WHAT IS SEA GLASS?
Sea glass is any glass that has found its way to the ocean where a combination of surf, sand, and stone naturally tumble smooth and frost the glass pieces into a [genuine] surf-tumbled sea glass jewel. In most cases the glass originates from glass products that were thrown away, or from ship wreckages and trash dumps located near the coast where the debris has spilled into the sea. Glass thrown overboard from boats in shipping lanes, marinas or areas of commerce can also be a source of sea glass.
Genuine sea glass is ocean-tumbled for decades and considered a rare "found" object with natural imperfections. Many pieces are vintage or antique depending on the age of the glass. The value of genuine sea glass varies based on color, size, thickness, quality, and age.
WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR SEA GLASS?
We personally hand-collect our sea glass from Oahu and Northern California and we source genuine sea glass from trusted vendors in Japan and the Caribbean. We only use genuine surf-tumbled sea glass - never altered by tumbling machines or otherwise.
Blue sea glass – in all color variations – is the most popular color request we receive. It is also one of the more rare colors and hardest to find. This drives up the value and price of blue sea glass (and other rare colors) and in turn, increases our cost and the cost (and value) of our mobiles containing blue sea glass. This is why you’ll often see a price difference between two similar mobiles in our listings – mobiles made with blue sea glass are priced higher.
WHAT DETERMINES THE VALUE AND COST OF YOUR MOBILES?
1. Sea Glass Color(s) 2. Number of Sea Glass Pieces + Sizes
3. Size of Mobile 4. Time Involved for Each Piece
Color Factor: Blue sea glass of any shade will cost more, as will the other rare colors. This Sea Glass Rarity Chart from West Coast Sea Glass shows the rarity of colors. The more rare the color is, the higher the value and cost of a mobile.
Number & Size of Pieces: The number of pieces used and the size of those pieces becomes a time and value factor. The more pieces used increases the amount of time it takes to make a mobile; and the larger pieces are not as plentiful and harder to find (for all colors). Because it takes roughly the same amount of time to tie one small piece of glass as it does one large piece, but the larger pieces are not as common, you’ll see a mobile containing more small pieces priced the same as a mobile with less pieces that are larger. We do our best to strike a balance between the time and value factors with this.
Time Involved: The additional time involved for each piece can vary but always includes: the time spent beachcombing for materials, sorting and organizing the sea glass, design arrangement, stringing the sea glass, driftwood selection, sanding, drilling, and tying the driftwood, twine knotting and attachment, and carefully packaging the mobiles for shipping. It's a very tedious process and a labor of love :)
HOW DO I CARE FOR MY SEA GLASS MOBILE?
Sea glass is merely glass and equally as fragile. If it is dropped or hits a hard surface it can break, so please handle with care.
Additionally, our products are made from "found objects" and meant to retain their natural, rustic look & quality. On very rare occasion a piece of sea glass or twine may become loose and need to be re-secured. You can do this easily with any clear type of super glue.
To keep your sea glass clean and glistening over time you can use glass cleaner (applied to a paper towel first) or a small amount of oil (we recommend mineral oil) rubbed on your fingers then rubbed on each piece very sparingly. The very frosty, jewelry quality pieces will have a frosted whiter surface appearance without oil and their color will glisten more (or “pop”) with the oil. The different look is a personal preference. If you find you don’t like the look of the oil, you can always remove it with glass cleaner. We like to oil all of our pieces and find the sunlight brings out more variety of color and light play :)
WHAT IS THE LIFE OF MY MOBILE?
One of our favorite things about our sea glass mobiles is that you're also receiving a beautiful collection of Sea Glass. If you ever tire of your mobile, it can be pulled apart with some minimal “crafty” effort and the glue spots on the sea glass pieces can be gently filed off with a very fine sand paper or nail file. You then have a lovely collection of sea glass to repurpose in another way or to simply enjoy!
HOW ARE YOUR OBJECTS REPURPOSED, RECYCLED & UPCYCLED?
Our mobiles are primarily made from objects we (or others) find on the beach – driftwood and sea glass. They are repurposed and upcycled because the glass is no longer being used for its intended purpose (it was originally a bottle or plateware, etc), and we are “repurposing” it – giving it a new purpose by turning it into home décor. Additionally, the mobiles are “upcycled” in their new purpose because they are given an increase in value (aesthetically and monetarily), meaning the glass is worth more in its new form.
These terms (along with recycled and downcycled) are used interchangeably right now can be confusing. There are a lot of definitions out there, but we found this to be the most clear and simple:
Recycled: In it's broadest sense - used again and value remains unchanged
Downcycled: Items are turned into new items of a lesser quality than their original state
Repurposed: Used again but with a new purpose
Upcycled: Used again, with a new purpose, and with greater value than its original state
WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION ABOUT SEA GLASS?
The following are great resources for info on sea glass for our fellow sea glass lovers out there:
North American Sea Glass Association // Sea Glass Journal // West Coast Sea Glass // Richard LaMotte’s Book, Pure Sea Glass // C.S. Lambert’s Book, A Passion for Sea Glass // Mary Beth Beuke’s Book, The Ultimate Guide to Sea Glass