Oceans with their numerous treasures, have always fascinated humans. While some love deep-sea travel, others enjoy watching the waves, sitting on a beach. Some others like beach-combing and collect the tiny treasures they discover. This could be anything like shells or sea glass. You might have seen the beautiful jewelry made with sea glass. Go through this article for a brief overview about collecting these beautiful glass pieces.
What is Sea Glass
As the name rightly suggests, sea glass is something that we get from sea. But, this does not mean that it is something that is naturally found in sea, like the shells. In fact, it is a term used to denote the smooth and etched glass pieces that are washed ashore by the waves. These glass pieces are nothing other than those discarded in seas and other water bodies, throughout the decades. These glass pieces are smoothened with the constant tumbling of the waves and hitting of sand. Even the surfaces of the glass pieces develop an etched finish, due to a reaction called hydration. The soda and lime in the glass, react with seawater and get stripped of the glass, which then develops minute pits on the surface. It takes years and decades for ordinary glass pieces to undergo these changes and transform to sea glass. It is the mystery of these glass shards that makes them much more attractive. Once they are washed ashore, these glass shards are like glistening gemstones that display the mother nature's artistic side. This is one of the reasons why some people are crazy about sea glass and go on collecting them. These glass pieces are also known as mermaid tears, beach glass or trash glass.
So, sea glass is the term that denotes glass pieces that have been discarded into the seas and oceans. Their history can be traced from the period, when glass was invented by humans. While those traveling by ship used to discard glass in the sea only, glass pieces dumped in landfills near seashore, were washed away by the waves. However, the use of glass plummeted with the advent of plastic during the latter part of the twentieth century. Apart from that, concerns over discarding wastes near water bodies, was another factor that affected dumping of glass in seas. So, it can be said that most of the well-formed sea glass found today have undergone changes through the decades. The most commonly available colors are white, green and blue. Even amber, some soft green and blue colors, purple, etc. are not uncommon. However sea glass in colors like red, gray, turquoise, black, pink and yellow are extremely rare. Nowadays, original ones are not easily available and there are numerous fake materials that are sold as original.
Tips for Collecting Sea Glass
Sea glass collection is not a difficult task and can be done by an amateur too. A good search may fetch you a few pieces. But, if you are really interested in collecting beach glass, then you must understand the nuances of this task. First of all, you must know where to find sea glass. Secondly, understand the right time for collecting them.
Where to Find Sea Glass: There are certain beaches in the world, where you will definitely find sea glass. One of them is Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, which was a dumping site during the 1906 earthquake. So, search those beaches that were once used as dumping sites. Even those with heavy human traffic since ages, will also have these glass pieces. Beaches that were once used for ship anchorage, can also be checked. One example for such a place is Chesapeake Bay, which has a good amount of sea glass. Stone beds, especially those near jetties, are also ideal for finding them. It is also advisable to check river mouths that open up to bays or oceans. You may conduct some research about the beaches, where there is high probability of finding sea glass. According to sea glass collectors, Hawaii is one such location. Even Puerto Rico, Greece and Spain has some beaches with sea glass. You may also seek the help of local people, for finding such a beach. But, make sure to check the local laws regarding sea glass collection. Some of the beaches with sea glass are Bar Island in Bar Harbor, Maine; Seaside State Beach in Monterey, California; Glass Beach in Port Townsend, Washington; Antonio's Beach to River Mouth Beach in Puntas, Rincon, Puerto Rico; Glass Beach in Kauai, Hawaii; Old San Juan in Puerto Rico; Playa Media Luna in Isla Mujeres, Mexico; Rosario Beach in Fidalgo Island, Washington State, etc.
When to Collect Sea Glass: Though, there is no specific time for collecting sea glass, it is said that winter is the best season for the same, because of the high tides. The tides will bring more and more sea glass to the shore. You may also choose days with onshore winds (of more than 20 knots), as wind can expose these glass pieces resting inside the sand. In such cases, make sure to search for them, in and around the high tide line. Some of the seasoned sea glass collectors like to do this task during rainy and windy days.
How to Collect Sea Glass: Nowadays, collecting some sea glass is no big deal, as you can buy them from sellers. But, artificial ones are made in factories by polishing glass pieces. Artificial sea glass is found to be more chunky and lacks the etched finish that is usually found in original ones. So, if you want original ones, it is always better to collect them through beach-combing with the help of the above said tips for finding sea glass. Once you choose the location, get ready with some comfortable clothes. Don't forget to wear sunglasses or polarized glasses and sunblock. Make sure to carry containers or bags to collect these glass pieces. You may also use clothes with deep pockets for this purpose. Carry a stick or a wooden spoon to move things, like stones, rocks and sand, while searching for sea glass. You may start the search along the wrack line (the line of debris left on the upper beach, by the last high tide) or along the edge of the water. If you get a piece of sea glass from a particular area, make sure to search the place thoroughly, as there are chances of getting more. Check out for glistening things, as sea glass reflects light.
Hope the above said tips prove helpful for you, in this task. You may also seek guidance from seasoned sea glass collectors and experts. You may use sea glass for making jewelry or other crafts. Otherwise display these colored pieces in beautiful glass containers.