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What is Beach Glass?

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When I brought some of my handmade jewelry in to consign at a local creative reuse gift shop, I explained to the woman managing the store that several pieces were made from beach glass.
 
"What is beach glass?" she asked. Her question took me by surprise. I thought most people were familiar with beach glass. But I can understand why she didn't know about it since Hickory, North Carolina has no beaches unless you count the shores of Lake Norman or Lake Hickory. They are not exactly beachy. You won't find much beach glass out at Ocean Isle which is along North Carolina's eastern shore, one our family's favorite vacation destinations. In fact, due to the position of the beach, the waves are tamer and there are few sea shells as well.
 
I have lived in two places where beach glass (also known as sea glass) has washed up in ample supply. The first place was Erie, Pennsylvania. It has a long peninsula, Presque Isle, which has multiple beach areas for swimming.  Beach glass washes up on the shore from Lake Erie.
 
The second place I lived with ample beach glass was Benicia, California. Benicia is on the Carquinez Strait which connects to the San Francisco Bay. I am not sure why, but despite California's deep concern with the environment, there are still huge amounts of beach glass to be found on the beaches along the Carquinez Strait.  One beach I went to to collect it was glass beach off of 12th Street in Benicia, California.
 
This glass comes from many different kinds of sources, wine bottles, soda bottles, old windows...You name it. Some of it is quite old.  The rolling of the waves and the pull of the current spins the glass like a might tumbler and smooths out its edges, scraping and buffing the flat sides until they have a frosty look. Its very beautiful. I began collecting this seriously while we lived there.  In fact, I made a decorative border around our downstairs guest bathroom out of beach glass when we updated that bathroom and it was one of the selling points of our home.
 
I continue to work with recycled glass and pick up beach glass as I can. I incorporate it into jewelry, mirrors, and other artistic pieces.  So, next time someone asks you "What is beach glass?"  You will now be able to explain.
 
You will find various examples of items made with beach glass and recycled glass on my jewelry and gift shop sections of this website.

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