Handmade sea glass art jewelry

Colors and Rarity


·      Sea Glass is really just discarded bottles and tableware, or glass from shipwrecks and household items lost in natural disasters. 
Mostly it's glass that people carelessly threw into the ocean some 50 to 100 years ago, which has tumbled in the surf for years and has washed up on the sand looking like a little gemstone.

·      Quantities of some colors are severely limited. Colors such as orange, red, yellow, cobalt blue, purple, turquoise, "black", and Vaseline are very rare and very desired. Orange and yellow are really the most rare, but Red and Cobalt are probably the most desired, due to their beauty when set in jewelry.

·      Sea glass is often hydrated and may have a "frosty" appearing surface. Hydration is a slow process where the lime and soda in glass is leached out by the constant contact with water, leaving pitting on the surface of the glass. The soda and lime can combine with other elements to form tiny crystals in the surface of the glass. Many good pieces of sea glass will sparkle in the light. It is impossible to duplicate this process without actually allowing nature to take its course over many years. 
Sometimes it can take 50 to 100 years.

·      Small "C" shaped patterns may emerge on the surface of the sea glass and small hairline cracks may develop on some pieces. This is natural and desired.

·      Natural tumbling is often uneven on rocky shores, where a piece of sea glass got stuck with a portion of it still exposed. This process frequently produces shards that are a triangular shape, and yet in some areas such as sandy beaches, the tumbling may be very even making them well rounded and nearly uniform in shape.

  • Sea glass may frequently be composed of identifiable bottle necks, bottle bottoms, lettering and other unusual shapes and distinguishing features such as mug handles and such.

  • Genuine Sea Glass is NEVER cut or tumbled.

  • All of the seaglass in my jewelry is genuine sea glass from the beaches of California and Northern England; picked up off the beach and set into jewelry. Never tumbled or changed in any way....Aileen Cabral


The Colors of Seaglass – Rarity Chart

Extremely Rare: Orange, Yellow, Red, Turquoise, Black, Teal, Gray

Rare: Pink, Aqua, Cornflower Blue, Cobalt Blue, Opaque White, Citron, Purple/Amethyst

Uncommon: Soft Green, Soft Blue, Forest Green, Lime Green, Golden Amber, Amber, Jade

Common: Kelly Green, Brown, White


Vaseline Glass: Did you know that Vaseline glass is made with Uranium and will glow under a black light??? Also known as UV Glass. Just don't eat or drink off of antique vaseline glass dishes!!

Flashed Glass (or Flash Glass): This is glass that has multiple layers of colors where you can clearly see the different layers. Usually used in decorative glass, such as vases, bowls, etc. Alot of my sea glass that comes from Northern England is Flashed Glass, due to the fact that, at one time, there was a decorative glass factory near the beach and they discarded their broken glass on the beach. Now their trash is our treasure!

Cobalt Blue Sea Glass: Cobalt Blue glass is almost always from one of 3 types of bottles: Emersons Bromo Seltzer, Milk of Magnesia and, my favorite, Poison Bottles. Something I learned about Poison bottles is that, back in the 1800's people put their medicine in the same place as their poison. So, in the middle of the night, they'd get up to have a swig of "cough syrup" and thats it for them - no lights back then and not many could read anyway. Well, thats when they made Poison bottles in different shapes, such as triangular and with pointed dots all over them - so  you could feel the difference.

Red Sea Glass: Do you know why its so hard to find red sea glass?? and why its so desirable? Well, when they first started making red, they used real gold to make the color - Really! So, they didn't make a whole lot of red glass way back when.

Sun Glass: When you find a piece of lavender sea glass, or see an antique glass that is lavender in color, it is most likely "sun glass". Sun glass started off as clear glass, then it was left in the sun and turned lavender or, in some rare cases, purple. The reason for this is that the glass is made with Maganese, a mineral added into the glass. Well, turned out that maganese glass, in the sun, turns purple. 

I'll be back another time with more significant and not so significant sea glass trivia for you....Aileen


Many Thanks to the North American Sea Glass Association, of which I am a Member, for all their wonderful information on sea glass.