The North American Sea Glass Festival will be held Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 28 and 29, at the Wildwoods Convention Center in Wildwood, NJ.
Gems of the Sea is this year’s festival theme. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Clean Ocean Action and the Wetlands Institute.
Keynote speaker Jason Sandy will present Mudlarking: Historic Glass and Gems at 2 p.m., Saturday. Over the centuries, the soft mud of the River Thames has perfectly preserved old glass bottles which reveal fascinating backstories about London’s history. Shrouded in mystery, large clusters of red garnets are found in many locations along the river. Diamonds, amethysts, and other gemstones have also been discovered by mudlarks in the Thames. Colorful glass stones set in Georgian and Victorian cufflinks, finger rings, and seal matrices have been found along the riverbank in London. Sandy will present samples of these extraordinary glass bottles, red garnets, beautiful gemstones, intaglios, and colorful stones during his talk.
Sandy will present Mudlarking: A Journey Through Time at 2 p.m., Sunday. Founded in 43 AD by the Romans, London has been a bustling center of trade for nearly 2,000 years. Flowing through the heart of the London, the River Thames was once the largest port in the world. When the tide recedes, the longest archaeological site in Britain is revealed, and evidence of London’s illustrious history is revealed. Mudlarks who beachcomb along the exposed riverbed have made some incredible discoveries. Each object recovered from the mud reveals a unique story about the people who lived and worked along the Thames. Mudlark Sandy will present some extraordinary Thames finds and their intriguing backstories during his talk.
Additional speakers include diamond expert Jeanette Bartolomeo of Sunset Beach Gift Shops in Cape May Point, N.J., who will present Cape May Diamonds, on quartz stones that can be polished into gemstone-quality jewelry.
North American Sea Glass Education Chair Mary McCarthy will present Sea Glass Gemstones, on the history, identification and sources of vintage cut-glass gemstones found on the beach.
Author Mary McCarthy recently released a children’s book, “I Sea: A Beachcombing Treasure Hunt” with Kirsti Scott, publisher of Beachcombing magazine.
Admission is $7 per day for ages 12 and older, or $10 for two-day entry to the event.
For more information, go to www.seaglassassociation.org.