Sea Glass Jewelry Design Process

The challenge I set myself every time I sit down to create a new piece of jewelry is how to best showcase the uniqueness of the sea glass that was created from so many variables acting together; sand, rocks, waves, original construction, etc.  For that reason I don’t drill or alter the glass in any way from how it appeared when I found it on the beach.  I’m not really a purist; I just create better designs with this approach!  And I think a little more of the thrill of finding it – ‘oooh, look at that one!’ comes through when the customer can see its journey from the beach to finished piece easily.

raw-glass

It all starts with the glass pebbles, rinsed and sorted by color after returning from the beach. I sort through and find a few that speak to me as well as relating well to each other in terms of color, shape and thickness.

 

sketch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, I sketch out the design on paper, tracing the glass and working out the metal structure that will hold them in place, along with the gemstone and pearl details.

 

spiders

Then each piece of glass is measured and fitted for an individual setting – these are created from wire (bronze or silver) and soldered into a configuration that will hold that individual piece securely.  The ‘legs’ are cut to size and loosely bent around the glass to give it shape.  Then the glass is temporarily removed – the heat from soldering will crack it.
back-structure

 

The individual settings are carefully soldered to the main framework which may also be constructed of several pieces. Joints are filed and the overall setting is polished.

The glass is reinserted into the settings and the prongs carefully tightened over the glass to hold it in place. Accenting gemstones and pearls are added to the design.

detail1