What is sea glass or beach glass?

Sea glass starts its journey as bottles or jars that have been discarded onto the shore or into the sea. Tumbling in the surf, the glass breaks up into smaller pieces. After years and years of exposure to the waves, rocks and saltwater, the glass gets a rounded, frosted look. While sea glass starts its journey as “garbage”, it is collected and treasured by many people, to the extent that it is harder and harder to find these days (unless you know a secret remote spot!).  I often get asked where I find sea glass. I’ll give you a tip. Look for a beach with pebbles, and fairly powerful surf, close to a place with human activity. Even though you might find some sea glass on a pristine sandy beach in a National Park, you will typically find more closer to a wharf, old dumpsite or industrial area.

Sea glass comes in a variety of colours. Most common colours are clear (white), brown and green, since these were (and still are) the most commonly used glass colours for manufacturing bottles and jars. Blue tones, lavender and sea foam colours are a bit harder to find. Red, yellow and orange tones are very rare. The colours are often a result of the ingredients used in the past for making the glassware, such as cobalt in blue glassware. The colour can also be a result of exposure to the elements, such as the lavender tones, which is clear glass that has been exposed to UV light for many years. There are many great articles and detailed colour charts available on internet if you are interested in the history and exact classification of sea glass colours. It is also fun to decipher the history of a piece of glass based on the thickness, colour, amount of air bubbles and embossing (text or logos) found in pieces of glass. The process of searching for beach treasures is something fun everyone can do and I highly recommend it. Just be aware, it is very addicting!

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