Cataloging Sea Glass & Sea Pottery Finds

When I first started collecting sea glass and sea pottery I didn’t do any type of sorting. Once I had cleaned it I threw all the glass into a zip lock bag. I didn’t even sort out by color. It didn’t matter to me. I was brand new to sea glassing and so totally enamored with it the only thing that mattered was picking up as much sea glass as I could (that’s a story for another blog). It wasn’t until I started to get serious about creating sea glass jewelry that I knew I had to take the time to sort my finds.

This is a beautiful pendant made from a piece of a Flow-Blue Pottery plate.

I learned this because it was a hassle and a time waster to have to go through hundreds of pieces of white, green and brown sea glass trying to find jewelry quality pieces.  Then I decided that I had to sort by color, so I did.  It definitely got better, but still wasn’t my favorite thing to have to do. I remember those days, If I wanted to create sea glass jewelry I would bring a bag full of glass upstairs, place a towel on the dining room table and dump the bag out. Then I’d sit and sift and pick and sift and pick and sift and pick. Well, you get the idea, very time consuming.

Luckily, this was fairly early in my sea glassing journey, before I had the thousands of pieces of sea glass I have now.  Now I take the time to sort everything right after it’s cleaned. My really cool finds are first.  This is my “interesting keep” bag. This is one of my favorite bags. This is the one that contains some of my really treasured pieces, most of which is going to stay in my collection. There’s a few pieces of black bottle glass, pieces of  black tile, some amazing bottle bottoms, pieces of insulators, depression glass, a small china torso, marbles, stuff like that. Fun stuff. Interesting stuff. Then I sort by characteristic of the glass. I keep rims, embossed glass and patterned glass each in separate bags.

Then I sort by the glass by color and by quality. I sort  jewelry quality vs. craft quality vs. crap glass. Yup. Sometimes I pick up crap glass.  (another story and a carry-over habit from my early days that I’m slowly getting rid of). I also have a “jewelry maybe” bag. This bag contains pieces that may have jewelry potential, pieces that I just can’t decide about or I’m not sure about how to use them.

I have also started to keep a log of all the sea glass and sea pottery I keep in my personal collection. I use small white stick-on labels that are used for pricing. I put one on the back of the glass or pottery. Then I number the piece.  My log  when and where I found the glass/pottery and, if I have been able to identify it, exactly what it is. It’s amazing using the internet how many pieces I have been able to identify.

The first fabulous piece of pottery I found, I found the first time I went sea glassing. I was able to identify it as English and from the mid 1800’s. I recently found a 1920’s Pepsi-Cola bottle fragment. I have a lot of wonderful pieces I have been able to identify and I have enjoyed learning some history of my home town and other areas while investigating the glass and pottery. Some of these old embossed pieces of sea glass make wonderful jewelry and I my buyers enjoy knowing the history of the glass.

This pendant is made from a piece of a beer bottle from the Gottlieb-Bauernschmidt-Straus Brewing Company which was formed in 1901 when sixteen Baltimore companies merged together. They brewed under this name until 1921 when the company changed its name to the Globe Brewing & Mfg. Co.

I hope that when the sea glass bug bites you you will have read this article and take some of my advice. It may help keep you from having to deal with headaches down the road. Most importantly, enjoy your sea glassing!

Author: Cathy

Hi, my name is Cathy Kelly! When I was introduced to sea glass I didn't know that it would become such a passion for me. Whether it's walking on a beach or wading in a river searching for sea glass and pottery, creating jewelry and crafts, searching out the history of a piece of glass or pottery, or marketing and selling online and at craft fairs, I enjoy every aspect to it's fullest.

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