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Thursday, July 24, 2014

For Sale: High Quality Sea Glass for Jewelry, Art and Crafts

Summer is here, and I have enjoyed quite a few nice trips to the beach since the days have gotten longer and the tides more "favorable" for being able to see what I am doing. Of course, that also means that there are many other people "out there" beachcoming... so there is less and less to be found.

I have recently added many new lots to the eBay shop... and plan to add beautiful new items to the Etsy shop over the coming weekend.

One of my goals in creating and uploading "lots" of sea glass for jewelry making is to have "no waste." Hence, I am very particular about accurate grading and putting lots together by size and color, so you always know exactly when you are going to get, when you make a purchase.

Of course, the "popular colors" do tend to go rather quickly, but last I checked there were still almost 200 items listed on eBay and Etsy combined... so I encourage you to have a look while the selection remains good!

Of course, I am hoping to add more items later in the summer, after I finish sorting out what the tides have washed up over the next several weeks.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Obsessive Sea Glass Sorting

It is wintertime, and even though our climate here in the Pacific Northwest is generally pretty mild, going beach combing this time of the year is generally not such a pleasant experience. Driving rain, strong winds and 40-degrees is not such a good time, especially when the journey to the good "beach combing bits" on our beach involves climbing across fallen trees, mudslides and basketball sized rocks covered with slimy slippery sea weed that might offer up a twisted ankle if you're not paying attention. Besides, the days are short, and the good low tides tend to be in the middle of the night when you can't see anything, anyway.

Sea glass marble sections
I have been using part of this winter to "get organized." Which basically means I have been sorting "old pickings" from years gone by. I am slowly getting to a point, now, where I no longer have "random stashes" of unsorted sea glass from days gone by.

Maybe I have gotten a bit obsessive about getting everything sorted... but I have felt the need to get organized because-- as a seller of sea glass for jewelry and art-- I get more than a few "special requests" for particular colors of sea glass, and in specific sizes... and half the time I "don't know what I have."

Of course, I never really set out to "have a business" here, and being able to find enough glass to sell some is really more of a hobby... but still, I decided that since I do some "business like" things, maybe it would be appropriate to have a better sense of what I have available.

I am pretty close to having it all done, now. On one level, it makes me happy to know what I have... on the other, it makes me a bit sad that I have no more "secret stashes" I can pull glass from, when I get a special request. But that's just how life works out, it seems... there are always two sides to every story.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Sea Glass and Beach Combing Book Store

As a collector of many things, I have always enjoyed "understanding" my collections. That is, I like to learn about what I am collecting... the "knowing" is almost as important as the "having."

Although sea glass is a pretty "informal" collectible for most people, its growing popularity in recent years means that more and more books have become available to us.

Of course, I love beach combing and nature in a broader sense than just sea glass-- I also collect rocks, shells, pottery, driftwood, and much more. And I am fascinated not only by "where" things come from, but also by the ways they end up becoming part of something "artistic."

I was thrilled when I first got my hands on a copy of Richard LaMotte's book "Pure Sea Glass," shortly after it came out... since then, there have been others. If you don't own a copy of that book, DO consider getting your hands on one!

Anyway, as part of my interest in learning, I have created a small "Beach Comber's Bookstore" attached to this blog. These are just a selection of my own favorite books... and I felt they might be of interest to other sea glass enthusiasts, as well.

I hope you'll take a look! The few cents I might get from referral fees should you choose to buy something simply go towards supporting web hosting for the North Beach Treasures web site.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The myriad shades of green sea glass

After all these years of looking at sea glass, it seems to me that there are more distinct shades of green sea glass than any other color.

"Common" kelly or "Heineken" green
Of course, it may be that I am simply extremely compulsive about sorting my sea glass into piles that seem (at least to my eye) to be the exact same color.

Most of us hear about "green" sea glass, and we immediately think about the common kelly green (sometimes dubbed "Heineken green" because it's the color used for that brewery's bottles), but there is just SO much more to green sea glass.

So far, I have identified about 30-odd distinct shades of green. I am sure there could be many more, but I am trying not to go completely overboard here.

It's not easy to sort a color down to such a detailed level, because (at least for me) you have to learn to distinguish between "distinct colors" and what simply amounts to small variations in the color density of the same color. Most of the time, though, you learn where colors are "distinct" and how there can be "gray-toned olive" and "yellow-toned olive" and the two really look nothing alike.

This deep bluish teal green shade is actually quite rare
I expect that some of my obsession with colors in sea glass is actually "inherited" from one of my other favorite hobbies, stamp collecting. For stamp collectors, being able to recognize slight differences in the color of a stamp (from different printings and ink batches) can mean the difference between owning a 50-cent stamp and a $50 stamp. As I have been a stamp collector since I was a kid-- and many of those years a pretty "serious" collector-- I learned at an early age to pay close attention to colors and nuances. And there is little doubt that some of this is now "rubbing off" when I sort sea glass.

Sometimes I have to stop and ask myself if it is really "important" that I pay so much attention to sorting by color.

I suppose it has become more important because I sell sea glass. If a jeweler I am working with is trying to make a pair of matching earrings... or a bracelet with multiple pieces of glass... it becomes pretty important that the colors he or she uses aren't going to be glaringly different.

That's the "logical" explanation. Bottom line, though, is that I am just having fun doing this sorting!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Orange Sea Glass

According to most experts on sea glass, orange is the single rarest color we sea glass enthusiasts might find out there.

Because I beach comb a lot, I have had the good fortune to find quite a few pieces of orange glass, over the years. For many collectors, though, a piece of orange will remain something they only hope to find, but it never actually shows up.

There are good reasons why orange sea glass is so rare. If you think about it, where have you actually seen orange glass, to begin with? It's not a color that was ever used for any "production" or "large scale manufacturing" of glass. There are no orange bottles, that I know of. Orange glass dish ware? Not something I have seen.

I have found that you can always get a good idea of the sources for older sea glass by making a visit to your local antique mall and looking at the old glassware and bottles the vendors have for sale. You really are not likely to find much, in the way of orange glass.

There are a few "known" sources of older "production" orange glass. A limited number of automotive turn signals on older cars from an era where such things were still made of glass, rather than plastic. Same with a small number of lens covers on "caution" lamps and lanterns used for road works barriers, for example.

Another source for orange sea glass is "Amberina" art glass, which was first made in the 1880's but still in pretty limited amounts. It was in production into the 1960's and is generally the source for "two toned" pieces of orange sea glass because it was a mixed red and orange.

But even when we can identify the source of a particular color of glass, we still have another factor to consider: What's the likelihood that glass will make it into the ocean?

Aside from the scarcity (or not) of the original glass, you have to consider the nature of it breaking and being discarded. Since colors like clear, brown and green tends to be "utility glass" it is also more likely to get broken and discarded as a natural part of use. And so, it will get thrown away... finding its way to dumps, some of them by the sea side. Or someone might enjoy a beer at a seaside picnic and toss the bottle in the ocean... and it becomes sea glass.

But people aren't going to have their orange Amberina glass AT the seaside. And if it breaks, out comes the superglue, rather than the trash can. And when an orange turn signal on a car, or a lamp at a road works barrier gets broken, it's going to be on a road somewhere, not on a beach. And that's where part of the rarity comes from. In order for that turn signal to become sea glass, it has to be swept up, put in the trash, that trash hauled to a seaside dump... and then pushed into the ocean, all of which has to have happened during a time before environmental protection laws made it completely illegal to push trash into the ocean.

Two-toned, from "Amberina"
So we have two rarity factors at work, when it comes to orange sea glass: One, orange is simply uncommon, as glass. Two, it's unlikely to be broken somewhere where it will even make it to the beach.

Mixed in here are some of the pieces of orange sea glass I have found, over the years. As you can see, true orange is extremely bright, and quite different from various "golden amber" tones that often get mistaken as being orange.

Finding a piece of orange is a "true treasure" for any sea glass collector.

About Me

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1960 vintage Danish national now living in the Pacific Northwest... active in the global HSP community; active beach comber and sea glass collector; lifetime collector of postage stamps from Scandinavia; writer and consultant, primarily to the metaphysics and self-help industries, writer at OM Times magazine; artist who doodles on rocks; eBay & Etsy entrepreneur and studio and production assistant at Radio Nahmaste.

Diverse enough for you?