Saturday, October 3, 2009


Sea glass
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sea glass in several colors and shapes.
Sea glass (also known as beach glass, mermaid's tears, lucky tears, and many other names) is glass found on beaches along oceans or large lakes that has been tumbled and smoothed by the water and sand, creating small pieces of smooth, frosted glass.[1]

Sea glass is one of the very few cases of a valuable item being created from the actions of the environment on man-made litter.

a piece of red sea glass, one of the rarest colors

an old bottle top made of cobalt blue glass, one of the rarer colors
The color of sea glass is determined by its original source. Most sea glass comes from bottles, but it can also come from jars, plates, windows, windshields, glasses, art, flasks, containers, and any other glass source that has found its way into the ocean. Some collectors also collect sea pottery.

The most common colors of sea glass are kelly green, brown, and clear. These colors come from bottles used by companies that sell beer, juices, and soft drinks. The clear or white glass comes from clear plates and glasses, windshields, windows, and assorted other sources.[2]

Less common colors include jade, amber (from bottles for whiskey, medicine, spirits, and early bleach bottles), golden amber (mostly used for spirit bottles), lime green (from soda bottles during the 1960s), forest green, and soft blue (from soda bottles, medicine bottles, ink bottles, and fruit jars from the late 1800s and early 1900s, windows, and windshields.) These colors are found about once for every 25 to 100 pieces of sea glass found.[2]

Uncommon colors of sea glass include green, which comes primarily from early to mid-1900s Coca-Cola, Dr Pepper, and RC Cola bottles, as well as beer bottles. Soft green colors could come from bottles that were used for ink, fruit, and baking soda. These colors are found once in every 50 to 100 pieces.[2]

Purple sea glass is very uncommon, as is citron, opaque white (from milk glass), cobalt and cornflower blue (from early Milk of Magnesia bottles, poison bottles, artwork, and Bromo-Seltzer and Vicks VapoRub containers), and aqua (from Ball Mason jars and 19th century glass bottles.) These colors are found once for every 200 to 1,000 pieces found.[2]

Rare and extremely rare colors include gray, pink (often from Great Depression era plates), teal (often from Mateus wine bottles), black (older, very dark olive green glass), yellow (often from 1930s Vaseline containers), turquoise (from tableware and art glass), red (often from nautical lights, found once in every 5,000 pieces), and orange (the least common type of sea glass, found once in 10,000 pieces.) These colors are found once for every 1,000 to 10,000 pieces collected. Some of the black glass is quite old, originating from thick eighteenth-century gin, beer and wine bottles.[2]

Like gathering shells or stones, collecting sea glass is a hobby among beach-goers and beachcombers, and many enjoy filling decorative jars or making jewelry from their finds. Hobbyists both enjoy searching for and collecting sea glass, as well as identifying its original origins.
Sea glass can be found all over the world, but the beaches of the Northeast United States, Mexico,Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Maine, Nova Scotia, The Chesapeake Bay, California, and Southern Spain are famous for sea glass. The best times to look are during spring tides and perigean and proxigean tides, and during the first low tide after a storm.

Beach glass, as it is called on inland lakes, such as the Great Lakes, is similar to sea glass. However, this glass is weathered by sand and tidal action and not by the saline waters where sea glass is found.

Authentic sea glass has become much less common in many areas due to littering being increasingly discouraged - and so has become increasingly expensive.
Artificial sea glass produced to meet craft demand at a cheaper price, and a wider range of colors, is often produced using a rock tumbler. Such glass lacks the romantic provenance of true sea glass, and differs in many technical ways, (e.g. long-term exposure to water conditions creates an etched surface on the glass that cannot be duplicated artificially[3]), but for professional sea glass collectors, authors, artisans, and retailers the main issue is honesty regarding the source of glass[4].

While some prefer the term termed "craft glass" for the artificial product, this usage is by no means universal


  1. I used to love collecting sea glass in Florida and always wondered about the history behind the pieces, though there were lots of brown beer bottle remnants! Still I found a pottery shard once. You could only imagine where some of the pieces came from with all those Spanish galleons sinking off the coast. I love the description of them as mermaid's tears. Thanks for posting the article!

  2. how very interesting I found this; I would be so excited to hunt and find sea glass. I was excited when we went shell hunting, lol.
    So Nova Scotia is famous for sea glass; I live in Canada but in the West. Thanks for letting us in on your adventures.


  3. I love learning about new things. Sea glass sounds beautiful. And mermaid's tears... that's just poetic!


  4. testing, testing, one two

  5. Wow! How fascinating! Makes me want to head to the beach and look for some Sea Glass. Sounds like hunting for sea glass would be a fun hobby. Thanks for offering this contest! Blue is my facorite color.


  6. I cannot wait to go to the beach & search for sea glass. I love the story of it and the wonder of it's origin.

  7. I found your blog so interesting sea glass sounds beautiful...I live 10 minutes from the beach and I am there all the time and I've never found any sea glass what a bummer...I went to your page and looked at all the pictures of your jewelry and it is so beautiful. And using it to make bookmarks is genius.

  8. love the jewelry with all the different colors. I've never found any but would love to.

  9. Lynn not only does your book rock but ur sea glass is awesome i never seen such beautiful peices before now

  10. What a fantastic contest. I do not own any Sea Glass but they are beautiful and your post has sparked an interest. I love your prize. To name a character in your Those Who Wait book. Wow. That is so great. Thanks you so much for the unique prize.

    orelukjp0 at gmail dot com

  11. I got the nice package you sent me and I love the sea glass ornaments they are beautful on my tree. The rest of the things I have kept under my tree as I will not have much under it and thought this is a beautiful gift so I have not looked at it yet, but I'm sure they are wonderful as well. anyway just wanted to say thanks. I'm still reading the book and its faboulous so far. Happy thanksgiving.

  12. I have never heard of sea glass before it sounds beautiful. I would love to find some one day.

  13. Your article on sea glass is fascinating, not living near any beach I can't wait for vacation! I got the package of sea glass you sent me too, everyone loves the necklace & earrings. Still reading "Those Who Wait". I LOVE the book, the characters just draw you in.
    Merry Christmas
    Mindy :)

  14. I love the look of sea glass! It's so beautiful and reminds me of the power of the sea.

  15. Hi there! I used to live near the beach in Santa Cruz, and beach glass always reminds me of the terrific times I spent there. Thanks for sharing about this wonderful trash-turned-treasure!