Monday, September 29, 2008

Sea Glass Collecting On The Outer Banks

Collecting Sea Glass On The Outer Banks

We recently went back home for a vacation on the Outer Banks Of North Carolina. When I first heard the weather report, I was thrilled, hard North East winds for the weekend we arrived which usually means GREAT sea glassing once the ocean calms down.

Well, the ocean NEVER did calm down. An unnamed storm hit the OBX and slammed it for the entire week.

Generally, 2-3 days after a "typical" Nor Easter (named for North Easterly Winds) the sea glassing can be AWESOME. Sloughs that collected quartz pebbles get pushed up on the beach once the wind calms down and this is where the most amount of sea glass can be found.

Many times there can be several lines pebbles, a high high tide, a low high tide and another line right where the waves are currently breaking. The High high tide line brings the larger pieces of glass as it was deposited when the waves where at their strongest. This line also has large driftwood and even baseball size quartz stones. The other lines have jewelry size pieces.

In some areas like South Nags Head, the pebble lines can run up and down the beach instead of parallel to the shoreline and these lines can also be great for finding sea glass. This also will give you plenty of exercise as you may walk 10 times the distance going up and down the pebble lines.

This unnamed storm brought a lot of havoc to the beach in the time we were there destroying dunes, beach steps and closing Route 12 to Hatteras Island and Rodanthe on times of high tide. Blowing sand was so bad the worst day of the storm that it looked like the Sahara south the Oregon Inlet Bridge.

The new movie Nights In Rodanthe (starring Diane Lane and Richard Gere and filmed in Rodanthe around the first house in town,Serendipity) had a huge premier and opening parties on Thursday that many Hatteras Island residnets could not attend. Many of which were in the movie.

OBX'ers are well acquainted with Noreasters but the tourists we spoke to were quite panicked and many went home early.

We did manage to find a couple of pieces before the storm got going and we did find a piece that was unlike any that I had ever found in 20 years of sea glass collecting on the Banks. It was a thin piece of flash glass, with milk white and clear and was most likely a cherished house ware item that had been broken many many years ago.

This week (last week of September and first week of October) should be EPIC for finding sea glass on the OBX beaches as well as phenomenal surfing and fishing.

A couple of notes to visitors to the Outer Banks:
Please PLEASE, do not walk or play on the dunes. These are our last line of defense against the sea! I have actually seen kids boogie boarding down dunes and this destroys them and then our homes ocean side.


PLEASE, if the red flags are out, DONT SWIM.

On a walk down to Gary Olivers Fishing Unlimited pier on the worst day of the storm, we actually saw children jumping in the waves that were coming right up to the dunes. It only takes ONE wave to carry a child into the surf and to an inevitable drowning. Also there is tons of debris when are storm of this magnitude happens. Parts of stairs and piers with nails, sand fending Etc.... (Pictured above, 3 children play in massive tide as parents look on, notice the BRIGHT RED NO SWIMMING flags above them.

Folks, the towns do not post these flags to ruin your vacation but to protect your life! The OBX beaches can be treacherous even in the best weather!


Sunday, September 7, 2008

English Sea Glass - Xtra Ordinary

Extraordinary English Sea Glass

These fascinating gems came to my attention in 2004 when a lovely family in England contacted me inquiring if I would like to purchase their sea glass. Immediately upon seeing the photos of this glass, I was awe stuck and quickly answered back a resounding "YES"!!! A friendship soon developed and I was lucky enough to become the FIRST American sea glass company to acquire this, the finest of sea glass in the world.

It is 4 years later and I still maintain the largest English Sea Glass collection of this glass in USA.

Competitors soon clamored for this lovely glass and though it is now available through other companies, we still offer pieces beyond compare of the competition. We offer many large pieces of mixed end of day sea glass and rare earring matches in many colors including Mutlis and rare reds as well a Ultra Rare pieces in pendants and necklaces.

Traveling To England

In 2005 I was fortunate to travel to this lovely seaside town in Northern England.This nondescript beach is typical of English beaches, rocky, cove like and surrounded by cliffs and hillsides. When descending the main road though town you are first struck by the level that you must descend to reach the beach. Huge cliffs of solid rock, the same cliffs that once held the Victorian glass factory that was the origin of this sea glass.

This is a very small beach that is home to these gems, rocky and rough and pounded by the relentless North Sea. Huge boulders line the cliff side and I was told that after large on shore storms, massive boulders can even be washed up on the promenade! Though to my eyes it look surfable, I was told that only once did a surfer attempt it. Cold and frigid is the North Sea and the same boulders that line the shore also lay on the bottom of the shore. It is these same boulders and rocks that are part of why this sea glass is of such magnificent quality!

I was actually more fascinated by the rocks at first and had a hard time spotting anything but greens and whites but soon developed an eye for the famed Multies (just featured in Augusts National Geographic Magazine). It is actually illegal to collect the rocks from this towns beach but I did accidentally pocketed a few. Beautiful blues and grays in the smoothest pebbles you have ever seen.

On the second or third trip, I did manage to find a large red piece wedged high in the large boulders near the cliff side.

This can be a dangerous beach to comb on if you are not aware of tides and time, my friend even recalling a time she was almost swept out to sea by a rouge wave in winter time filling her Wellies with water and losing a nice bad of sea glass to boot (pardon the pun).

The best beach to find the gems lays right down from the town promenade, another more remote beach that had earlier glass production, yielded larger pieces of seafoam green and aqua but it is a hard trek to get to and looks as if it is from another planet. A WWII bunker still sits on the beach surrounded by yet even more pebbles.

Origins Of English Sea Glass

Unlike American Sea Glass, English Sea glass from this small location, most of this glass was never made into a final product. Our glass originated as bottles and jars broken and tossed into the sea. English sea glass were lumps of molten glass, pontil rods, broken end of day pieces and chunks of leftover end of day glass.

Between the period of 1870 and 1930, a glass factory stood on the cliff in this small sea side town. When glass production first started, they specialized in decorative housewares for the Victorian market. Vases, bowls and frilly and colorful glass wares
were the main product. A nearby glass museum houses some of the treasures still. Through the life of the factory, they made everything from bottles for ale, television tubes and scientific glass though decorative glass remained the largest (and most colorful) glass product.

The area was prime for glass making and even has Roman glass dating even further back. Coal mining on the hillsides and mines provided fuel for the kilns, a harbor in the center of town, provided the transportation to ship their products elsewhere.
At the end of the day, the glass blowers and kiln workers would be given left over glass to ply their art. These pieces were taken home, given as gifts and even sold at market.

Many of these were known as whimsies and included items though beautiful, were impractical. Items such as glass canes (photo of glass cane sea glass piece to come) glass pipes glass dumps (paperweights with blown designs inside) and other assorted pieces. Locally there was an item called a "pitchy dobber" a flat pressed glass pieces used by girls to play a version of hop scotch. (see photo right, glass canes and pipes ). Many of these items did not make it into homes as they were broken in production. These then too were cast into the North Sea to become our sea glass treasures and can still be found on this beach today.

Pictured Left - An End Of Day glass rolling pin made by glass workers using glass that was left over at the "end of the day" We started calling this glass EndODay glass as a conjunction when we first listed it on our site. Pictured with the pin, found natural sea glass pieces from the beach in England.

During our trip, we found the remnant of a glass dump, a once if a lifetime find tough I have been told another has been found since.

Sea glass was once so prevalent in this area that the local cemetery has graves that are covered with the more common colors of sea glass. As the demand for these gems has grown, theft shortly followed of the rarer colors. Before we started marketing these Extraordinary sea glass gems on our site, the value of this sea glass was very low. The town did not know what a treasure they had. Once we started posting jewelry online, the demand increased 100 fold and competitors soon clamoured for the fascinating and rare sea glass.

Our once cherished source and friend became so sought after that we could no longer be the only source in the USA but we still maintain the largest collection with over 100 pounds of English Sea Glass.

We are the ONLY professional company to offer Ultra Multi Rare earrings in this lovely glass and soon plan a trip back to the UK to collect our own glass once again and arrange for local collectors to once again send us the great sea glass.

We will SOON be featuring this location as well as hundreds of others on our New site site that will be dedicated SOLEY to sea glass collecting around the world. The site will include many areas just for collectors of sea glass.

Please visit our main site for many pages on sea glass information, collecting locations and much much more including the largest selection of Sea Glass Jewelry on the internet!


More Photos From Our English Sea Glass Trip

The Angel Of The North

Tea Time At The Castel

Monday, September 1, 2008

Take a tour in our studio

A pictorial tour of our private sea glass jewelry studio.

Many people wonder how we can make such great matches in our sea glass earrings and sea glass jewelry pieces. Take a secret peek into our private studio to see just how we match up glass and select pieces to make into sea glass jewelry.

Pictured Left - our collection of rare English Sea Glass and Pictured Right Below- A pair or Rare Aqua Sea Glass Earrings in our signature Wire Bezel Setting TM. A rare match in top quality sea glass!

Pictured Left Below- A pair or rare Lime Green Sea Glass Earrings set in our signature Original Wire Bezel TM setting.

Pictured Right - our sea glass green earring pieces. It can take hundreds of pieces to come up with what we feel is a good match

Once we sort through HUNDREDS of pieces to find matches, we place the sets in various jewelry mounting boxes for future use in our work. Below is a photo or our main work bench that includes our website jewelry ( on second shelf to far left) our wholesale jewelry (top shelf) and our earring matches in cases (middle second shelf and bottom right photo - detail of some cases).

The hardest part of matching earrings is the endless pursuit of the perfect match. Since we have hoarded sea glass for over 15 years now,and continue to add to this resource, we are able to make some of the finest sea glass earring matches available.

Please visit By The Sea Jewelry for hundreds of online ready to ship sea glass jewelry pieces