Sea Glass Blog

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

The Old and The New Year

Greetings and Happy New Year!

I guess for most of us the New Year is a time to reflect on the past year and start a new with resolutions, aspirations and goals.

As I reflect on 2012, the first thing that comes to my mind is how fast it flew by. And how things happen for a reason. I spent almost the entire summer on the New Jersey shore this year, the first time in over 10 years. Of course, not knowing what was to come by the end of October and that I would never see my beloved home state in the same way again.

But, I have also witnessed a lot of positive that has come out of it as well. So many people helping other people. It inspired us to design our Restore The Shore Pendant available on our website with part of the proceeds going to a wonderful organization.

www.shoresunited.com

Please check them out they are doing wonderful things.



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A close friend of mine started a Facebook page

Jersey Shore Gives Back

please check her page out, she is doing amazing things to help people through this tragedy.

So with the negative comes a swarm of positive and this is life.

Happy and Healthy New Year Everyone! Christeena

Our next few blogs will be a series of

"Sea Glass How To"

Christmas Memories

Born in the late fifties in New Jersey, my Christmas memories start in the 60's.


Traditions held strong in our family, I am the sixth of seven children. Our family home was on a dead end street on what had been an apple farm, in what was considered  a country bumpkin town at the time.

Life was magical, especially Christmas.

My oldest  brother was extremely talented and was studying Interior Design at the time. (He went on to have a fabulous career) We would wait with baited breath for our Mother's birthday to arrive on the 14th of December so the decorating could begin. And so it did, from a fake cardboard fireplace to Santa Clauses in every shape and size, to the manger with a crib that sat empty until Christmas Day.

The tree itself was never decorated until Christmas Eve. Coming from an Italian heritage my Mother would make the traditional seven fishes dinner.

The four younger children including myself  were sent to bed early with a promise that Santa would arrive in the morning. The other three would attend midnight mass returning home at 1:00am. We would then be awoken with cheers that Santa had arrived, and down we would come in the middle of the night to find bicycles, dolls, and every latest toy on the market.

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Imagine just how exciting this was for us. I feel fortunate and grateful that I have these memories.

Photo: Me and my siblings, Christmas 1961

These days my husband and I live in the Florida Keys at Christmas time. We have had to make our own traditions.

Far from the cold days of December, we attend boat parades, decorate palm trees and use shells and starfish for our tree ornaments.

Different yes, but no matter what age or where you are Christmas is still a magical time.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Couldn't resist adding this sea glass wreath.

Couldn't resist adding this sea glass wreath.

Sea Glass; The Top 10 Reasons We Are Obsessed?

1.  Sea Glass is becoming rarer and rarer as plastic takes over the world,

and as humans we always want what we cannot have.

2. As a recycled product, sea glass is considered green and this is something that we all need to become more obsessed with.

3. Coastline people have always been beachcombers so they have been obsessed with collecting before green was in.

4. Sea glass has become quite the commodity, and money drives people to obsession.

5. For artisans, the obsession with sea glass lies in the love of working with a recycled medium in unusual colors and shapes.

6. Let's face it, sea glass collecting is not only good exercise but it is relaxing and rewarding.

7. The mystery and the history.

8. Everyone of us has a hoarder of some sort inside of us.

9. The idea of finding the ultimate piece, and then after we find it, just finding the next ultimate piece, and the next.....

10. It just makes us happy!

Photo: CH Minopetros 10/12

Photo: CH Minopetros 10/12


Reflection

I write this with a heavy and guilty heart knowing my family, friends, home state and our East Coast neighbors are suffering from the affects of Sandy.

We flew in from Greece that Wednesday to New Jersey and left quickly to return to our home in the Florida Keys to beat the hurricane. Which is ironic as the islands that we live on here in the Keys are usually the most vulnerable to hurricanes. Should we have stayed??

This has turned out to be the kind of tragedy that is just inconceivable. I have asked myself this week over and over has this really happened? The devastation is hard to comprehend.

I was born in New Jersey, and lived in the town on Sea Bright for 15 years. The thing that I loved about going back there was that Sea Bright was one of the few towns that had not changed since I was a child, as small fishing village with building restrictions.

That has all changed now. The town is unrecognizable.

I have memories from most towns and villages up and down the Jersey Shore. Our summers were spent on Long Beach Island, my Godmother lived in Seaside Heights and on and on.

Seeing the devastation on television here is just hard to comprehend.

They say things happen for a reason and this was the first summer in 13 years that I spent on the New Jersey Shore, I feel fortunate I got to see it for the last time.

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This is my old beach in Sea Bright. I took these pictures last August.

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I have spent a lot of time defending my state in the last 13 years, people just don't understand how really beautiful it is. And they will never understand just how strong people from New Jersey are. I have no doubt that they will rebuild their homes and lives.

But the sad thing is that if you have never experienced the Jersey Shore, you can just never understand how quaint and gorgeous it was.

With love and hope for all the people of the East Coast that have lost so much.

Christeena

The Elusive Red Sea Glass

Without sounding pretentious, this is the first year in thirteen that I have not spend the entire summer in Greece. We own a home here so we try and spend as much time as possible.

I will have in total, six coveted weeks in this beautiful country. Arriving in the fall is the  most lovely time of year here as far as I am concerned. The days are warm, nights are cool, the sky is a deep blue, the sea is warm and best of all the islands are empty.

A perfect time to collect sea glass.

So because I am biting at the bit to start collecting, we head out right away to one of our favorite islands, Paros. This is one of the only islands in Greece that you can drive around in a full circle without having a massive mountain in your way. With over twenty five beaches and plenty of coves this makes for a perfect collecting island.

One of the many beaches of Paros Island , Greece

One of the many beaches of Paros Island , Greece

Another gorgeous beach on the island of Paros, Greece

Another gorgeous beach on the island of Paros, Greece

After about an hour of collecting it must have been my lucky day. much to my delight I pulled this gorgeous piece of rare and perfect red sea glass out from under a stone lying on the beach.

A perfect piece of ruby red sea glass that I found last week in Paros Island, Greece

A perfect piece of ruby red sea glass that I found last week in Paros Island, Greece

Some days you just get lucky. If I had to guess, I would say that for every 10,000 pieces of sea glass we find one is red. That is just how rare red sea glass is.

We had my sister-in-law with us this week and I had to laugh cause it was her first time here collecting with us, and although she loves the beach she is not an avid sea glass collector. But she got the bug, and we had to drag her off the beaches a few times as she told me

"But I am just looking for that perfect piece".

My response

"Join the club I know the feeling".

See you next week,

Christeena

Genuine vs. Artificial Sea Glass

I have been wanting to write about genuine vs. artificial sea glass for a long time.

Last week someone forwarded an article to me from the web about using a cement mixer to make your own sea glass. This was not only appalling to me but I knew then more that ever it was time to write and publish this article.

With more and more people tumbling their own glass using more high tech methods, I feel it is important to educate the public about the difference between genuine and artificial sea glass.

 

As beautiful as this piece is this is ARTIFICIAL glass   Notice there are no markings and you can see right through it

As beautiful as this piece is this is ARTIFICIAL glass

Notice there are no markings and you can see right through it

An old friend of my husbands gave him this large glass egg a few years ago, he said it was sea glass from Mexico. We knew right away it was not genuine sea glass.

GENUINE sea glass that we found in the Greek Islands, September 2011   Notice the crystallization, pitting and letter C's

GENUINE sea glass that we found in the Greek Islands, September 2011

Notice the crystallization, pitting and letter C's

This is genuine sea glass.

Glass is made with soda and lime. A hydration starts when the glass is tumbled in water for long periods of time. This will form a crystallization on the glass making it appear frosty. You will also notice like on the piece in the photo above the letter C in patterns.

A cement mixer or a tumbler cannot achieve this look, only mother nature herself can.

Holding the glass up to the light is a tell tale sign. If it is clear it is not genuine sea glass. If it is artificial sea glass you will be able to see right through it like the turquoise egg in the first photo.

As people get more and more devious about making their own tumbled glass and calling it sea glass you will have to be more and more careful who you are purchasing your sea glass from.

Price is one way to tell, if someone is selling it by the pound or kilo at a small price then you can assume it is fake. Beware of perfect square pieces especially if they are matching.

A rare piece of red sea glass can sell  upwards from $100-$300.

Sometimes, people question the authenticity of my sea glass because the pieces look so close in size and shape. What they do not know is that many many hours are spent matching the pieces and that most of the time it is an illusion because of the matching colors and sizes.


Make sure the person or company you are buying from are reliable sellers, do not be afraid to ask questions about the origin of the sea glass or when it was found. A true sea glass collector knows the answer to these questions.

Genuine sea glass has a certain feel to it. It is not actually smooth to the touch, and you can feel the frost.

I hope this has given you a little more insight on this subject. Please feel free to contact me if I can answer any more questions that you may have.


North American Sea Glass Festival

This past week The North American Sea Glass Association had their annual festival. The NASGA is an association dedicated to educating and providing a forum for sea glass enthusiasts from around the world. I have had a seat on The NASGA board for the last three years, and for me it just adds to the excitement of the weekend.

This year we chose Virginia Beach for our location. The VA convention center was a grand choice, a large venue with a friendly professional staff helping to make the festival happen, along with the vast amount of volunteers.

There is a certain thrill to be in the room with sixty other sea glass artisans. The thing that always amazes me is the eclectic creativity used with these gems that we find along shorelines around the world. The ideas are endless.

Thousands of people filled the convention center to come and admire and purchase our work. Most of them, what I affectionately call "sea glass freaks" and plenty of new people that are filled with curiosity and wonder about the history and mystery of sea glass.

As I recover from this years festival my sites are already set on next year.

For now, I have taken a six week journey to my favorite collecting country, Greece.

I have high hopes of replenishing my collection as you can never, ever have to much sea glass in your possession.



What I am hoping to find in the next six weeks here in Greece

What I am hoping to find in the next six weeks here in Greece

Greek Life

When I turned forty, fourteen years ago it hit me hard.

I had a good life, and a great career as a floral shoppe entrepreneur. But something was missing, I went to Greece by myself on vacation and there it was, the turquoise waters, and the clear blue skies, the people, and the relaxed way of life, it was just what I was dreaming of.

So, I sold my business packed up and moved to the island of Paros, Greece. Now most people think it was a brave or adventurous thing to do, I have never really looked at it that way. I was driven, and six months later I was lucky enough to meet my husband, a Greek sailing Captain.

I was also fortunate enough to have a lot of time on my hands, something I never had in my former life. This led to endless sunny days of beach combing. I have always been a beach comber, and when I started finding sea glass  on the island it was like hitting the lottery.

My husband had no idea what sea glass was. But he did have the sailors experience to know wind, and just about every little cove throughout the islands. He sure does know what sea glass is today, and has become an expert collector. He has sailed us to some of the most outstanding coves for collecting sea glass imaginable. Most of our prized pieces have come from the Greek Islands.

Today we split our time between Greece and The Florida Keys and the journey continues.



 

  

Turquoise waters in the Ionian Sea, Greece

Turquoise waters in the Ionian Sea, Greece

Cobalt sea glass with an apropos saying on the sea glass tile.

Cobalt sea glass with an apropos saying on the sea glass tile.

Summer's End

In one way or another I think we all feel a sense of sadness when Summer comes to an end. The cool breeze of Autumn comes in and we start to head indoors leaving the beaches empty.

This is a great time to collect sea glass. Tourist have gone home, kids are back in school and you might just have the beach to yourself.

Collecting sea glass as a professional, I field an enormous amount of questions about the process of collecting sea glass.

When they see my collection one of the most asked questions is:

"I walk the beaches all the time and never find sea glass, how do you find so many pieces?"

Sand filled gorgeous beaches are the most difficult beaches to find sea glass. You may find a piece here and there but never an exorbitant amount. Glass needs stones and pebbles to to tumble it.

Look in coves and corners by jetties if it is a sand filled beach. But the best beaches for collecting are not always the most beautiful.

Sea glass or not any day at the beach is a good day for me!

An empty beach in September a great time to collect sea glass
  • An empty beach in September a great time to collect sea glass
Naxos Island, Greece. A perfect beach to collect sea glass with an enormous amount of mixed size pebbles and stones.
  • Naxos Island, Greece. A perfect beach to collect sea glass with an enormous amount of mixed size pebbles and stones.

Collections

I have always been a collector for as long as I can remember.

The first object I can remember collecting were boxes. Wooden, metal, paper, glass. Carved, etched decorated or plain. My childhood room was filled with boxes, I can even remember keeping my older sisters Noxzema boxes. I was just fascinated with the sizes textures the designs.

In my 20's my obsession became shopping bags. Yes, I mean the bags they give you when you leave a store. It was an incredible collection as we lived outside NYC and it was back in the day when stores had themes for their bags. I had them from all over the world, people knew about my collection and would save them for me. I still have that collection and my dream is to wallpaper a room with them one day.

On to my 30's I became enthralled with nature. I would seek out empty birds nests, I had a huge empty hornets nest that was amazing.

I began to do some serious traveling at this point in my life and started to collect rocks and stones from as far away as New Zealand.

What I have not mentioned is that through all these years I always collected sea glass. My other collections may have come and gone, but sea glass collecting has been a life long obsession. I have the great fortune to do a lot of traveling so my collection is an eclectic mix from around the country and parts of the world.

Who knew that my childhood collecting obsession would bring me full circle to this day where I have made it my full time career.

Please view my designs at http://seaglassjewels.com

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Sea Glass Beginings

As I start on this new website journey, I woke up this morning feeling the need to go back to my roots.

Yes I am a "Jersey" girl although I rarely use that term, as it conjures up images of "Snookie" and the gang, and their lives are very far from the way I grew up spending blissful days at the beach, never the "shore" in New Jersey.

It is a stroke of serendipity that I am in New Jersey today, and this morning I took a long walk on my old childhood beach where sea glass was found by the buckets back in the 1960's. Of course the reasons there was so much sea glass back then are bleak, dumping in those days was rampant and uncontrolled, and besides all the sea glass we found, there were also mounds of garbage that came with it. Today I found a pristine beach with very few people, and not one piece of the precious sea glass I so desire.

What I did find was a clear blue sky, clean green water, and not a trace of garbage except an occasional broken shell and pieces of driftwood. All and all, I found a sense of pride and happiness that I am indeed a "Jersey" Girl.

"Please follow me as I take you on my sea glass journey"


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Sea Bright, New Jersey   August 30, 2012