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Another sea glass misconception that needs to be cleared up.
Misconception: Sea glass is made from lightning.
As with the first misconception that I discussed in a past post this misconception is also a result of Hollywood. I am sure you remember the wonderful chick flick Sweet Home Alabama. It is a great movie, but has put a very false impression on viewers that would have a meteorologist screaming at the tv screen. Remember this opening scene?
It is shown in the movie how these sculptures are made naturally when lightning hits sand and becomes hot enough that it forms into glass in the natural shape the lightning forms. Well I hate to bust your bubble again but the truth in this is very small. If you were to actually have the chance to do this… which in my opinion is insane and extremely dangerous. You would end up with something very different, you would end up with something more like this.
This is called Fulgurite. It is formed when lightning strikes dry sand and becomes extremely hot 3270 degrees Fahrenheit actually and forms a hollow fragile rock, not glass. The only way you are going to get something like in the movie is to do the research I did to find out where the beautiful artwork shown in the movie was made. If you are in love with the glass sculptures in the store “Deep South Glass” in Sweet Home Alabama they were made by Simon Pearce a glass company out of Vermont. Their master glass blowers now have a limited edition of these beautiful sculptures that are similar to the ones featured in the movie. You can purchase one of these representational fulgurite glass sculptures by Simon Pearce on their website.
So what have a taught you with this post… 1. lightning striking the sand does not make glass at all… so therefore it definitely does not make sea glass or beach glass and 2. lightning striking the sand makes fulgurite…. which is not exactly pretty. Glad we cleared that one up.
March 2012 UPDATE: This post is by far my most visited blog post and because of that and things I have learned since posting this over a year ago I need to clear some more information up. First let me say, my intention of this post was to explain that “sea glass” is not made from lightning. I make sea glass jewelry for a living and it is a common misconception when I am showing my jewelry that people confuse it with the glass shown in the movie. Sea glass that I make my jewelry out of is from common household glass objects that are naturally tumbled by the waves of the ocean or lake where they eventually end up smooth and wash up on shore. With this post my intention was to clarify only that. You can learn more about “sea glass” here on my website. I am not a scientist, I am a jeweler, whether or not fulgurite is considered “glass” on a scientific level is not for me to say. What I do know is sea glass and fulgurite or whatever is produced from lightning hitting sand are two different things. Given the comments that have resulted from this post I just wanted to make my original point clear.