Before it's sea glass, it's just regular ol' glass.
Starting as bottles and other glass containers, these receptacles are thrown into the ocean (boo, litter). Over time, they get smashed on rocks and tossed around by mighty waves, all the while getting smoothed by the sand particles inherent in saltwater.
A well-rounded, frosted piece of sea glass can take 20-30 years to be created in a severe tumbling environment, while glass in a more protected environment may never be adequately rounded. The ideal length of time for the gems to turn from glass glass to sea glass? 50-100 years.
So, that's what our sea glass is—now here's what it's not:
Beach glass: glass shards that appear on lakeshores—not the ocean.
Tumbled glass:artificially weathered new glass—made to look like sea glass.
What makes sea glass valuable?
Sea glass is valuable for two particular reasons:
2. Commercial Value
The sentimental aspect is easier to break down than the commercial one—after all, most coastal dwellers have at least one piece of sea glass readily available as a relic of the sea.
However, the commercial value is another story. Scarcity is a significant component of its value on the open market.
Sea glass used to be abundant.
Almost everything used to be packaged in glass bottles and jars. Before we entirely understood the impact and importance of our oceans, people used to bring their garbage and just throw it into the sea. Although a terrible practice (environmentally and otherwise), this is the journey that most sea glass starts on.
Fast forward to today, a shift to plastic containers has led to sea glass becoming increasingly scarce.
And as many people know:
Demand + Scarcity = Value
And voilà, you have the commercial value of sea glass.
Other factors that increase sea glass value include:
Most sea glass comes from bottles. However, other item types include "Pressed Glass, Depression Glass, Utility Glass, Fiestaware," resulting in intriguing shapes and patterns. Other rare items that sea glass forms from includes vanity ware and vases (ornate display pieces) and art glass (blown glass, etc.).
Specific colors are more common than others. Green, brown, and white are the most readily found, while red, orange, turquoise, and yellow are way more rare. The brighter and more vibrant the color, the more difficult and expensive the glass was to make. Therefore, many of these beautiful shades are no longer available today—meaning the sea glass won't be either!
Another cool thing to note about color is that it can help to date the piece of sea glass and give an idea of what type of item it came from!
Time + Shape
The most valuable
are fully intact items, irregularly shaped, anachronisms, etc. Think about it—most of the glass starts in large pieces and then gets shattered into smaller and smaller shards. Anything other than a triangular shape is often considered a rarer piece of sea glass.
Labor of love: handcrafted sea glass jewelry
Every piece of sea glass from our collection is hand-foraged, designed, and crafted in Massachusetts by Lita Sea Glass for Fishers Finery.
Each piece is meticulously sorted by color and organized for future designs. Unbeknownst to many, sorting earring pairs is actually a very patient art form. It is a tedious process involving grouping thousands of pieces of sea glass by similar colors, sizes, and shapes into pairs. However, Lita stresses that this sorting process can't be rushed.
"Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work."
All of our jewelry is made using high-quality sterling silver (look for the .925!), and every fresh-water pearl and precious/semi-precious stone is completely genuine.
Gift them the ocean
Lita Sea Glass Jewelry for Fishers Finery makes an amazing and unique gift. Each handcrafted piece has its own history, and even arrives wrapped in a custom gift box with a printed information card inserted. This truly is a thoughtful and timeless gift!