Sunday, July 26, 2009

Treasures beneath the Sea

Have you ever wondered how glass is made?
Have you ever tried to figure out how they get th
e great color combination, or the deep hues of red or cobalt blue? Do you know how old the glass formula is?

In the old days, because beach glass has been around as long as we have had glass, it was said to be "Mermaid Tears". It was said that every time a sailor drowned at sea, the Mermaids would cry and the sea glass was their tears washing up on the shore.
Well, going into this adventure of finding "Sea Glass" or "Beach Glass" I turned up some very interesting facts. This exploration took me deep into the history of the travel of the glass itself. Within many books,(yes I said books) I found stories I had never begun to imagine, great places to find this glass and how to search for it. It just makes me want to head out and start looking!

With all this new found information, I decided to figure out why the red glass was so rare and how it was made. This recipe found on the East Carolina University's web site is very old and are not used today, this is more for educational and informational purposes only. This information is from "Book of Formulas
Recipes, Methods and Secret Processes"

Prepared by the Editorial Staff of Popular Science Monthly
copyright 1932:

Red Glass parts
Sand 100
Red Lead 200
Copper oxide 6
Stannic Oxide 6

You may ask what Stannic Oxide is. Stannic oxide is also referred to as Tin oxide or White tin oxide. This is a hazardous material to use. If inhaled it could cause respiratory problems that include benign pneumoconiosis, producing distinctive changes in the lungs with no apparent disability or complications. So with this information, the glass was rarely made. So finding a glimmering piece on the beach is like finding treasures beneath the sea.

With this color and many more,
sea glass is aged and tumbled by the surf and time. Each piece is so individual that finding two identical pieces is impossible. Not to say that it might happen..... And I am not saying that the red is the only rare color. Everywhere Sea Glass is found, and it is found everywhere, its value is partially determined by its color. This is because only a few items were stored in red, blue, lavender, purple or pink glass containers. Likewise certain rare tints and shades of these popular colors are found.
For instance, very rare Cobalt Blue, the "sapphire" of the beach, came from such apothacary items as Milk of Magnesia, Vick's Vapo Rub, Noxema, Nivea, and Bromo Seltzer bottles, along with some prescription bottles and perfumes.
The extremely rare red pieces, or "rubies" of the beach,
might come from perfume bottles, the tail lights on old automobiles, lantern and traffic light lenses, or even some types of old beer bottles, like the bottles made by Anchor Hocking.
Pinks, lavenders, purples, lime greens and other rare shades of came from things
like perfume bottles.

Greens, browns, and aquas come from beer and soda bottles, and nearly every other source, like Clorox Bleach jugs, shampoos, etc.
The glass is commonly found in lakes and beaches alike, where there was a lot of boat travel. Some glass have been found with impressions still in the glass, and some are more than 100 years old.

So with all of this said, I want to introduce my newest piece in my Island Dreams Collection. This necklace takes you to a distant time or place, where mermaids swim freely amongst the coral and fish. The color of this glass is just stunning. It is a breathtaking red with cultured freshwater pearls and Swarovski crystal. The chain is sterling silver and is approximately 17 1/2" long. There is no other like it, this is truly a one of a kind treasure from the sea. Visit my store and view this item and others like it.

And just a sneak at the next piece I am working on.....

**Information obtained from East Carolina University, Glass Beach Jewelry and Museum and Wikipedia Other facts and information was gathered from books loaned by the Klamath County Library.

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