Sea Glass Blog

7- Reasons Sea Glass Has Become So Popular

Have you noticed the sea glass boom?

Have you caught the sea glass fever?

I know it has made me stop to ask myself, just why?

I started collecting sea glass at least 50 years ago, yikes!! did I just say 50? Yes, I was about 10 years old, living on the NJ shore, and collecting not just sea glass, but shells and driftwood. Never dreaming I would become a sea glass jewelry designer.

So these are the top 10 reasons I think sea glass has become so popular.

1. Glass has become an obsolete entity. Plastic has taken over our world. One day I think there will be jewelry made with plastique' instead of sea glass.

2. We recycle. The first Earth Day was April 22, 1970. The Greeks in Athens, 500bc were the first to have a municipal dump, so some could say that this is when recycling started. Either way, we have become more aware in the last 40-50 years about public dumping and littering. This has made for less sea glass, making it much more desirable. As with most humans we always want what we cannot have.

3. Profit. With the sea glass boom comes business. It shocks me when I google sea glass jewelry, and what pops up on the top of the page, are places like Nordstroms, Walmart, Target and so on. If you are reading this you know like I know, that it can not possibly be genuine sea glass that they are selling. But sadly, for many people, they are not aware, or just do not care.

4. World Wide Web. With social networking, we can find thousands of sea glass clubs, sea glass sites and an abundance of sea glass knowledge.  There is also a magazine being published, solely dedicated to sea glass.

5. My friend , Richard Lamotte self published his book "Pure Sea Glass" in 2004. I have to give him credit as this book helped to launch the sea glass boom! I do not know how many copies he has sold, but I have never been at a show, or a sea glass festival, when there has not been a massive line of people waiting to purchase his book. Filled with fabulous photos from Celia Pearson, and and 224 pages of sea glass knowledge, it really is a must for a serious sea glass person.

6. Health. With places even like McDonald's changing their menu to healthier options, we are becoming more aware of our heath. It has been proven that walking can improve your health. Well, as a sea glass collector you know it requires plenty of walking and bending. My thought is, that people may not start out as a sea glass collectors, but finding the shiny gems along the shores as they are taking their daily walk, will become to temping to ignore. Alas, a sea glass collector is born!

7. In this high tech world we are searching for relaxation. Most of us spend way to much with our electronic devices, look at me typing away here on my laptop. What else is, free, rewarding, healthy and almost medicinal nowadays? Not too much, sea glass has a way of just making you happy!

 

 

  Some of my collection from last fall in Greece!

Some of my collection from last fall in Greece!

 Richard's Book

Richard's Book

 Sea Glass Magazine

Sea Glass Magazine

6- Ways to Use Sea Glass

Well here we are in August, and maybe your sea glass bucket is full.

Now the big question is what to do with it?

First things first, you need to disinfect your sea glass, I have written a blog about this already so I wont go into detail, but white vinegar works for me!

Maybe you have no interest in drilling and designing jewelry with your sea glass and would just like to display it. Here are my 6 ways to use your sea glass for display.

1. Frame it. I am a huge fan of thrift stores and garage sales. Keep an eye for some pretty frames. Start small first, try using E-600 glue it works very well. Play with colored paper background. Try different styles and patterns laying your sea glass out before you glue, there is no wrong pattern just have fun! You may also find a shadow box and just lay your sea glass on the bottom with some cool shells and sand.

2. Put your sea glass in glass containers. Again a great place to find and unlimited amount of bottles and jars are thrift stores and garage sales. Use one color in each jar, or mix the colors it really is whatever makes you happy. A window sill with lots of light would be a perfect place for your sea glass, a great reminder of Summer when those winter days come strolling in. A shelf just for your sea glass is another great place to display, as when items are massed together it makes for a stunning look.

3. Add sea glass to your flower vase. Is your Summer flower garden in bloom? Bring some flowers in and add the sea glass to the bottom of the clear vase before adding water. The color and texture will enhance your fresh flowers.

4. Make a sea glass candle display. It is best to use a shallow container, a Pyrex pie plate could work for this, or something like it. Add 4 or 5 votive candles, the battery operated would work great for this project. Fill in with the sea glass, again mix the colors or just one. We all have a lot of white sea glass and with the glow of the candles the white would be lovely.

5. Make a sea glass ornament. Have a stroll through your local craft store, or on line craft store for either clear plastic or glass balls. You are on the beach anyway this month so take a small bag of sand home from your favorite beach spot. Fill the ball a 1/4 of the way with your sand and then add your sea glass. Use your small pieces for this as the opening will be small. Add some glitter for a little holiday bling. Finish your sea glass ornament with a festive cord, or ribbon and enjoy!

6. Make a sea glass bowl. I sound like a broken record, but you cannot beat a thrift store for a small glass bowl. Be sure to clean it well with soap and water before you begin your design. E-600 glue works wonderfully on sea glass, be patient as this project is close to doing a jig saw puzzle, as you cannot lay your sea glass out first, and you just have to patiently glue each piece of sea glass on leaving as little space as possible. How fun it will be to serve your favorite snacks in this sea glass bowl.

I hope I have inspired you to sort and clean your sea glass and have some creative fun with your Summer treasures!

 

 Mix your sea glass anyway that makes you happy, using all one color or as shown here a fun mix.

Mix your sea glass anyway that makes you happy, using all one color or as shown here a fun mix.

 My friend's collection, or part of it! Can you imagine having a sea glass collection to look at like this on those dreary days!

My friend's collection, or part of it! Can you imagine having a sea glass collection to look at like this on those dreary days!

How To Photograph Sea Glass Jewelry

Well hello,  I have been sidetracked from sorting sea glass we brought back from Greece to photographing new sea glass jewelry to add to our website.

Thought I would give you a little insight to my process.

Of course light plays a huge part. A good camera helps as well.

I prefer a SLR camera myself and purchased this Sony a300 with a micro lens at least 10 years ago and it still rocks it. I know a lot of people use their smart phones for photos, but for me the pixel sharpness is just not there. I want whoever stops by my site to be able to enlarge my photos and see every detail, and you just cannot get this with a smart phone, at least with the I-phone 6 that I have. As phone cameras evolve this may not be the case in the future. So for now I will stay "old school" with my SLR.

When we lived in the Florida Keys I has so much natural light on my side porch  it was amazing, And if you can find natural light use it. 

Moving to Delaware has been good for us but not for light and photographing. I realized I would need a light box. This was daunting as there are so many out there with prices ranging from $20.00 to $500.00. Since it was my first one I decided to buy on the low end. I think I paid about $29.99 on Amazon.

It came with an LED light and was very easy to put together, there is not a wall plug, it comes with a USB cable that I hook right into my studio laptop. The light is very good, but *sigh* nothing beats natural light and when the weather breaks here I will go back to taking my photos outside.

I have invested in a macro lens as feel it really makes a difference when photographing jewelry.

I also find it helps to have something of interest either in the background or as you can see I am using a shell to take my photos. This helps to add some dimension to your photos.

I have also invested in a photo program to crop my photos, and adjust any lighting problems.

This is just one more step in the sea glass business.

So much more I could write, but I think I covered the basics

Please feel free to contact me if you ever have any questions about any of my blogs!

All the best

Christeena

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Sorting Greek Sea Glass Part 2

Just wanted to do a follow up and a photo of the Greek sea glass color sorted. Now I will date the container, and the place it was found. From here it will go onto my shelving unit with the pounds of sea glass that I have. It will be sorted at least 50 times over and over, by size and shape until it is used into one of our "one of a Kind" pieces.

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Unpacking and Cleaning Greek Sea Glass

Our six week trip this year to Greece brought us home with 11 Kilos or approximately 24lbs. of sea glass.

As the photos show, I bring the sea glass back in plastic bags and then roll them in bubble wrap and neatly put them in my checked bag. I have a rule with our Greek travels. Since we own a flat  whatever I bring to Greece stays in Greece, so this gives me the luxury of returning with an empty suitcase.

After unpacking the glass see our photos, I fill a small bucket with plain white vinegar the cheaper the better, and a small amount of warm water and whatever dish detergent you prefer. I allow it to soak for about an hour or so, I then rinse it with warm water and we are ready to start the tedious process of sorting, a great Winter project. Note that I do the soaking in small batches, as I like to sort my sea glass wet, and I use a white towel and plenty of good light as this will help to show the true colors of the sea glass. As in the past I confused many red with brown only to find them later mixed in.

I will have more photos in a few days of my progress.

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New Year Resolutions

I cannot speak for you but every year I make new year resolutions, but ahhh I never seem to keep them. One of them is to keep up with this sea glass blog, well here I am but please don't judge me, cause chances are it will not be a resolution kept....:) The truth is I really enjoy writing but keeping up with it is another thing.

Most people think running a sea glass website is fun and easy.....you just sit back and sell your sea glass jewelry in your pajamas. I will admit it is great not leaving the house to go out and work everyday, as I did that for years. But, just like any job it is hard work and I try and treat just like the brick and mortar flower shoppe I ran for many years

This week I am gearing up and designing  new sea glass jewelry for Valentine's Day, cleaning up the website and adding new product.

I wish you luck on your New Year resolutions this year and if you see me here more often you will know I stuck with mine!

See you soon

Christeena

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Our 2017 Sea Glass Year

Well here we are the end of 2017.

We feel fortunate as we have had a good year here at Sea Glass Jewels and Co. Our first year in our new home in Delaware. It allowed us to do a few more Sea Glass shows, expand our studio and spend sometime collecting sea glass not only here in Delaware, but in my home state of New Jersey as well. We also spent 6 weeks in Greece (our other home) collecting some fabulous pieces of sea glass and that will be the January project now that the Christmas rush is over. I  bring the sea glass home in zip locks wrapped in bubble wrap in my suitcase, so far I have never been questioned about it, although I have been holding my breath for the last 17 years that I have been bringing it back. It needs to be unwrapped, cleaned in a mix of water and white vinegar and then sorted by color and then re-sorted and re-sorted by size and quality. My next blog will include photos of this process.

Our hope for everyone is a healthy and happy 2018!

See you soon

Christeena

My Pet Peeve (or just plain venting)

By nature I am (or I try not to complain) as I have a great life and by nature a very happy person.

But when I see people on the web just blatantly selling fake sea glass it just ticks me off.

Here is an instance, there is a person on Amazon off all places (we are talking big time selling now) who is selling "sea glass" jewelry. It is totally fake even to the untrained eye, and yet there is not a place on her description that says it is made made. She claims to have found it in Hawaii, IMPOSSIBLE!  It is totally fake and tumbled....

One day in a fit of rage, I wrote to her and questioned her saying something like you would not sell cubic zirconium as a certified diamond, would you? Never got a response. Go figure?

Then I wrote to Amazon and told them that there was a fake product on their site, no response go figure?

This is not my first time calling out fake sea glass, can I police the web and call out every piece of fake sea glass out there? Well, no even in my rage I am well aware that I cannot.

So what is the answer? EDUCATION....here are a few tips when purchasing loose sea glass or sea glass jewelry.

1) If the price is too good to be true, just like most things in life you know there is something wrong with it. An average piece of genuine red sea glass pendant size will not be under a $100 these days from a reputable sea glass seller.

2) Most people are buying on line these days, so I can understand how it would be hard to tell from a photo. But genuine sea glass will not be clear when held to the light, it will have pitted markings similar to the letter C. So always check your return policies when purchasing.

3) Yes, you can see with my earrings that I do match my pieces, but they are never perfect. It is extremely rare (almost impossible) to find two perfect square pieces of sea glass. This is a tell tale sign.

I will continue this Education discussion at a later date, as I feel passionately and very strongly about genuine sea glass, and the people who sell fake sea glass and do not disclose it to their clients.

Rant over, (for now) thanks for listening :)

Christeena

The Sea Glass Life Just Flies By....

Hard to believe half of 2017 is over...I know the old saying "seems like it was just Christmas" well really wasn't it?

Many new things happened for us this year, we moved from the Florida Keys to lower Delaware, slower lower they call it, and in some ways it does have the Keys feeling, people are nice and friendly for sure, we are still by the water and there are many SEA Glass Lovers here!

New house means a new studio, it took 15 home depot buckets just to move all the sea glass we have collected through the years, most of it brought home in suitcases from Greece and some from California. But the new studio is organized, bright and we even picked the color sea glass for the wall without realizing it, just meant to be....

Being in Delaware has allowed us to spread our wings a bit and do a few shows. In April we were in St. Michael's for the Eastern Shore Sea Glass and Coastal Art Festival, a great show with Kim at the helm, we saw a lot of old friends and made a lot of new ones as well.

In May we drove up to New Hampshire for The Northeast Sea Glass Expo. Debbie is a lovely person who made the festival run smoothly. Again we met and saw so many old and new friends a wonderful time a hoping to go back again next year.

Now we are getting ready for the 2017 Mid-Atlantic Sea Glass and Coastal Arts Festival, June 24th and 25th. For the last 8 years we have packed up the car and drove the 25 hours to be here for this fabulous show. This year it is a 15 minute drive and this is a really good thing. We always look forward to seeing so many of you at this show.

Well that is it for this time, need to get to the studio as time is just flying by........

All the best

Christeena

 

Day 4

So sorry we missed a few days and a few islands. We have been in the islands of Aegina and Poros. Two lovely island in the Saronic. We are now in Hydra one of my personal favorites as there are no cars or motorbikes. Donkeys are still the main transportation on this magical island and the streets are lined in marble.  

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We leave tomorrow for the island of Kea this is where the sea glass collecting begins.  

Our Greek Sea Glass Adventure

We are currently in Greece. Preparing to take a sailboat for a month through the Aegean Sea. With my husband at the helm, a Captain here in Greece for more than 40 years it will be an adventure.

Of course our main goal is to collect sea glass but there is something here in Greece that just touches your soul. You may not realize it a first as you are still in the USA state of mind, running, shopping, texting, but after a few days on the boat you begin to change, life becomes brighter, slower, your mind begins to wind down and your heart and soul are held captive by the beauty of this fabulous country.

My plan is to take you with us, now don't hold it against me if I do not keep up, as I said we are still outside of Athens in our home at the moment. And here in Voula it is not so different as you might think from the good ol' USA, it is when you arrive on the islands that the magic happens!

So here is an invite to follow us on our SEA GLASS journey through the Greek Islands.

Welcome aboard and see you soon!

Christeena

 

We made it through the long Winter!

Seems unbelievable that I have not written our blog since December and now Summer is a month away....

We are busy preparing for our largest show of the year (we only do two) in Lewes Delaware June 28th and 29th. If you have never visited Lewes it is a charming town with flowers in bloom and the scent of the ocean in the air.

The Mid-Atlantic Sea Glass and Coastal Arts Festival is an eclectic mix of sea glass lovers and designers, outside in the fresh air always a fun and successful day for us.

It is a time when we get to launch our new sea glass jewelry line as our pieces evolve and change constantly.  It is the same with our website, I bore easily and am always looking for new ideas and designs.

Hope to see you in Delaware and please come by and say hello!

Enjoy

Christeena

Below are just a few of our new designs

 

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Sea Glass Holiday Greetings

Don't the Holidays seem to come faster and faster each year?

They say as you grow older time flies faster and faster, well I am 55 now and cannot imagine the years going any faster than they are now!

Growing up in New Jersey Christmas meant a lot to me. We were lucky enough to be able to take the train to NYC to see the tree in Rockefeller Center every year and the Rockette's Christmas show at Radio City Music Hall. Chilly days and snowy nights it was easy and fun to get into the spirit. Big thanks to world wide web where you can download a photo of anything including the tree in Rockefeller Plaza.

Now living in the Florida Keys has a lot of wonderful benefits, beautiful weather, sunny skies, fresh air and gorgeous turquoise waters. The only drawback is that none of these things have anything to do with Christmas. We have to work a little harder here to get into the spirit of the season.

But we do...We always have a fresh Christmas tree in our home even if we have to keep the air conditioning on to keep it fresh, we participate in boat parades and insist on wearing Santa hats and scarfs with our bathing suits.

The Christmas tree below filled with sea glass and starfish depicts our Christmas's these days.

From our Sea Glass Studio here at Sea Glass Jewels and Company we wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Much thanks for your support and patronage during this year we could not continue to do what we love without you!

All the best,

Christeena

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Design Using Sea Glass

So for our final chapter in the How to of Sea Glass we will discuss

How to Design Using Sea Glass. 

I consider myself very fortunate that my design talent is a gift.

I was born into a family of creative people and was allowed to express myself creatively as a child. I was a floral designer for many years with my own business, so the transition to sea glass designing came very to easy to me as I am totally self taught.

We all have a creative side within us, and of course art is interpretation so leave yourself open for creativity.

Maybe you love your sea glass and just want to display it in a cool bowl or container, this is a design in itself.

Perhaps you would like to become more serious and begin to drill your sea glass or wire wrap your sea glass for jewelry.

Drilling can be very tricky and I have found a link for you here to get you started

http://jewelrymakingjournal.com/drilling-beach-glass/

 

Jewelry Making Journal has some great articles and courses a great reference for beginner designers.

Maybe you are against drilling and would like to wrap your sea glass here is a simple video to get you started.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_Hnk3dJqs4

Of course the possibilities are endless with designing.

Make yourself aware and study colors, textures and balance.

It can take time and patience.  Do not be afraid to browse the web for ideas, and then make them your own.

All and all if you love your work it will show in the end product, so relax take a breath and get started!

This ends our How to Series please feel free to contact me at seaglassjewels@yahoo.com if you have any questions, I am very open to helping people that are looking to begin a career in sea glass.

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of our drilled and hand wired sterling silver charm bracelets

 

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Determining the Value of Sea Glass

Continuing with

 "How to Series of Sea Glass" 

We will discuss how to determine the value of sea glass. 

By now you have collected, cleaned and sorted your sea glass, and you maybe wondering how to determine the value.  Color, shape, size and markings on the sea glass are big factors.

Sea glass is also priced by grade,

Jewelry grade = perfect pieces without chips and heavy frost

Craft grade = chipped pieces or not cooked without heavy frost

 

 

It is obvious rare colors such as red, orange and yellow are the most valuable. These pieces can demand hundreds of dollars.

 When producing these colors an element called gold chloride is used. It contains gold so naturally it makes these colors both rare and expensive.

These colors were never massed produced in the United States, hence making them a difficult find for the sea glass collector.

Marbles, bottle stoppers, insulators any glass object that is still in tact can also be in high demand and are valuable.

Blacks, depression glass (usually pastels), carnival glass, milk glass, multi color English sea glass are rare finds and can demand high prices.

Blue, turquoise, citron, peach, lavender, purple and aqua are also sought after pieces that can demand high prices. The list can go on, just keep in mind if the piece is perfect and without flaws it is considered valuable in today's market.

Because common colors as green, white and brown are still in mass production today it makes these pieces less valuable, but again some of these pieces maybe unusual shapes and sizes adding to the value.

To put an actual price on a piece of sea glass is really quite difficult.

There is not a set market in the world as with gems.

For some serious collectors as myself I have pieces in my private collection that are priceless to me...and I could never sell them.

If you are serious about selling your collection, my suggestion would be to surf the web and compare the prices of loose sea glass.

Now with jewelry designs with sea glass it is a whole different ball game.

Look for our next blog last of the series

"How To Design With Sea Glass"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

SOME OF THE FABULOUS PIECES OF SEA GLASS WE FOUND THIS SUMMER IN THE GREEK ISLANDS

How To Sort, Clean and Care for Sea Glass

Okay, so by now you have found your favorite hidden collecting spot for sea glass.

The next steps can be tedious for some, but the process is an important one.

Just stop and think about the sea glass that you have picked up. It really is trash no matter how we think of it.

If you are lucky enough you have found a dumping ground, or even a deserted beach where people run their dogs, or any beach for that matter the sea glass has had an unknown journey. So, with that in mind it is in need of a good disinfecting before you go any further.

We choose to use a bucket filled with white vinegar and a touch of water. Let the sea glass soak a minimum of 2 hours and then rinse with plain water.

The white vinegar is an inexpensive way to clean the sea glass naturally without any harsh detergents, and it works. You can find it in hardware stores in a gallon size or at your local grocery store.

For any tar or stains that I find on the sea glass I use Goo gone, a staple in our home it is a wonder product that you can also find in your local hardware store.

From there I sort right from the bucket so the glass is still wet when I begin the process. I sort onto a white towel to allow the sea glass to dry. I use white because now the color sorting will begin and the colors will show through on a white background.

We are fortunate to live in a place that has an abundance of sunshine all year long. You really need natural light to sort your colors properly, so find a place next to a window if you cannot sort outside.

This is where we all find our own comfort zone, as their is really no specific way to sort.

I personally start by colors, sorting them into piles, but pulling any unusual pieces out that have writing on them or that are really unusual.

Keep in mind I am a designer so I know that I will be using these pieces for my jewelry. So sizing will come next, pendant sizes, earring sizes and so on. Have you ever noticed how many triangles shapes there are? These have to be matched for earrings a very tedious process similar to doing a jig saw puzzle. From there I keep a large board with the matched pieces that goes on to the next process of drilling.

We will discuss this process further down the road in another how to blog.

At this point you may want to fill your favorite bowl or jar with your sea glass and just enjoy it!

For some, the frosted dehydration look of the sea glass is perfect. For others they may want to see a shinier finish. Try applying baby oil or baby lotion to your sea glass and it will leave the glass with a shiny finish.

Any questions please do not hesitate to contact me at seaglassjewels@yahoo.com

Our next how to blog will be determining the value of sea glass.

 Sorting through  sea glass  colors

Sorting through sea glass colors

 Sorting  sea glass  is a never ending task

Sorting sea glass is a never ending task

The How To's Of Sea Glass Series

Greetings,

My next few blog post will be a series of the how to's of sea glass.

Let's start at the begining

"How To Collect Sea Glass"

Any shore line will do, whether it be an Ocean, Sea, Lake or Bay.

So gather your beach towel, or your hat and gloves and let's take a stroll.

I know most of us enjoy walking and spending time on sandy white beaches.

Unfortunately, sandy beaches are not the best places to find sea glass.

An ideal location is an old garbage dump. Back in the day before restrictions, cities used the ocean to dump household refuge.

Check out the history of your local town and find out if there was ever was such a place.

Rough edged glass needs rocks or pebbles to act as a natural tumbler. This tumbling action smoothes the glass edges, resulting in the sea glass that we so acquire.

Wind and tides play a big part in successful collecting.

One of our best collecting places faces north, and when the wind is strong it will force the sea glass to the shore. These days are like hitting the jackpot.

Of course, after large storms when the sea is rough is an ideal time to collect.

Low and negative tides are ideal times to collect.

Here is a website with the tides for the entire world.

http://www.tide-forcast.com

If you live in an area that is brimming with people in the summer, it is worth your while to bundle up and hit the winter months when you have the beaches to yourself.

It is worth doing some research before you head out on the hunt.

All in all, sea glass collecting should be a fun and exciting day.

What else can you do that is free, rewarding, healthy with an almost medicinal quality?

Best of luck on your sea glass adventures!

Christeena



 One of our collecting places in Greece, notice the pebbles on the beach.

One of our collecting places in Greece, notice the pebbles on the beach.

 A small rocky shoreline in the Greek Islands, ideal for collecting.

A small rocky shoreline in the Greek Islands, ideal for collecting.

Next time:

How to clean, sort and care for sea glass