The Mystery of Antique Black Sea Glass

One of my favorite things to do at the beach is search for sea glass. The mystery of where and when sea glass came from is both exciting and romantic. Colors in white, brown and beer bottle green are common to find; but shades of blue, purple, yellow and red are hard to come by. In Costa Rica, I sometimes find jade greens and thick black pieces that look brownish or olive green when held to the light. After doing some research, I found out that these black pieces are extremely rare and collectible. Black glass was made as early as the 1500's and stayed in circulation until the 1800's. Black glass was made before refrigeration to protect liquids sensitive to light, such as medicine and alcohol.

The Chrysler museum in Norfolk, Virginia has an extensive antique glass exhibit where I found a few dark olive green and black bottles on display that were Dutch and English wine bottles from the 1700-1800's. These old bottles were traded, reused, and when broken thrown into the sea and darkened in the depths of the ocean. Tumbled over the last few centuries they later washed up on the beaches where we find them today. I imagine the contents of these wine bottles to be delicious celebrations of the sea shared by the captain and his crew or stolen by pirates.

A friend recently gave me a stash of black sea glass she found in the Caribbean. I'm making her a special set of jewelry as a gift for her generosity and also for sparking my interest in this rare colored glass. Jenstones has begun creating a series of jewelry featuring the "antique black" sea glass mixed with precious stones and pearls. These original creations are elegant items to wear at the most sophisticated and/or casual of occasions. They are designed to be treasured for a lifetime and ignite the imagination, filling your world with mystery and romance.

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