Hello from Seaham - home of the best sea glass in the world!
I am Carol - designer and maker of Sea Glass Art & Jewellery - and I am lucky enough to live just 5 minutes from Seaham beach where I collect sea glass and pebbles.
I collect Sea Glass from Seaham beach Click here to see examples.
The history of glass making in Sunderland, England
Glass making has a long history in Sunderland, dating back to 674 AD when Benedict Biscop brought craftsmen from Gaul to create the first stained glass window in England at St Peter's Church on the River Wear.
Fast forward to the 1690s when the first glass houses were opened at Ayre's Quay, Deptford further up the river. The industry reached its peak in the 19th century when glass moved from being a labour intensive craft to mass production owing to a new technique called pressing.
There were 2 main glass pressing firms in Sunderland - Turnbull's Cornhill Flint Glassworks at Southwick and Wear Flint Glassworks, known from 1921 as James A Jobling and Co. Ltd. During the 1920s Jobling's made a huge range of decorative glassware in the art deco style and Pyrex, a popular, hardwearing brand of kitchen goods.
A few miles down the coast from Sunderland lies the village of Seaham. It had a large bottleworks, producing coloured, functional glass bottles to be exported around the world.
It is these industries which are responsible for the glass gems we can find on the beach today. Remnants from the day's production were discarded into the river and sea (not very environmentally friendly but these were different times) and tossed and tumbled for decades. This smoothes the pieces of glass and gives them their frosted appearance. Seaham is famous for multi coloured pieces of sea glass which probably wash up on the beach and originate from the decorative pieces of glassware produced in Sunderland.