The Lore

Sea and beach glass has been around as long as glass has existed. People use to call it “Mermaid Tears”. It was said that every time a sailor drowned at sea, the Mermaids would cry and their tears would turn into sea glass and wash up on shore.

The Brief Science

Sea glass and beach glass are made from a similar process but come from two different types of water. Sea glass is physically and chemically weathered glass found on beaches along bodies of salt water. These weathering processes produce natural frosted glass.  Beach glass comes from fresh water and in most cases have a different pH balance, and therefore has a less frosted appearance than sea glass. Sea glass can take up to as much as 50 years to acquire its characteristic texture and shape.

The Brief History

Sea glass starts out as trash glass from sources like bottles, jars, glasses, plates, windows, windshields or ceramics. Unfortunately, the world’s oceans end up being a dumping place for all sorts of trash, whether from ships or from those who live near the sea.

Luckily, when it comes to glass, the sea does a great job of recycling pieces of glass into treasures for people to find along beaches. In fact, searching for sea glass is a popular hobby for thousands of people.3

The Color Rarity

  • Common – White, Green, Brown found in most beach combing locations throughout the world. Unique colors are Greens Browns and Whites glass with age, thickness or patterning.
  • Unique – Olive greens, pale ambers.
  • Somewhat Rare – Seafoam Green (light greens), Pale Aqua, Amber, Rarer Greens
  • Rare – Cobalt Blue, Lavender, Aqua, Light Blue, Lime Green
  • Rare and Ultra Rare – Red, Orange, Yellow, Gray, Teal, Pink, Aqua, Opaque Glass (Milk White, Jadeite)
  • Treasure Chest Colors – Those pieces of glass that are so unique and usually maintain a pattern or shape of the original source (i.e. bottle stoppers, marbles, embossed glass pieces, pattern glass, old glass tiles, bonfire glass, multi-colored glass).

Some excellent beaches for finding sea glass:

  • Fort Bragg, CA
  • Benicia, CA
  • Kauai, HI
  • Spectacle Island, MA
  • Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Robe, Australia
  • Frankston Beach, Melbourne, Australia

 

Sources:

  1. (Source: A Brief History of Sea Glass by: Cassie Forrington)
  2. (Source: Wikipedia)
  3. (Source: Where Does Sea Glass Come From? By: Wonderopolis)
  4. (Source: The Colors of Sea Glass by: By The Sea Jewelry)