Like this page!
Glass Directory - Sea Glass Guide
Black Sea Glass, Black Beach Glass
On this page, you'll find out about:
From what we've researched, heard from others, and
through experience is that true "black" glass is almost
impossible to find.
Well, not impossible. Just very hard. We'll talk about why farther down
Is Black Sea Glass?
The term "black glass" (also called blackglass), as
used frequently by sea glass collectors as well as collectors
insulators and some other old glass products, often refers to glass
that APPEARS to be
Here's an example of some "black sea glass" from Italy.
"Black" Sea Glass
from Italy actually is a Very Dark Olive
The common name "black glass" is perfectly fine to use when referring
to glass that appears to be black to the naked eye.
This very dark glass, though, when held to bright
light, shows that it
is actually colored.
This sea glass from Italy appears black until held up to bright light,
as Lin is doing here.
glass" in many cases is a very dark olive green. However, it can also
be a very dark shade of purple, red, blue, or brown..
In the next photos, the "black sea glass" is a somewhat lighter shade
of green, which can be seen when the sun shines through it.
lighting, this piece would be considered "black glass," while it's
actually a dark shade of green.
Black Sea Glass
"Black glass" of dark green or dark brown were in fairly common use for
bottles, although even these colors are somewhat rare to find in a sea
glass collection. Why?
Well, for one very good reason at least - it's very difficult in normal
lighting to tell the difference between a piece of very dark, frosted
sea glass and the pebbles or rocks on the beach. Add some seaweed and
shells and your eyes are going to have a a lot of fun trying to pick it
When we have found black glass, it has NOT been because of the color;
rather, it, just "looked" like sea glass.
After searching for sea glass on many trips to the beach, your eye
begins to catch not only colors and shapes but will start to catch the
type of frosted or pitted surface found almost exclusively on sea or
So, in spite of being the same color as everything around it, your
trained eye may still "fixate" on that object. ***
Much of the "black glass," or very dark glass, that ends up as tumbled,
frosted sea glass was
originally from bottles containing fluids that could be damaged by
exposure to sunlight. This was most important one hundred years ago
before refrigeration existed and before the "sophisticated"
preservatives that are now widely used.
In many cases medicines and chemicals or even beer and wine had to be
transported and stored for long periods of time in less than optimum
conditions, and dark, thick glass was one of the best ways to insure
conservation of the liquid the bottles contained.
this information, then, we can say that black
beach/sea glass is fairly rare among collectors for at least
First, it is extremely hard to distinguish a
tumbled black glass
fragment from the other rocks on the beach, so what little there might
be is likely to be overlooked.
most black glass bottles were made before 1880. Other black glass
products (see below) make up only a tiny portion of production compared
More About the Use of Black Glass in BottlesStrength
- Most of the black glass bottles were made by adding iron slag, which
produced a stronger glass more resistant to shattering; another reason
for using black glass for bottles subject to harsh conditions in
- You might compare the strength of this "fortified" glass to
glass colors. Colors such as blue, green, brown, and red were generally
made by adding metals or combinations of metals. The strength of the
glass was affected by how the metal used reacted with the other
ingredients in the glass-making process.
From what we've seen, the very dark "black" sea glass is more resistant
to breakage, and very dark colors (with the added iron slag, etc)
result in finds of some pretty hunky old sea glass.
Making of Black Glass for Black Glass Merchandise
The center for glassmaking from the 14th century was the
island of Murano
in present-day Italy, where many new techniques were
- Murano became the
center of a lucrative export trade in dinnerware, mirrors, and other
luxury items. Black glass was called obsidianus after
first made in Venice in the 16th century
included black glass.
Influenced by the milk glass from Venice, Opaline glass was
a decorative style of glass made in France from 1800 to the 1890s and
colors included black glass.
Some Depression glass was black. This was dinnerware and related glassware, not bottles. For example, this flower arrangement bowl.
Other general uses:
Contemporary Fiesta ware (since 1986) included black glass.
- Vitrite, also known as foam glass, is a very low fusing
point black glass mainly used for the insulation base of electric
Other agents used to produce "black" glass are: Chromium, a
powerful coloring agent used to produce dark green to black glass, now
replacing the iron oxide used previously. Sulfur with iron and carbon
produces amber glass which can vary from very light straw to a deep
reddish-brown or even black.
Next, find out about these exciting sea glass colors:
Blue Sea Glass |
See beautiful blue sea glass photos. What are the different blues that are found in beach glass colors? Blue shards of beach glass come in many hues and intensities...
Green Sea Glass |
It looks so minty, but tastes salty. In the right light, green sea glass is prettier than an emerald. What is it? Green sea or beach glass began as discarded bottles or ...
from Black Sea Glass to Sea Glass Color
Odyssey Sea Glass Home Page