “Your One Stop Sea Glass Shop!”
Your local Antique Bottle Club