Treasures from the Sea - Collecting Seaglass to make one of a kind Jewellery

Posted by: JaJeJems

Natural Seaglass

Natural Seaglass is found along the shorelines of salt and fresh waterways in countries all over the world.  It is anthropogenic (from human sources) glass that is physically and chemically weathered.  Salt water bodies produce seaglass that is frosty and smooth.  Glass found on the beaches in inland waterways is called beach glass.  It is typically less weathered looking than seaglass because of the lack of tides and salt water. 

Seaglass may be hidden under the sand, in crevices on rocky shores or simply sitting in plain view on the beach.

Because people are being more careful not to throw their garbage in waterways, as well as the increase in the use of plastics and the increase in the number of people looking for it, natural seaglass is becoming harder to find. 

White and gea glass that comes from broken bottles.

This has led some artisans and crafters to make use of rock tumblers to produce artificial sea and beach glass.  This solves the problem of demand and allows the production of jewellery and home decor items at a cheaper price.  However, an afternoon of careful beachcombing can yield a bag full of lovely pieces. Their soft natural look and feel simply cannot be duplicated by artificial means, not to mention that feeling of romance!

Guessing where the glass originated is half the fun of collecting it. Most seaglass comes from broken bottles, but other sources could be jars, windows, windshields, ceramics and pottery. 

The colour of the glass will be the first clue to its origin.  The most common colours and the easiest to find are white, kelly green and brown as pictured here.  These come generally from beer, wine and soft drink bottles.  White may also come from clear glass dishes, windshields, and windows.

Green Sea GlassAnother clue to the origin of the seaglass could come from words, numbers, letters or symbols that have not been worn off the pieces. 

The most common pieces are the bottoms of bottles and sometimes the pieces are quite large, especially those made of very heavy glass.

Cobalt and cornflower blue glass is much harder to find.

This generally comes from old medicine bottles, Vicks VapoRub, Vaseline, Noxema  and poison bottles. Aqua from Ball Mason jars and 19th century glass bottles is also rare. 

Gray, pink, teal, black, yellow, turquoise, red and orange are extremely rare.  The sources of these colours are primarily tableware, art glass, car and nautical lights, Depression ware and old gin, wine and beer bottles.

Aqua and blue sea glass.For Janis and Jessica, collecting seaglass along the coastlines of Atlantic Canada started out as a hobby to have a few lovely pieces of seaglass for decorating. 

Janis began collecting seaglass several years ago on the rocky beaches near her cottage in Newfoundland. 
Jessica started when visiting the sandy beaches near her home in Moncton New Brunswick. 

When JaJeJems was formed, making jewellery from the collected seaglass seemed to be a natural next step.  Jessica started wrapping the lovely pieces of glass in silver and gold wire and Janis made them into one-of-a kind fashion pieces.

On the right are three examples of the pieces offered in our online jewelry store, JaJeJems.

Wire wrapped sea glass jewelry.The pieces can be beautifully set off with a simple chain that matches the wrapping wire or the addition of some complimentary beads, as in the centre piece, can also be very effective.

For more information on seaglass "The Story of the Seaglass" is a lovely children's book by Anne Wescott Dodd, beautifully illustrated by Mary Beth Owens. It is a wonderful story to introduce young and old to the hidden treasures of the sea. 

In North America the North American Sea Glass Association holds conferences and produces a newsletter that you might find of interest.  For those living or visiting the east coast of Canada, there is also a seaglass festival annually on Prince Edward Island entitled the Mermaid Tears Sea Glass Festival - how romantic does that sound! 

Seaglass reminds me of sunny days spent at the seaside, even when the cold winds of winter are still blowing.  What does seaglass remind you of? Do you have any stories picking seaglass on your vacation?

  • Category:
  • Great Finds
  • Tags:
  • inspirations
  • seaglass
  • fashion jewellery
  • sea glass
  • treasures
  • glass jewelry
  • beach glass
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Mar 12, 2012 | OhLaLaBride

Hi, great post, love the story of Janis and Jessica, and how you got your inspiration, you both are very talented and your creations unique and gorgeous.

Mar 12, 2012 | ArtsyPillows by Jolene

Every day is a learning experience, thank you for sharing this information on sea glass. I used to pick sea glass off the shores of the St-Laurent River in Rimouski Qc. You are so right, they are beautiful and so smooth. Now that you have mentioned the Mermaid Tears Sea Glass Festival, yes Sea glass reminds me of mermaid tears, yes, romantic and magic.

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JaJeJems (aka JaJeJems )
York Harbour, NL, Canada

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