Let's start at the begining
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.
How to clean, sort and care for sea glass
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.
Please check them out they are doing wonderful things.
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"
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.
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!
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!
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.
This is my old beach in Sea Bright. I took these pictures last August.
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.
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.
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.
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".
"Join the club I know the feeling".
See you next week,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.