What Takes Place During the Weathering of Sea Glass

[caption id="attachment_181" align="alignnone" width="300"]top left piece is "new" through bottom right piece which is nicely "weathered" top left piece is "new" through bottom right piece which is nicely "weathered"[/caption] It can take DECADES for a piece of glass to achieve the smooth, frosted appearance preferred by artists.  An artist creating sea glass jewelry using genuine sea glass wants the glass to be without any sharp or shiny edges.  In Richard LaMotte's book: Pure Sea Glass, he explains that through a process called hydration, hydrogen ions in water replace sodium ions in glass creating sodium hydroxide.  It is the sodium hydroxide which is leached from the surface of the glass.  The water binds with the glass starting the process of corrosion.  He also states that the higher the pH levels in a body of water (such as a salt water ocean), the quicker the weathering process.  As the weathering process continues,  the surface of the glass can develop a powdery appearance.  The more soda and lime in glass, the more pitting noticed in the sea glass.  During the hydration process, tiny flakes of glass can sometimes be extracted leaving little "C" marks on the surface of the sea glass. As a member of the North American Sea Glass Association I have promised to use only "real" sea glass.  It does bother me when I go into a store and see a "Sea Glass Jewelry" display and every piece of jewelry has the exact perfect shape of a triangle, with uniform colors and sharp edges.  If you see uniformly shaped and colored pieces of glass, without any surface texture or frosting, they are probably FAKE!!! What makes genuine sea glass such a treasure is the fact that it has indeed taken decades to become so smooth and textured.  Each piece is slightly different in size, shape, depth of color and texture and that is why each piece is such a great keepsake! The photo shows a "new" piece of glass ( top left) and the changes that take place in appearance until the "weathered" piece in bottom right corner!    

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