Thursday, July 26, 2012

Shades of Blue Seaglass

Blue is one of the rarer shades of seaglass, especially the darker or more unusual varieties. On Dublin shores it can be quite hard to find decent blue beach glass,  including cobalt. I have mostly found the very tiny pieces that are beautiful for mosaics or display purposes, but too small to wrap in wire.

 Cobalt seaglass and sterling silver pendant (sorry, SOLD to a friend)

 I gather that historically, white, brown and green glass have been more commonly manufactured in Ireland. Indeed, cobalt is a shade associated more with imported sherry bottles or perfume and apothecary vials. Having said that, it was around, if to a lesser extent. For example, a common staple in Irish medicine cabinets would have been  Milk of Magnesia and the original bottles were made of cobalt glass up until the mid 70s.

I wonder if this very weathered, and obviously old, chunk came from a bottle of this traditional laxative or perhaps from a vial of scent or a decorative piece of tableware? The piece is too rugged for jewellery making, but I may use it for an interesting keyring.
If purchasing seaglass, beware of fakes or at least be aware that 'tumbled' does not mean it was found on the shore.  Natural seaglass that has been leached and frosted by the sea for decades is more uneven in texture and usually has tell-tale 'c' shapes etched into it by natural weathering.
artificially tumbled seaglass ie. Fake seaglass
This piece was given to me by wonderful lady in the US. It was sold to her as 'tumbled glass', which is exactly what it is; smoothed artificially in an electric tumbler. It is smooth and even the whole way round and if you were to study it beside a piece of seaglass from the shore you would see with the naked eye and also feel the difference. Because of its rarity, cobalt glass is one of the more frequently shades of seaglass to be tumbled artificially. 
I found this medium sized piece recently when out beach combing with fellow Etsy friends. The shade is somewhere between paler cobalt or sapphire and darker cornflower blue. It is frosted through, but is still a little smooth so perhaps it is only a few decades old. I haven't captured the natural frosting very well on camera, but I can still feel and see the difference between this piece and the fake one above. 
natural cobalt seaglass from Ireland
This is a really stunning piece of cobalt glass I picked up the same day. The ridges will make it fun to wrap. The natural frosting is very clear. It must be quite old. Sealgass this frosted can be 100 years old or more.
I recently sold this pendant made with pale blue seaglass. The glass possibly came from a very old 'clear' glass artefact that is so thick it appears aqua blue. Minerals in the sand used to make the glass can cause colourful effects. Iron, for example, gives a greeny-blue  or 'seafoam' hue to glass.

rare shades of blue seaglass found in Dublin
These three beauties were really special finds. The one on the left is a very rare shade of petrol blue. The back is only mildly frosted but it is still, technically frosted through. It just hasn't been in the sea quite as long as the others. 

The one in the middle is a gorgeous shade of cornflower, also quite rare, especially in these parts. It's a little small, but I will still be able to wrap it. It just might take a little clever wire work to show off its beauty.  
Rare seaglass piece with faint letters DUBL

The piece on the right is a very popular shade of aqua blue that I also found a couple of weeks ago. I only discovered after taking this shot, that the underside has almost invisible letters on it. I thought at first it was a number but moving it around the shade, as opposed to the light, I can make out ''DUBL' - from the word DUBLIN I guess!  It is really hard to see, as if it were invisible ink on paper, so I almost missed it entirely. It is like a secret code, that I have had difficulty capturing on camera. I had to sharpen up the image and play around with contrast to get it on film. Elusive as the letters are, this is a very exciting find indeed!

I am still cleaning, studying and photographing the beach-worn pottery and seaglass from my recent trip to the shore and will share more pieces of interest as I get to them.
seaglass bookmark
I will of course be wrapping many of the pieces into jewelry, bookmarks and keyrings so watch my Etsy shop for these!

To purchase seaglass jewelry and accessories click here  


  1. AM, this was such an interesting read! I didn't even know there was fake seaglass (should have known, I mean there is fake everything...)

    I just love all the shades of gorgeous.
    Your wrapped seaglass pieces are truly beautiful and unique - I love my necklace so much!

  2. I love this blue pendant!Well done!

  3. great read and finds :) loving the aqua stone, really beautiful, keep up the great work and finds :) x

  4. Very interesting read Anne-Marie! The whole sea glass thingy was totally new to me until I got known with your work in person last Christmas time. Didn't really cross my mind earlier that something as fascinating could be found on the beaches and made into fab pieces like yours - very unique, keep on doing great work! :)

  5. This makes me want to go straight out beachcombing! I'd never thought about the pieces having been in the sea for decades. I usually pick up seaglass and pottery fragments and add them to the tops of plant containers among the pebbles.I'll be looking at the colour and appearance of them more closely now!