Heart-shaped sea glass, sea pottery, and beach stones have special meaning for jeweler Arlene Nebbia. When she was 14 years old, her brother died in the ocean. Now, she finds peace by the sea and feels every heart stone and piece of sea glass is a treasure sent by him. Each piece of jewelry she makes from these found treasures is therefore very special to her.
Arlene beachcombs on islands near her home in southern Maine, which she reaches via kayak or paddle board. A native of the area, she knows every cove of the Kittery Point area, and loves collecting sea glass, sea pottery, and beach stones, which she uses in her jewelry.
Arlene comes from a family of artists, and though she has been collecting since she was five years old, it wasn’t until a few years ago that she started creating pieces with her collection, designing keychains for her friends.
She now has a thriving business, creating jewelry with the sea glass and stones she finds on the Maine coast. She creates earrings, bracelets, cuffs, and necklaces, as well as the key rings that started it all. She loves combining the natural stone with glass to create wearable jewelry.
“I make jewelry that I would and do wear,” she says. “It’s very colorful and all natural. I make all of my jewelry durable by welding every jump ring, because I’m so rough on my own jewelry I have to make it Arlene-proof!”
Arlene loves her work and loves how her jewelry touches people in different ways.
“I have sold jewelry to so many amazing people and I have heard many stores of joy and sadness,” she says. “One of my customers bought a heart stone keychain for a boy who just got his driver’s license. His father had passed away and they used to collect stones together.”
She has a client who is a cancer survivor who bought heart stones for all the other cancer patients she had met.
“I also made a mother’s sea glass necklace with the birthstone colors of her kids. It warms my heart when I really get to know my customers.”
Arlene continues to gather the beautiful heart stones and sea glass sent by her brother whenever she can. And she hopes to bring a sense of peace and happiness to everyone who wears these pieces from the heart.
You can find Arlene at local and national shows, and view her work at seasidebyarlene.com.
This article appeared in the Glassing Magazine November/December 2018 issue.