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"People see that it's going away, so a lot more jewelers are buying and paying more for sea glass jewelry because they can't find it anymore," La Motte said.

The Internet and glossy magazine and newspaper features have also helped expand its fan base, he said.

More recently, designer Oki Sato transformed the contour bottle into elegant green glass tableware as part of Japan's ongoing program in design sustainability.

Once favored largely by jewelry-makers, sea glass is now being used in all sorts of creative ways, from swimming pool decor to wall hangings and wind chimes, as more people embrace its mix of beauty and history, Beuke notes.

"Automation came in the 1900s and bottling companies switched" to clear and brown colors for efficiency reasons, he said. When the company standardized and went with the contour bottle, also known as the "hobble-skirt" or "Mae West" bottle for its hourglass curves, it wanted to standardize on a color as well and chose a light green color also known as German green, he explained.

His wife Nancy, a jewelry designer, uses the sea glass in her work, he said, but he decided to keep this piece for himself.

“I told her I didn't want her to make jewelry out of that one," he said with a chuckle.

These distinctive marks are rare for sea glass, Beuke notes, since decades of ocean tumbling tend to smooth it all away.

Sea glass essentially comes from jars, bottles, tableware and other items that were discarded into the ocean via coastal landfills, shipwrecks, and the pre-recycling habits of people in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

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