You’re stumbling across the beach. Maybe you’ve had too much to drink. You step on something hard. It has the firmness of a sea shell and when you see it, it has the appearance of a gemstone. You pick it up. It has a frosted look.
It’s sea glass.
Sea glass has many qualities. It is known for its frosted appearance, which takes place after decades of being tumbled by waves. It is folded around the edges, just like a stone. Except sea glass comes from just that: glass.
Professional jewelers fashion them into pendants. Amateur jewelers scour the beaches for them.
What is sea glass? Here are four unusual facts about everyone’s favorite sea stone.
One: Origins From the High Seas
Sea glass comes from ships. Large ships that trucked bottles across the oceans.
And bottling plants as well.
And pollution from everyday people.
Sea glass is glass that has been deposited into a sea or ocean for a number of years. This glass comes from bottles (bottling plants are a prime source), from dishes, from wine bottles, and many other glass products.
What happens is this: The glass enters the sea, rolls around in waves for between 10 and 100 years (or longer), and then washes up on shore. The tumbling gives it its frosted appearance and rounds the edges. It becomes a gem.
Because fewer people are depositing glass into the seas and oceans, less sea glass is washing up on shore.
Two: Location Matters
You’re looking for sea glass. But you don’t know where to start. You may think: California. That must be it. Or Florida. Sea glass is surely there. Or: Why not Massachusetts? It’s near the ocean.
There’s a list you might want to know about. Locations where sea glass is located. In abundance. Here is the list.
- Northeast United States
- North Carolina
- Dominican Republic
- Puerto Rico
- Nova Scotia
- Southern Spain
12 locations. All replete with sea glass.
Three: Rarity (and Color)
Here are the most common colors of sea glass: White (or opaque), green, brown, and blue. Reason being, is that these are the most common colors of bottles deposited into the sea.
The rarest? Orange. According to one statistic, orange is the least common type of sea glass, found once in about 10,000 pieces. Whereas, the subtle hues of blue, green, and aqua are often found in every 50 to 100 pieces of sea glass.
Why is orange the rarest? According to one website, orange bottles were only made possible hundreds of years ago when gold was used in the burning process. That meant only rich people had the money to form them. Hence, less orange sea glass.
All colors are useful for types of sea glass rings. Types of sea glass rings, along with types of sea glass anklets, types of sea glass earrings, and types of sea glass necklaces, are typically made by a professional jeweler.
The colors of blue, green, and aqua and popular for wedding jewelry.
Four: Beach Glass
You may feel like you have stumbled upon a great find. It may be the perfect color. The weight. The texture. You may say to your loved one, “I have found sea glass.”
But you’d be wrong, if this condition was met:
The glass came from a freshwater body.
Sea glass has one major feature: It has come from a saltwater body. Oceans, seas, saltwater lakes…these all meet the requirement for sea glass.
Sea glass has different qualities than beach glass. Sea glass has a more frosted appearance, likely due to the pH levels in sea (salt) water rather than freshwater lakes and water bodies.
To whit: pH levels range from 1 to 14. pH levels below 7 are acidic, and pH levels above 7 are basic or alkaline. Sea water tends to have pH levels of at least 8, and freshwater bodies like lakes, streams and ponds tend to have pH levels ranging from 6 to 8.
pH levels help determine the frosted appearance of glass. Beach glass tends to be less frosted, likely due to the pH levels of its corresponding freshwater body.
Those are four facts about sea glass that you may find uncommon. Sea glass is made to form jewelry, including types of sea glass rings. Types of sea glass rings may include a unique design and welding to get the sea glass into position.
They are sought after for weddings.
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