Posted by Marjorie Cunningham, broken china jewelry designer at Marjorie’s Cracked Plate Jewelry.
Sea glass—also known as beach glass, mermaid tears, lucky tears, sea gems, drift glass—is the only man-made litter that makes its way into the ocean and turns into a valued item. The glass is naturally tumbled by the movement of water and sand and is transformed from broken bottles and jars into beautiful smooth frosted glass. Most of the sea glass found on today’s beaches went into the ocean in the late 1800’s to 1960’s. Sea glass is becoming harder to find due to the fact that we are more conscious of what is thrown into the ocean these days and also because manufacturers are replacing glass bottles and jars with plastic.
Many collectors search our shores to see what the tide has brought in. Mostly kelly green, brown and clear sea glass is found. Less common are jade and forest and lime green. It’s rare to find purple or cornflower blue sea glass. To find pink, black, yellow, red or orange is to find quite a treasure.
Artists and creative folks use sea glass and broken china to create all kinds of mosaics. Birdhouses, chairs, mirrors, vases and even floors are transformed with their beauty. Here’s a look at the numerous ways sea glass is used to create glorious jewelry straight from the sea.
Some jewelry artists leave the natural beauty of sea glass to stand out by itself without embellishment. This rare blue piece from the North Sea is simple yet so lovely.
Other artists drill through the center of the sea glass and use the glass like beads, creating a beautiful look like in the following piece.
This is a unique piece where the artist used the sea glass in a mosaic-type setting.
Sea glass can also be set into bezels, just like gemstones, like this rare red sea glass ring.
Sea glass is also wire wrapped by artists
and used in wire crochet creations.
These gifts from the sea can be used in jewelry in the same way as any cabochon or gemstone. The look of sea glass is timeless and is always in style.
But beware—all sea glass on today’s market is not naturally formed. Tumbled glass looks very similar but is not as valued by either collectors or jewelry customers.
Click on the photos to find out more about each of these sea glass jewelry designs.