Sea Glass, The Jewels of the Sea
by Lora Somoza
Walk down to the beach on any given morning and chances are you’ll run into one or two people slowly shuffling their feet at the edge of the water, their heads looking nowhere but down. No, it’s not a scene from “Walking Dead.” It’s simply locals and visitors alike taking advantage of small treasures making their way ashore. They’re searching for sea glass, the jewels of the sea, and the Ventura Coast is where aficionados come to search for their treasures.
Sea glass is actually discarded bottles or glass that were thrown into ocean up to a century ago. The surf will toss about these pieces for decades until one day they wash ashore looking like gemstones. Sea glass popularity is worldwide with dozens of Facebook pages and websites dedicated to the discussion of the glass and the selling of specific gems. And these gemstones are found in abundance on the shores of our pristine, uncrowded beaches. And while many fans just collect them for fun, others collect them to create art and jewelry.
Take Aileen Cabral. The Venture based artist behind the immensely popular ArtofSeaglass.com, Aileen creates one of a kind silver and sea glass jewelry. “After a lifetime of going to the beach and having friends who had an extensive sea glass collection, I was just crazed about collecting sea glass and making jewelry with it,” she says. “I wanted “real” jewelry, something substantial to wear. So I got some books, watched some videos and taught myself how to make the silver jewelry.” The result is polished pieces with dreamy ocean undertones.
Melinda Maryott, owner of Mermaid Mindy’s, also found herself inspired by these ocean jewels. “Four and a half years ago, my boyfriend and I moved here to Ventura County and we walked the beach daily, finding and collecting sea glass,” she said. “That began this chapter of my life.” Melinda often comes home with handfuls of treasure and but always looks for that ONE particular piece for her inspiration. “It’s finding a particular color, size and shape of sea glass to create that special piece.” Her special pieces are casually pretty necklaces and earrings, a perfect expression of this beach life.
If you are out looking for your own special piece, a couple things you may keep in mind:
While some colors are more common to find, (kelly green, white, brown,) you strike gold when you find the rare colors such as red, orange, purple, pink and turquoise.
And as for where to look for these gems, both ladies offer the same advice: Look for rocks. Sea glass like to hide with the rocks and with each tide, new treasure arrives. Happy Hunting!
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