Sea glass

pieces of glass that have been naturally weathered by water

Sea glass and beach glass are pieces of glass worn smooth by waves. Technically, "Sea glass" is glass found on beaches along bodies of salt water. As the glass reaches the shoreline pounding waves and rocks break it into smaller pieces. The sharp edges are worn smooth. Salt water erodes the glass and gives it a frosted appearance. "Beach glass" comes from fresh water. It is found mainly along coastlines and the shores of large lakes.[1] However many feel sea glass and beach glass are the same thing.[2]

A piece of cobalt blue sea glass from a bottle top


White, emerald green and brown are the most common colors. They came from jars, plain bottles and beer bottles thrown into the water.[1] Olive green, cobalt blue, aqua and amber are harder to find. They came from medicine bottles, soda bottles and cosmetic jars. The rarest colors are red, orange and yellow. They were originally items such as fine china, streetlamps and even ship lanterns. Many colors are unique to certain periods of history.[3] Small bubbles in the glass help to identify the original glass item.


Collectors walk beaches to find sea glass. After plastic became popular for containers it became harder to find sea glass.[4] Sea glass can take from 7 to 10 years to get a frosted appearance.[5] In many places winter seems to be the best time to find sea glass.[6] Experienced sea glass hunters look for periods of low tide to start looking. Beaches that are cleaned of debris regularly won't produce much sea glass. Hunters look for "dirty beaches" that are left alone and have litter.[6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Elizabeth Park, Demand Media (n.d.). "Where Does Beach Glass Come From?". USA Today. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  2. C. S. Lambert, The Sea Glass Hunter's Handbook (Camden, ME: Down East; Lanham, MD: National Book Network, 2010), p. 53
  3. "The Godfather of Sea Glass". Sea Glass Journal. 2008. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  4. Laura Wainwright (December 9, 2014). "Gifts of Nature: Sea Glass". MV Times. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  5. "What is Sea Glass or Beach Glass". Sandyfeat Enterprises Inc. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Jacques Bouchard (n.d.). "Finding Sea Glass 101". Sea Glass Journal. Retrieved December 10, 2014.