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

Walking the shores of Lake Erie

Lake Erie Beach Glass

Walking the beach of our Great Lake Erie provides me with good “beach” therapy.  beach two

But I do find myself talking…. TO MYSELF!  I survived this winter and so did the beach – Unfortunately there was a lot of debris, which is more of the norm this time of year.  Large tree trunks, boulders, rocks and stones and…lots of beach glass! Whether finding the common colors or being in awe of finding a  rare piece, (yes I  have been known to do a happy dance) searching for these gems can only be described as the best Easter Egg Hunt!

beach one

As I was “raking” through the pebbles and stones I came across a small copper lid with the words “Princess Pat” –  I did not think too much about it and tossed it in the bag.  Last night I started the research and found this piece was the original  lid to a rouge compact from almost 100 years ago  – Princess Pat was a popular cosmetic company started in the early 1920’s by Mr. and Mrs. Martin Gordon, 19th century immigrants from Eastern Europe. And Princess Pat cosmetics were very popular!

An excellent Lake Erie find if I say so!



And of course I am going to share with you  picture of the beach glass!  A good day, indeed!  Several small blues and one red (teeny tiny red) – white brown and green and a surprising piece of amethyst. I love that color! Several pieces of tableware and pottery were also part of the loot.

About 25% are jewelry quality, another 25% craft quality and 50% will be going back to the lake for the next generation!

for blog

What do you do with your “uncooked” beach/sea glass?

The “jewelry quality” beach glass will be designed into necklaces, bracelets and earrings – love to drill these pieces and add some fabulous sterling findings!

Beach Glass Shop  will soon have several of these pieces of beach glass creations on the website!




Why Coca-Cola Bottles Are a Cherished Find for Sea Glass Collectors

I love the soft colors of coca-cola bottles. The seafoam green pastel colors are perfect for unique pieces of jewelry and displays.  Enjoy this great article !

Richard LaMotte knew he had a winner when he spotted a small shard of aquamarine glass one day sitting amid the reeds, rocks, and oyster and clam shells that line the shore near his home on Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay.

Sea Glass

Nancy LaMotte

It turned out to be the heel of a Coca-Cola bottle, smoothed and tumbled for decades by fresh and saltwater waves into an elegantly frosted nugget. LaMotte estimates that it dates back to the 1930s, when the bayside town of Tolchester, Md., attracted tens of thousands of sun seekers from Baltimore and elsewhere every weekend.

“It’s the size of a thumb and perfectly worn,” said LaMotte, the author of Pure Sea Glass, a color-photograph reference guide to finding and collecting sea glass. His wife Nancy, a jewelry designer, uses the sea glass in her work, he said, but he decided to keep this piece for himself.

“I told her I didn’t want her to make jewelry out of that one,” he said with a chuckle. The piece is now displayed in a custom cabinet along with other treasured specimens the couple have found over the last decade — a perfectly worn red-hued nugget from the edge of a warning light, a smooth piece of lavender sea glass from an antique perfume stopper, a yellow glass knob in the shape of a bear’s head that may have belonged to a century-old jar lid.

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