Green Crafters, Part III: Beach Glass Bingo

Stepping into the Beach Glass Bingo booth at the American Crafts Council Show in St. Paul is like being whisked away by a gentle breeze to sunny California. The laid-back west coast vibes are definitely present, from the mood lighting in the booth—strategically highlighting the sparkling jewels—to the comfortable banter between friends/founders Gene Allen and Rex Nockengust.

Imagine walking the beach—your favorite beach—enjoying the sun set, the water splashing gently against your feet. In the near distance, you see a shimmer of color against the matte-grey rocks by the shoreline. As you approach, you bend down to pick a smooth colored piece of glass: BINGO! Beach Glass, sea glass, mermaid’s tears, lucky tears, sea gems—all describe this interesting phenomenon. Beach glass may once have been a bottle, window, vase, buoy. From the natural motion of the ocean and rocks in the sea, the pieces of glass become smooth and turn into opaque little gems. Beach glass is one of the few instances where human pollution is turned into something valuable and beautiful.

Back in St. Paul, however, I had the pleasure of spending some time with Rex and Gene and learning more about their interesting story. Having both been actors and singers most of their lives, the two have traveled throughout the world, and in their travels always seem to find themselves at the beach:

“Our comfort zone in all our travels has always been walking the beach collecting beach glass. After tossing around a few ideas, we started our business in Hawaii in 2000 designing jewelry from our ‘gems,’ utilizing silver, semi-precious stones and leather. It took us a while to learn how to make jewelry but we kept on going and eventually had over 30 stores in Hawaii selling our jewelry line.”

In addition to using beach glass, Gene and Rex only use recycled silver. They do not solder their silver either, so there aren’t any harmful fumes released into the air. According to Rex, sea glass is a fast disappearing resource. Efforts to clean beaches (which is always a good thing, by the way), avid collectors and jewelry designers are depleting the remaining beach glass making it, what many would consider, a semi-precious stone.

In my research to learn about this interesting topic, I came across two very good resources: The North American Sea Glass Association (NASGA) and The Sea Glass Journal.

Also check out Rex and Gene’s website and blog for more pictures of their beautiful, green works of wearable art!

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Photos taken and used with permission by Rex Nockengust and Gene Allen, Beach Glass Bingo
4 Responses to “Green Crafters, Part III: Beach Glass Bingo”
  1. Lynn Johnson says:

    I saw Rex & Gene at the Cottonwood Art Festival in Dallas this weekend. I love their jewelry. I bought several pieces. They are great guys.

    • gabyingreen says:

      Hi Lynn,

      Thanks for visiting Green Design in Mind, and thanks for posting your comment! I also love their jewelry and they are amazing guys to talk with. Im glad you got the chance to see them in Dallas. I have some family there and am way over-due for a visit. I was actually born in El Paso!

      I hope you enjoy your pieces of jewelry and please stop by again soon. I am also on Twitter now, @gabyingreen. I would love to have you follow me, if you are also on Twitter.

      Stay tuned: the world just got a little greener!
      Gaby in green

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for another great article. Where else could anyone get that kind of information in such a perfect way of writing?

  3. Excellent site i will do come back sure. Nice article.

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