Genuine Sea Glass vs. Fake Sea Glass

With sea glass products increasing in popularity, it can be hard to tell genuine sea glass apart from fake sea glass. However, if you know what to look for, there are usually several signs that give away a fake.

You may be wondering, why does it matter? To many, there's something nice about owning an item made with real sea glass that took years, maybe decades to make and that was combed from a real beach. Additionally, no one likes getting duped. While fake sea glass is often less expensive than genuine sea glass, some sellers may market fake sea glass as genuine sea glass for genuine sea glass prices; ensure that you are not being ripped off by making sure that your sea glass is genuine. Finally, the production of fake sea glass often involves treatment of the glass with acid, which can leave hazardous, toxic residue on the glass.

Sea glass is what results when glass items that are discarded as trash break and the shards find their way into the ocean. After years of reaction with the salt water as well as tumbling in sand and rocks, these glass shards develop a characteristic softened and "frosty" look and become sea glass. Genuine sea glass differs from fake sea glass, or frosted craft glass, in that fake sea glass is man-made, being processed in a rock tumbler and often treated with acid to create a frosty appearance similar to that of sea glass.

Because of the different ways they are made, genuine and fake sea glass have some varying qualities that differentiate them. Perhaps the biggest giveaway of fake sea glass is its texture. While both genuine and fake sea glass are frosty in texture, there are subtle differences between the frost on each. Real sea glass is marked by a frost that looks almost powdery, as though the glass might really feel powdery to the touch. In contrast, the texture of fake sea glass tends to be more satin-y.

Even more telling than the nature of the frost on the glass is the presence, or absence, of small marks on the glass. If you look very carefully at a piece of real sea glass, you can typically see tiny, C-shaped markings on the surface of the glass. These marks take years of tumbling in the ocean to create, and therefore cannot be replicated on fake sea glass. If you can't find any of these marks on a piece of sea glass, it is probably fake.

Another factor that can give away fake sea glass is shape. While smooth, fairly circular sea glass does occur in nature, it is relatively uncommon; because sea glass is formed from glass that has been discarded and broken, it is often random and uneven in shape. Therefore, a fairly smooth and even shape can be another hint if you suspect the sea glass in question might be fake, but not always grounds to call a piece of sea glass fake per se. However, if a seller's shop is stocked with items using fairly uniform sea glass, shape may be a dead giveaway that their sea glass is fake.

The color of sea glass can also offer hints as to whether it is genuine or fake. While sea glass comes in a variety of colors, several are quite rare, and should therefore be greeted with more suspicion. While seeing a handful of items with red or blue sea glass for sale in a shop does not in and of itself suggest that the glass is fake, a large quantity of items featuring sea glass in rare colors is a warning sign. Additionally, rare colors of genuine sea glass are extremely unlikely to be sold by the pound; any sea glass of a particularly rare color being sold in this manner is very likely fake.

Finally, pricing offers a clue as to whether sea glass is genuine or fake. While different merchants may choose to price sea glass or sea glass items differently, rare sea glass is not cheap. If sea glass or an item made with sea glass is notably inexpensive, regard it with caution. This is especially true of items made with rare colors of sea glass; while they can be purchased for slightly more reasonable prices, single pieces of sea glass in colors like orange can sell for over $100. Therefore, very inexpensive sea glass in these colors is highly questionable.

Though differentiating between real and fake sea glass can be tricky, we hope this guide makes it a little easier!

PLEASE NOTE: ALL of our sea glass is genuine sea glass!

About Author: DejaVu Designs' collection of sea glass jewelry and accessories feature sea glass collected from Boston's scenic Harbor Islands and the rocky shores of Maine's Casco Bay. The pieces are understated and elegant, yet call to mind the whimsicality of a summer's day on the beach.