Sutro Showcase | Sea Gems By Em

As designers and manufacturers of handcrafted footwear, we have all hands on deck when it comes to creating our products. The handcrafted nature of our products is what allows us to explore new materials, designs, and concepts for footwear. It is the same approach that many talented individuals take when creating their own pieces of art. This week, we decided to showcase a long-time customer and friend, Emily Burton, who creates beautiful handcrafted jewelry from sea glass she collects up off the shores of California.


Q: How did you start collecting sea glass?

A: I started collecting sea glass as a kid with my parents. It was something we always did at the beach. Then when I moved to Monterey for school I would go for long beach walks by myself searching the shore for sea gems!


Q: At what moment did you plan to turn your collection into jewelry?

A: I was sitting in my dorm room one day looking at my piles of sea glass thinking, "this is nuts I'm a sea glass hoarder I need to do something with all this!" Thats when I went to the craft store and bought some wire and a chain and made my first two necklaces. I gave my first two creations to my mom and aunt.

When Emily moved back home to Dana
Point, CA she began attending local craft fairs and art shows to showcase her jewelry pieces and was surprised at how well her work was being received at home, including a feature in her town’s newspaper (Dana Point Times) quickly giving her the recognition she needed to continue collecting and creating her jewelry.

Fascinated by sea glass itself, Emily admits she often ‘nerds out’ when she sees a crazy new color of sea glass that she's never come across before. She explains this new found interest has opened the door (thanks to social media) to an entire community of people all over the world doing the same thing. She loves seeing the different kinds of sea glass found from different regions around the world. 


Q: So what exactly is sea glass?

A: Sea glass is trash that was dumped into the sea (bottles, broken glass, vases, etc.) and tumbled for years to create a worn down soft cornered piece of glass.  


Q: What's something you wish more people knew about sea glass?

A: I would love for people to know that sea glass was once trash, and it can be repurposed into something beautiful. I always encourage people to look down at the beach and see if they find something sparkly!  


Q: What's your favorite piece you've made so far?

A: I would say my favorite piece I have made is a double triangle necklace! (pictured below)


So what’s her approach? Once she finds a piece of sea glass, Emily starts by feeling the smooth surface of the sea glass and begins to decide what piece of jewelry she will create. She then begins wrapping wire, twisting, and adding any charms that she feels work well with the general look and feel of the original piece of glass in focus.   

When asked where she sees her jewelry going in the future, Emily explains that she would love to one day have her pieces in small boutiques because she herself loves supporting small business - like Sutro!

Well Emily, we SHORE do adore your jewelry and can SEA a bright future ahead! Keep it up!

To see more of Emily's work and to follow her sea glass adventures, follow her at: