For many of us, our first glimpse of Seaglass or Beach Glass were the colorful gems that washed ashore at the beach. I can remember fighting over cobalt blue spears with my sister at the Jersey shore. We also spent summers digging Seaglass shards from the rocks at the beach in Kingston, Massachusetts. Kingston is a little town just north of Plymouth Harbor, it has a unique property that when the tide is out, it is way out. The entire bay becomes just a few feet deep. This surge in tidal flow causes immense amounts of Seaglass to gather on the rocky shore.
No longer a kid but married to my childhood sweetheart I still have a fascination with Seaglass. 30 years ago White Light Productions began making jewelry with Seaglass that a friend of Carols brought back from the Bahamas. At that time we were making jewelry from all kinds of natural treasures, copper and sterling.
We were living in New Jersey and I used the New England term Sea Glass, the local galleries had never heard that term. Instead, they used Beach Glass. We can't lay claim to coining the compound word, Seaglass, but we were one of the first. One of our biggest challenges was educating our customers about the "touchable gems." We were exhibiting in wholesale trade shows for years before our first competitor appeared on the scene. Many years latter we had a customer who introduced us to the term Mermaid's Tears. Whether you call it Seaglass, Beachglass or Mermaids Tear's they are all beautiful.
We quickly ran through our supply, and began making more. At that time we lived above a liquor store and the alley was constantly filled with broken glass. In a neighborhood drive to "cleanup and recycle" we turned this urban waste into delightful gems.
We quickly outgrew that supply and turned to an old family resource. My family ran an antique business in Stoughton, Massucuestuts for 3 generations. But all good things must come to an end. My grandmother decided to liquidate the business hopefully earning enough to send her and my mother to London for the trip of a lifetime. The whole family gathered together to create the largest yard sale the town has ever seen. It ran for four days, made the news all the way in Boston, and grossed over $5,000.00. Carol and I walked away with the largest treasure - tons of broken glass.
One of the problems with "found" Seaglass is that the colors are limited. You only find colors that bottles come in. Sure, you can find beautiful cobalt from old Noxema jars, pale blues from a number of sources but the reds and purples are extremely rare. Carol and I felt constrained by this palette. From the antique business we took cobalt blue Noxema jars, hundreds of mason jars that had turned blue with age, and one of the rarest glass of all, old bottles that had gone purple or lavender from age and an excess of manganese in the glass. But the most beautiful of all glass came from the depression era glass, delicate pinks soft greens and brilliant uranium glass made from real uranium.
Suddenly our jewelry burst forth with brilliant hues to rival real gems. And we coined our catch phrase, "Color Sells."
Eventually we used up the treasures from the family antique barn. We turned to an area of Pennsylvania that hosts antique markets, home to thousands of dealers each weekend. Augmenting our weekly catch, we began reprocessing scrap stained glass. Today, our production is large enough to warrant purchasing glass to directly turn into Seaglass.
The second bad thing about "found Seaglass" is that it's actually pollution. Happily supplies are dwindling as people no longer chug a beer and toss a bottle into the waves. Cities also are practicing safer more environmentally friendly practices and are not polluting our shore lines with the refuge of daily life.
Many claim to use "found Seaglass" but one look at the colors and you realize that bottles don't come in that color. After 30 years we are proud to have 10 people working for us and service clients nationwide and the fact that our glass don't pollute the environment.
We still make forays to the antiques shops to harvest the vintage coke bottles for our signature piece, both mason and Noxema jars and anything else that looks fun. We currently live in a mid century modern house, on ten acres with a pond and three streams. We hope that you:
Remember the thrill when you found that unbelievably smooth piece of Seaglass on the beach. We are proud to offer a beautiful and unique selection of touchable gems.
Carol and Mark Hall