Sea glass is also called beach glass since that's where it usually washes up. It's also called mermaid tears. Legend has it that mermaids lure sailors into the sea for companionship or more sinister purposes depending on the story. The myth behind mermaid tears is a romantic, sad story of course. One mermaid loved a ship's captain. When that captain fell into the sea during a storm, the mermaid calmed the sea and storm to save him. This was forbidden by Neptune.. As punishment, she was banished to the bottom of the ocean, never again to swim in the sun or see her beloved captain. Her tears are said to wash ashore as beautiful pieces of colorful sea glass gems.
It's a romantic tale for sure, especially if you are drawn to the ocean. Sea glass hunters like me seek out these bits of glass for various reasons. I love finding a piece, feeling their weight, examining their texture and finish, imagining their histories and stories. But the truth is that most sea glass comes from trash.
That's right...most of what you will find comes from broken beer, wine or soda bottles. Sometimes though, you may find sea glass that comes from a shipwreck. This means the glass comes from an older medicine bottle or perfume bottle. This is where you get some rare colors such as blue and pink sea glass. I was lucky enough to find a delicate pink mermaid's tear with a lovely vine pattern.
Hunting for sea glass isn't hard. Simply grab your sunscreen, and hit the beach. What you are looking for is a small piece of glass that has been tumbled in the ocean and sand for while. This process gives the glass a matte finish and rounds off the sharp edges. You can usually tell the difference between genuine sea glass and man made sea glass because genuine sea glass is not perfectly finished. There should be chips, nicks, and texture to the glass. This is why I love to work with sea glass in jewelery. Every piece is unique.
Now, spotting sea glass on sand can be tricky because there may be a lot of things around or, if it's white or brown glass, the sea glass may blend into the beach itself. It's very easy to walk right by these hidden gems. Let's test your sea glass spotting abilities. Below are two photos of sea glass on the beach. Can you spot both pieces?
As a jewelry designer, part of the fun with sea glass is finding the right piece and finding the right setting. Smaller pieces work better as earrings. Other larger pieces make better pendants and necklaces or even bracelets. It's all about being creative and letting the sea glass take center stage. I don't like to cover up the sea glass too much. I really want the sea glass to have presence and be a focal point. But I admit, I'm loving pendants the most. Here are some of my current offerings - all available at ModernMermaidDesign.Etsy.com
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