Pem began collecting shards of sea glass shortly after his family moved to the Outer Banks in 1985. Although he had no ideas for making jewelry at that point, he was, and still continues to be, fascinated by the process of research and discovery, and from all that can be learned from things that were once lost or discarded only to again find themselves on our shores. As his collection grew, the tiny bits of history began to come to life, and he began to see them in a brand new light. To him, each and every one is a beautiful snowflake, of sorts, some having spent perhaps hundreds of years tossing and turning beneath the surface of the ocean.
He considers sea glass to be something of a reverse diamond, in that while a diamond is a natural object that must be refined by man before given a moment’s notice, sea glass is a man-made object that must be refined by Mother Nature before we begin to see it as anything other than trash. The conditioning process, or hydration, that occurs when glass spends years in the ocean is still one that mankind has not yet been able to duplicate, and it ensures that each and every shard is a new piece of history that has its very own story to tell…a snowflake.
Pem started making jewelry in 2005 using shards in his personal collection after buying a couple of How-To books and a few simple hand tools, and sitting down at the coffee table with an idea that the shards were beautiful no matter the setting. Soon enough, the simple settings that he was making seemed to him to be less than what the shards deserved. He enrolled in a professional jewelry-making curriculum at the local college with an idea that sea glass could be incorporated in fine jewelry, an idea that had never been explored before. From the first moment he began using a torch, he knew that he had found his medium. As his expertise in torch work began to grow, so did the need for the rarest colors and most perfectly conditioned shards of sea glass to be the features of his work. He began seeking out and importing the rarest authentic shards from all over the world in 2009, and is now acclaimed as one of the finest sea glass artisans on the planet.