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Great Lakes Beach Glass Festival April 30 – May 1

beach glass festival

If you are around Erie, PA this weekend,  the Annual Great Lakes Beach Glass and Coastal Arts Festival will be held at the Erie Bayfront Convention Center.

Great Lakes Beach Glass Festival

While I am unable to attend this year, I have in the past and it has been one of the most informative shows along with displays of beautiful beach designs. More than  90 exhibitors, lecture series, music, bottle identification and the annual Best Beach Find contest will be held.

Several of my fellow beach glass lovers will be there, including Marilyn Boyles of Castawayz and Jeanne Bandsuh Kollecker of Treasure’s in Nature.

In the area, it is well worth stopping in, if just to say hi!

Authentic vs. Fake Sea Glass

Reprint from Marilyn Boyles  Facebook April 17, 2016

real vs. fake

With so many people selling fake or manufactured beach glass, or sea glass, these days, the purpose of this post is to help educate the community on how to spot the fake from the authentic sea glass. 

Beach Sea Glass is very popular today. Found along the shores of our coasts, whether it be ocean, lake or river, these little gems were once part of every household in the form of dinnerware, jars, bottles, and decorative household items. Once broken, emptied and/or no longer of use they were tossed in to the garbage which then found its way to our oceans and lakes. Environmental practices have changed over the years and garbage is no longer dumped into our waters. There are also numerous shipwrecks in our waters that would account for a great deal of sea glass.

It takes many years…from 25 years to well over a hundred years, for the broken gems to wash in to our shores after being tossed about in the waves, sand and gravel. The beautiful frosted gems can have many appearances from the heavily frosted (such is in the 2nd picture) to satiny smooth finish. Some that have been in the water for a very long time even have an iridescent almost glossy satin patina.

Genuine sea glass will have tiny hash markings in the appearance of small “c” shapes. These markings are created when the glass starts to break down caused by the salinity in the water and/or the phosphates that were also once in the water.

Genuine sea glass is becoming so rare to find, especially in jewelry quality, that many people are enhancing their finds by machine tumbling (see 3rd picture). Although it is still considered beach glass, it is my hope that anyone who sells enhanced sea glass is honest enough to tell the buyer that it has been enhanced.

And then there are those who manufacture their glass by breaking it and machine tumbling it. Some even add acids to gain that frosty appearance. The last picture in this series is machine tumbled using sand and gravel only. A closer look will show that there are no “c” markings in the glass.

So please beware of those who are selling fake sea glass…especially if it is a very rare color such as red, orange or yellow. If the price is so low and you think it is a bargain…it could well be manufactured sea glass.

If you have any further questions, there are numerous and wonderful sites out there where you can educate your self. Please check out Sea Glass Artist & Sea Glass Collectors FB page and also Seaglasslovers