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Stopping to Smell the Sea Glass

September 19, 2010

I think part of the beauty of sea glass is wondering what it used to be.

Sea glass jewelry maker Sue Gray Fitzpatrick, Newport, RI – npr.org

Sea Glass Lessons from Diana Evans

Because I was in East Hawaii this weekend, I missed the Peace Day Parade in Honoka’a, organized by Cathey Tarleton of Tarleton Ink. (Sorry Cathey!)

And, I regretfully missed the Paniolo Parade and the Parker Ranch Historic Homes Open House in Waimea.

But I did spend an afternoon by the Honoli’i River today with Diana Evans exploring her world of sea glass, beach treasures and jewelry-making.

Hamakua Coast Sea Glass

When I first moved to the Big Island, I lived near Onomea Bay, not far from the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden. A few times during those early weeks, I followed a muddy trail down to the beach to gather glass and shells at the water’s edge.

I turned my small collection over to Diana today, knowing that she will give the old sea glass a new life in her jewelry and art. It was fun to get a glimpse of her creative process and to look through the pieces I collected in my first days as a Hilo resident. (Smelling the sea glass after five years wasn’t as pleasant–it took a few minutes for the scent of old salt water to disperse after we opened the jars.)

What I Didn’t Know about Sea Glass

Diana pointed out that collectors are concerned that sea glass is becoming more scarce as time goes by. A quick search for more information led me to this, from the Honolulu Advertiser archive:

Sea glass was once mostly ignored as trash, although, according to Richard LaMotte, author of the collectors bible “Pure Sea Glass” (Chesapeake Seaglass Publishing), it at one time may have served as a status symbol in Philadelphia, where residents would place a jar of it in their front windows to illustrate their affluence. Now people collect it, sell it and make things out of it — from fine jewelry to sun catchers, frames and mosaics, even stained-glass windows.

Part of its newfound appeal is its increasing scarcity. Glass bottles and containers have given way to plastic, shipwrecks have become more rare and people have stopped dumping trash in the oceans, all of which means there is less raw material for sea glass. Further compounding the problem, says LaMotte, one of the founders of the North American Sea Glass Association, is the fact that much of the sand brought in to replenish beaches buries whatever glass is on the shore.

Diana’s Jewelry

Find Diana’s jewelry on her new Etsy store.

If she makes anything from the glass I gave her, I’ll add a photo here later!

Order this piece on Etsy

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 20, 2010 7:04 am

    How fun it must have been for you to visit the artist you gave your finds to. Very generous of you. It is a concern that some day sea glass will be all but lost…enjoy it now while it remains.

    Fair Winds and Calm Seas,
    Deborah Leon
    http://www.mermaidspurseseaglass.com

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