​Sea Glass, Beach Glass, and Tumbled Glass: What They Are and How to Tell the Difference

​Sea Glass, Beach Glass, and Tumbled Glass: What They Are and How to Tell the Difference

Posted by Lita Sea Glass Jewelry on 5th Oct 2016

The oldest jewelry ever found dates back more than 100,000 years and consisted of beads made from Nassarius shells. While jewelry has changed over the years, it's safe to say humanity is still pulling material and inspiration from the sea.

Items like sea glass rings and earrings have become incredibly popular in recent years, but it takes a trained eye to be able to cull quality glass from the beach. Believe it or not, there are different types of beach glass, and there's a way to tell each of them apart.

Sea Glass

Sea glass is traditionally defined as glass that has been weathered and eroded by the salt water of the ocean. Truthfully, traditional sea glass is just that -- glass that has been smoothed down by the seas. True sea glass will have a frosted surface, as well as rounded edges, and can take up to 50 years to develop.

Beach Glass

Although beach glass and sea glass are often used interchangeably, they can refer to two separate things, as well. While sea glass is always created and found near oceans, beach glass can be used to refer to glass that is found on freshwater shores, around lakes or rivers. While it typically has the same qualities as traditional sea glass, the water content can cause less frosted surfaces and different erosion patterns.

Tumbled Glass

Tumbled glass is the term used to refer to artificially weathered glass. Companies who create this kind of glass use machines called rock tumblers to artificially erode and weather different kinds of glass. This is often the reason behind rarer colors of artificial sea glass such as purple, cobalt blue, and orange, being sold for relatively low prices.

How to Tell the Difference

Unlike natural sea glass, tumbled glass will not have the same frosted surface. The frosted appearance is a result of the salinity of water, and cannot be replicated so easily with a simple rock tumbler. In addition, geometric shapes only rarely occur in natural settings, which means many of the triangle, square and perfectly round pieces sold at extremely low prices are not genuine.

Part of the beauty in sea glass rings and sea glass wedding jewelry ideas is the fact that the pieces used to create them must be carefully selected and crafted. The beauty and rarity of genuine sea glass is truly incomparable to anything else, which is why it's such a popular choice for jewelry.

Lita Sea Glass Jewelry is a proud member of the North American Sea Glass Association, which is an organization that promotes awareness of real vs man made sea glass. Lita Sea Glass Jewelry is dedicated to work ONLY with genuine ocean tumbled sea glass.