What is sea glass?
Have you ever wandered the seashore and had the pleasure of spotting some brightly colored sea glass? It's a delightful feeling, like the ocean brought a perfect treasure up from the depths just for you. Winter time is a particularly good time of year for sea glass hunting up in Barnegat Light, here on Long Beach Island. But what actually is sea glass?
Sea glass is the process of the ocean taking our trash, tumbling the glass, softening all of the sharp edges and smoothing the bumps, and returning it to us as something new and beautiful. The salt and the sand in constant motion creates an extraordinarily frosted surface, completely organic and unique from piece to piece.
There is a whole rainbow of sea glass colors that you can find, and the rarity of each color corresponds with the history of glassmaking and how different colors have been used over the years. The rarest colors are usually warm tones- reds, yellows, pinks and purples. A lot of red glass comes from old car taillights, believe it or not! Part of the rarity of these colors comes from the cost of production. Warm tones, especially reds, often are made with real gold- definitely ups the cost! On the other hand, you will find the most common sea glass colors are whites, kelly greens, and browns from, you guessed it, beer bottles. And a lot of the deep cobalt blues- which are some of collectors' favorites- come from milk of magnesia bottles or Noxema cream containers.
SwellColors' owner and artist, Mary Tantillo, is endlessly inspired by the sea, walks on the shore, and especially sea glass. She is a prolific sea glass hunter herself, and some of her favorite recent artwork is inspired by the process of the ocean reclaiming broken glass and making it whole and new again. Our seascapes are a stunning example of the soft simplicity of color and light. Check them all out in our Surf City location, or order online. You can also buy an empty frame to fill with your own collection!