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August 24, 2005

Sea Glass


Jura Koncius wrote an interesting story for the August 11 Washington Post about sea glass.

You know, the colorful stuff you find walking along the beach when you're a little kid, marvel at and take home to put on your nightstand.

Today it's a very hot collectible.

In the book "Pure Sea Glass," self–published last year by Maryland author Richard LaMotte, 45, he explains where sea glass comes from, how it is formed, and how to identify it.

His website, pureseaglass.com, is a nice resource if you'd like to find out more than I'm going to touch on here.

LaMotte told Koncius that the Chesapeake Bay, for centuries a shipping channel where bottles by the many have been tossed overboard, is one of the best places in the U.S. to find superb specimens.

LaMotte and his wife Nancy have over 30,000 specimens in their home.

The book has so far sold a very impressive 19,000 copies at $34.95 apiece.

Tell you what: when you self–publish and sell that many copies at that price, you're making some serious money.

Perhaps $10 or more a copy, which = $190,000.

Nice, eh?

Celia Pearson took the photographs which appear in the book.

She's produced a series of art photography prints of beach glass which have been selling briskly at $300 to $1,700 apiece.

The market for rare sea glass specimens has exploded: good red or orange pieces,


the scarcest, sold for $5–$10 a few years ago and now bring ten times that.

LaMotte only seriously starting collecting in the year 2000 when his wife, who had studied as a jewelry maker, decided to incorporate sea glass into her designs.

He started roaming Chesapeake beaches and soon had special spots, which he keeps secret, which on a good day can yield 100 to 150 pieces.

LaMotte believes it takes up to 10 years for a piece of glass to show significant etching by water in motion swirling and twirling it.

Perhaps 20 to 30 years elapse until the edges are completely polished and rounded by the water.

In his book he rates the rarity of sea glass, dividing 24 colors into four categories ranging from extremely rare (orange, red, turquoise, yellow, black, teal gray) down to common (Kelly green, brown and white/clear).

He finds only one or two pieces of red a year.

The counterfeit sea glass market is alive and well, he notes, increasingly so as prices rise.

He says that edges that aren't worn down and a lack of pockmarks are a dead giveaway to a piece of questionable provenance.

Suggestion: if you have a place at the beach or shore; if you go to the beach or the shore; or if you ever liked going to the beach or the shore, this book will bring you pleasure.

It should be on the coffee table or guest room nightstand of every house that's within view of the waves.


$23.07 at amazon.

August 24, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink


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» Sea Change from Everything And Nothing
Joe wrote an article about sea glass this morning - and it is beautiful, but as I've never been north of Chicago, I've never seen it in person. It was more of an intellectually interesting thing. But then Lisa posted [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 24, 2005 1:55:37 PM



Link for Wade Garretson an artist from Bainbridge Island, Washington. She was selling bags of sea glass for $10 a few years ago and we (friends of her little sister) all laughed.

Posted by: Annie | Aug 24, 2005 2:48:58 PM

Washington, DC-based Amy Marx is one of many artists who use this lovely glass in jewelry. She does the same with stained-glass beads. She's also a phenomenal painter. See her work at Eastern Market on Saturdays in DC or http://www.craftweb.com/org/amymarx/

Posted by: silica valley | Aug 24, 2005 1:17:22 PM

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