A Short Guide to Sea Glass: Colors, History, and How It’s Made

Posted by Lita Sea Glass Jewelry on 23rd Nov 2016

A product of both nature and man, sea glass is one of those rare phenomena that only occurs when two worlds work together. Although most glass is thrown into water as a result of littering, years and years of erosion cause the creation of beautiful pieces of frosted glass.

These pieces often become sea glass earrings, or different sea glass charms. However, no two pieces of sea glass are exactly alike. Not only that, but sea glass comes in a variety of colors and shapes. Here's a short guide to the world of sea glass to help get you started.

History of Sea Glass

Sea glass jewelry has been popular for about 25 years, but it's been found on beaches around the world since the mid-1960s. Before that point, almost everything was kept in glass bottles or jars. People threw their waste into the sea, not thinking anything of it, but sea glass emerged soon after. It's like nature's recycling process for glass.

How it's Made

True "sea glass" formed in the ocean takes anywhere from 50 to 100 years to create. Constant tumbling and soaking in the salt water create a smooth, frosted surface over the glass, as well as rounded edges. Sea glass comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors, but some colors are rarer than others.

Common Sea Glass Colors

White, brown, and green are all fairly common sea glass colors that can be found on virtually any beach you walk on. Most pieces of white glass can date back to the late 1800s and early 1900s when clear soda bottles were in mass production. Brown and green glass often comes from beer bottles like Budweiser or Heineken.

Rare Colors for Sea Glass

Some colors are rarer than others, but the rarest include purple, red, and opaque, or milk glass. Purple sea glass usually comes from old household items like dishes or cups, while red comes from lamps, stained glass, and car lights. Opaque sea glass, however, comes mostly from dinnerware and coffee mugs, which makes it white in color. There are also turquoise and blue varieties, which are even rarer.

Sea glass can be turned into any variety of things, but most recently it's become popular with jewelry lovers. Sea glass earrings, bracelets, and pendants are all popular pieces that utilize these man- and nature-made pieces of beauty.