Over the course of the last few decades, collecting sea glass has become a lot more popular. There are a lot of things people can do with the sea glass they collect on the beach. Earrings made from sea glass are very popular, as are sea glass bracelets, sea glass necklaces and other jewelry made from this kind of glass. Because of its increased popularity, it has become harder and harder to find. USA Today put together an article that goes over some fun facts about sea glass.
Where is sea glass from?
While there are some myths that the glass was formed by the tears of mermaids, when you find earrings made from sea glass, you should know they have much more humble beginnings than that. When any kind of glass falls into the ocean, it starts a new life. It used to be that ships would just dump their garbage overboard and that was a common way that different kind of glass items such as bottles, household stuff and whatever other glass things they had, to get rid of trash.
Once submerged by the waves, the glass items are tossed and pounded. They were frequently broken into smaller pieces. After the glass gets smashed into smaller portions by rocks and waves, the sharper edges of the glass get smoothed out. This happens most often along shipping routes. The glass takes a rather violent path towards the shore. This glass can spend decades being beaten by the waves. All this time in the water creates the frosty look we so often think of when we think of beach glass.
What kind of beach glasses exist?
There are several places from whence earrings made from sea glass can come. Most of the glass that is used comes from two sources. The two main types of sea glass are designer glass and production glass.
Designer glass is typically from glass that was made to be jewelry or art. It is much less common than production glass and is therefore more pricey and valuable. Some glass that has Tiffany shading or is brown is considered to be designer glass. Earrings made from sea glass that is considered to be “designer” glass are more expensive.
The more common kind of beach glass is the production glass. Large amounts of this were made for general use products. These products include windows, dinner glasses, bottles, lamps and vases. It also includes period glass such as Depression Era Glass and Carnival glass, though these two types of the glass are more rare because not as much was made at the time.
What forces in the sea change the look of the glass?
There are two things that happen to glass that has fallen in the water that change the way it looks. The first is tumbling and the second is hydration. When the glass stays in water that is off a rocky coast, it can become stuck between two rocks. When that happens, only a small portion of the glass will be exposed to the waves. This also ends up creating pieces of beach glass that are triangular in shape. When the glass finds its way to a more sandy spot, it is often more rounded and smooth when it is found.
The hydration process is a bit different. When anything is exposed to water for a long period of time, its chemical makeup is changed. This is true of the glass that finds itself in water. When it first falls in, the glass has lime and soda in it but that is leeched out over time. This is what gives the glass a more frosty look. This takes a long time to happen. When the soda and lime are combined with the sea water, small crystals are formed making sparkly pits in the glass.
What colors can I get?
There are a number of colors for beach glass. The most common are green and brown. Harder ones to locate are orange, red, aqua and cobalt blue. Accordingly, the more rare the color of glass the more expensive the earrings made from sea glass will be.
Items made from sea glass have a very unique look and feel. You can almost imagine the journey the material has taken.