From Ancient Mesopotamia to the 21St Century The Origins of Sea Glass

Sea glass jewelry

While people have been collecting sea glass from the world’s beaches for thousands of years, it has recently become even more popular. The North American Sea Glass Association was formally established in 2007, and this organization currently has about 90 members.

The Origins of Glass

It is believed that people first began making glass in Mesopotamia prior to 2000 B.C. Most of the sea glass that has been found, however, comes from the 19th and 20th centuries. It usually takes 5 to 50 years for the sharp edges and corners of glass to become smooth. Over time, these pieces of glass are drenched in salt water and tossed by waves against the sand.

Sea Glass Color Varieties

Sea glass can be found in a variety of colors, and some are more rare than others. Since pieces of sea glass come from bottles, jars, and similar sources, this is what determines their color. Bottles that were used for baking soda, fruit, and ink, were often produced in different shades of soft green. Every 50 to 100 pieces of sea glass found are usually in some shade of soft green.

Cobalt and cornflower blue sea glass, however, usually come from these sources:

  • Artwork
  • Bromo-Seltzer containers
  • Early Milk of Magnesia bottles
  • Poison bottles
  • Vicks VapoRub containers

Uncommon Sea Glass Color Varieties

Orange sea glass is the least commonly found. For every 10,000 pieces found, just 1 of these will be orange.

Purple, Citron, and opaque white milk glass are also uncommon. Aqua sea glass, which comes from 19th century glass bottles and Ball Mason jars can be equally challenging to locate. For every 200 to 1,000 pieces of sea glass, these colors are only found once.

Where to Find Sea Glass

Since collecting sea glass is so popular, it has become more challenging to find it at the beach. The California coastline by Fort Bragg, however, is believed to still have sea glass yet to be discovered.

Sea Glass Necklaces and Other Types of Jewelry

Since sea glass is so beautiful, it is often made into unique jewelry items. Sea glass necklaces, sea glass bracelets, sea glass anklets, and sea glass earrings are just a few pieces of jewelry that can be made. Pendants and rings are also popular jewelry items.

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