About sea glass?
Basically, sea glass is manufactured glass that has been either thrown into the sea deliberately or has ended up there by accident. Over many years (anywhere between 30 to over 100 years) the sea glass is polished and made into fragments and smooth pebbles by the tumbling action of the waves. In all my Seastone seaglass jewellery i hand select only the best, antique pieces of sea glass that are upwards of 100 years old and have been churned and tumbled to a rounded, smooth pebble. No piece of seastone jewellery is the same and I make each item to order to ensure each piece is totally unique to you.
Seaham sea glass
Seaham is now world renowned as one of the best places to collect sea glass. This is all because between the 1850s and 1921 the Candlish family had their massive bottleworks in Seaham, near Sunderland on the north east coast of England. During those years the glassworks thrived and became one of the biggest glass manufacturers in the country. It closed during the depression and coal strike of 1921.
At the height of its success, the Seaham glassworks was producing 20,000 hand blown glass bottles each day. At the end of the day, the final large balls of glass used for blowing bottles became unusable so were thrown into the sea. This end-of-day glass often contained different colours of glass and so, if you’re lucky, this now polished end-of-day glass fragments can still be found on Seaham beach. Some of my favourite jewellery items are made from this fabulous end of day sea glass!
Other glass in the sea...
Along with the Seaham glassworks there are other ways large amounts of glass have found there way into the sea. Large consignments of Seaham glass bottles were shipped out of Sunderland for export but during the First World War, in March 1917, the Oakwell, was sunk by a mine. Its entire contents of glass was lost, just off Robin Hoods Bay. Saltburn by the sea is perfectly located between Seaham and Robin hoods bay which is why I find lovely pieces of sea glass on my local beach.
Sunderland and Teesport are amongst the largest dockyards in the UK, no doubt other batches of cargo also ended up in the water due to the volatile nature of the north sea, which explains why I fin antique sea glass along the entire east coast from Holy Island down to Scarborough.
A bit about fake (or cultured) Sea glass
Some jewellery claims to have beach glass/cultured sea glass at the heart of its designs. This type 'sea glass' is entirely man-made. Glass droplets are put into a lapidary machine and artificially tumbled to attain the look of sea glass. The advantage of using cultured sea glass in designs is that you can readily use a variety of colours (such as bright blues, reds and pinks) that are exceptionally rare finds as genuine sea glass and this makes them more valuable.