Sea Glass Jewelry - by DanielleRenee 

IDENTIFYING YOUR SEA GLASS SHARD

 Whether a shopper, a hobbyist or a business associate one can be sure that most sea glass enthusiasts are interested in more than just the beauty of a handsome piece of authentic sea glass. Many of my customers have become very savvy and knowledgeable about sea glass due to a few good books available on the market and interested enough to ask the right questions. They are seeking answers as to where their special piece of sea glass came from. What was it used for and how old could it be?

The following information comes from years of being a passionate sea glass collector in New England as well as trading and dealing with collectors from around the globe over the last several years. I have researched and still have much to learn, but I wish to share what I do know with those who visit here in the hopes that this will be an aid in selecting the perfect piece of sea glass jewelry and helping others to discover the joy in sea glass collecting.

Without obvious markings, the sometimes difficult identification process of a sea glass shard begins with color. Some colors are more common than others. Pieces of white, brown and bright green  can still found along most rocky beaches here in coastal New England in Massachusetts, NH and Maine. Although it is now becoming more and more difficult to find even sea glass even in common colors.  Clear or what appears to be frosty white sea glass once found in abudnance is apparently from milk bottles, beverage glasses, water pitchers, ash trays and many other useful glass objects that were used in the home during the 20th Century. Brown and green sea glass chips and chunks were also easily found while strolling the rocky shorelines, due mostly because of the popularity of beer and other beverages that came in glass bottles and were discarded during a day at the beach, deep sea fishing or boating.

Seafoam sea glass, presents itself as a beautiful pastel shade. In the past this color has been found in abundance because the majority of it was derived from Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola bottles. The first Coca-Cola bottle dates back to 1916. By 1920 there were about 1000 bottlers making the shapely bottle tinted in light green. Therefore the proliferation of these identifiable glass beverage containers have been in an abundance for decades before the popular soft drink boosted sales in cans. Once again littering in our oceans was evidently an acceptable practice at one time.

Pottery and China sea glass (seaglass) shards are rare and fascinating. Tooth paste, ointments and other grooming items at one time came in pots with print or pretty floral designs on the glass pottery. Milk and cream were delivered from the dairy farms in pottery with print and images in black, blues, greens and other colors as well. Returnable pottery containers were once used for Ginger Beer and Stouts. Stoneware, China and household items have also contributed to many pottery sea glass shards that have turned up on remote rocky shores. Many of these items were used in the early 19th Century.

 Evidently shore lines rich in sea glass finds are located close to what was once dumping grounds. From the dump, washed out to sea at high tide the mindset was never to be seen again. They were wrong . Years, decades, scores and even a century later stunning sea glass gems have been found along our shores.

End of the day glass found off the shores of England are multicolored sea glass shards. Seaside glass factories would mix the left over glass at the end of the work day and then deposited these remains in ocean. Now beautiful sea glass shards.

Cobalt sea glass (seaglass) shards derived from bottles and jars such as Noxzema, Saratoga, Phillips Milk of Magnesia, depression glass as well as antique medicine bottles came in the much desired cobalt blue. The rare dark vibrant color is often desired for sea glass jewelry.

 Aqua sea glass is stunning, somewhat rare and desired because the color is reminiscent of a beautiful Tropical sea. Aqua glass was once used for ink bottles, canning jars, and kitchen canisters.  

Turquoise sea glass is even more rare than aqua and could be from similar sources as well as glass insulators.

Stunning sea glass shards in deep aqua and teal are identified mostly as insulators. Insulators were used to cap telegraph wires at the tops of poles. These pieces of sea glass may also be identified by thread markings.

Red sea glass (seaglass) known as the Ruby from the sea can be traced back to ships lanterns that hung over the sides of these floating vessels as well as buoys floating in harbors guiding ships safely back to Port in bad weather and dark of night.

Gray sea glass (seaglass) shards can be attributed to antique stemware and tinted glass used for automobiles.  Certainly very rare and fantastic for making jewelry. The shades of gray range from almost a clear with a tint of gray to gray/blue and deep mysterious gray. It is unusual to find large, thick gray seaglass. 

Depression glass made in the United States in the first half of the 20th Century and made cheaply has given way to some of the rarest and most exquisite sea glass finds. Included in this category, is White Milk Glass an opaque white glass, Delphite a pale blue opaque glass, Jadeite an opaque pale green glass used in items such as Fire-King kitchenware. Pink, Peach, Yellow and green (UV) glass were also colors of depression glass.

Black sea glass is amazing and very difficult to find. Dark Citron bottles used for whiskey in the 1800’s have darkened in the depths of the oceans over a very long period of time to a dark black. Some Ink wells from the 19th Century, Whiskey bottles from the 17th and 18th Century’s were also made of rare black glass.

Golden honey sea glass has been found to come from both depression glass and antique poison bottles.

Shape, thickness and texture (frosted) also may lend evidence to the origin and possibly the age of a sea glass shard. The more the piece is smoothed, shaped and frosted, the longer it has been tumbling around in the ocean.

Apothecary stoppers are rare sea glass shards that have become collectibles. They are sleek in shape and pretty colors such as seafoam and aqua. They are beautiful to look at as well as a part of history. Once used for pharmaceuticals now make a beautiful sea glass pendant.

Sea glass marbles can be most interesting, fun and beautiful. England in the 19th Century used “cod bottles”. Marbles were used as floating stoppers inside the neck of these bottles. Marbles were once used as ballast in cargo ships. From ancient China to modern day USA, marbles have been used as a toy in games. The many colors, sizes and markings make these sea glass shards a fabulous find for any sea glass collector. The rarity and beauty of these items increase the value of these pieces. They make for a very fun piece of jewelry.

Many of the items found in my gallery are made with sea glass from the above sources.  If you have any questions about a particular piece of sea glass jewelry from my gallery please send off an email and I will do my best to research it for you.

Danielle Renee’