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Polishing Sea Glass

by Elizabeth

How do you polish sea glass?

Commend by OdysseySeaGlass:

Sea glass could be put in a rock tumbler and would come out polished after some hours.

However, it would then not be sea glass!

Sea glass is defined as glass found on a beach that has been naturally tumbled and frosted by physical action of the waves and chemical action of the water and sunlight.

Once polished, it is not naturally tumbled and isn't frosted, so is no longer "sea glass" as such. Of course it still is technically sea glass, but because it has been artificially altered, it is not sea glass in it's original state...and does not look like sea glass anymore. It will look like any piece of glass put in a rock tumbler for many hours.

It just will never look the same. If that doesn't bother you, like if it is not well-tumbled and frosted by natural action or is a very common color, go ahead and try it.

But don't do like a friend of ours just starting out.

She gave us a piece of glass that she had found on the beach and put in a tumbler.

It was a pink bottle stopper (see below). Very rare if it had been in its natural state and almost worthless now. Lin has it in our "interesting pieces" collection!

I took this photo today, it is cloudy, so the photo is not so good...

~ David (Chief Bottle Washer at OdysseySeaGlass.com)

Pink sea glass bottle stopper artificially polished

Here's an interesting book on a company from the 1880s that made useful and decorative bottles including perfume bottles and bottle stoppers:

Whitall, Tatum & Co., 1880:
Flint glassware, blue ware, perfume and cologne bottles, show bottles and globes, green glassware, stoppers, druggists' sundries (American historical catalog collection)

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