“I found a green, I found a green!” I yell when I find sea glass in my favorite hue while engaged in one of my favorite hobbies: searching for sea glass. A beach buddy introduced me to this hobby about five years ago. Picking up small gems of colorful glass has provided joy to her family near their Lake Michigan home. The constant buffing of sea glass by waves and sand create frosted treasures with softened edges.
What is Sea Glass?
“Sea glass” simply is glass that comes from the sea and is changed by forces of the tides to create collectible gems. Since my bounty usually is from lakes rather than seas, I consider myself a “beach glass” hobbyist. The city beaches of Chicago, and nearby Indiana and Michigan, are my main haunts, though my treasure hunting has taken me to Hawaii, too.
What is the origin of beach glass? Beach glass experts estimate that about 80 percent of all beach glass comes from bottles. An old green Heineken beer bottle can transform into pieces of emerald jewels. A brown Budweiser bottle chip sufficiently sanded and aged can look like rare amber gems. The Anheuser-Busch eagle is an identifying source. Coke bottles were originally a light green color which is why minty colored beach glass pieces can still be found with remnant of letters like Co (Coke) or R with a circle around it (“registered”). My friend has found cobalt blue pieces with the letter M embossed which likely originated from the old blue Milk of Magnesia bottles that most households kept in the medicine cabinets.
Where does the remaining 20 percent of does beach glass come from? Tableware including glasses, old light bulbs, artist glass and glass insulators. Insulators are glass caps that were used in the 1800’s to contain electricity used on telephone poles for both telegraph and telephone communications . Both the color and shape of found beach glass helps identify the history of the found treasure.
Learn History From Sea Glass!
Richard LaMotte is an expert and author of Pure Sea Glass: Discovering Nature’s Vanishing Gems. Hobbyists can research collected glass by matching colors to his identification deck of cards, similar to playing cards. He offers information on likely of sources of glass based on historical use. For example, tableware and art glass which were not frequently discarded often compose the more rarely found colors of red, orange, and yellow. In contrast, the more commonly found colors of white, green, and brown come from beverage bottles and mason jars that were frequently discarded.
LaMotte also discusses the structure of found glass pieces as cues to their origin and age. Older glass is thicker; bottles prior to the early 1900’s feature thick and often decorative lips. Older glass pieces also often have bubbles within the glass. Deeper forest green pieces would be more likely to come from the 1890’s to 1920’s when colors were contained in darker bottles. A pink piece of beach glass probably came from tableware made between 1915 and 1950. A lime green color will usually reflect origins between 1950’s and 1970’s when sodas such as Sprite, 7UP, and Fresca were popular. Tracing the history of pieces of junk glass on the beach is exciting and transforms them from trash into treasures!
Tell Me Your Gender, I’ll Guess Your Favorite Sea Glass Color!
Some of the books I have read about beach glass suggest that certain people are more likely to find certain colors. Males generally are able to pick out bold, dark pieces of glass while females will find the more subtle pastels. I try to find at least one small piece of my favorite color green with each beach combing expedition. A friend tries to find blue. Some people will pick up only certain colors. Very few people are lucky enough to find violets or reds, so when they do they can jump for joy with excitement.
Where To Find Sea Glass?
Sites that are heavily littered with beach glass so that sand barely can peep through the gleaming glass gems are often called “glass beaches”. These beaches are often sites near old dumps where lots of glass refuse accumulated before environmental concerns lead to recycling efforts. Sometimes the locations of these dump sites were just perfectly situated near strong tides or wind patterns that directed the glass chips across water to be deposited onto a beach that became a glass beach. One such glass beach can be found in Fort Bragg, California; others are in Hawaii and Russia.
When traveling to Hawaii I visited the glass beach on Kauai, and after scooping up a couple handfuls of beach glass I had to stop. I just felt guilty taking treasure that involved no hunt. Half the fun of picking up beach glass relates to how hard it can be to spot.
How To Find Sea Glass?
Make sure to go to a beach where it is known that beach glass can be found. The north side beaches in Chicago are considered the most fruitful grounds, including Loyola Beach near where I attended college. However, I have found lovely gems on the 31st Street Beach on the south side especially in the winter, when the sand is being ignored by the summer grooming machines that routinely sweep the beach.
A friend found handfuls of nice glass including rare red colored pieces along the Twelfth Street Beach in Chicago. The wind and rain that follows a storm often increases the chances of finding good beach glass. Searching just before dusk on a sunny day is a lucky time for me. The setting sun seems to provide the angle of light that gives what I call “a good glimmer” so that the shards of glass shine as they catch the sun and then catch my eye. Lastly, look for a line of other debris in the sand like rocks, gravel, seaweed, or shells. Beach glass often will be mixed in a curved formation in the sand, hidden among the plainer deposits.
Sea Glass Makes Unique Personalized Gift!
Found treasures of beach glass have many uses! I sometimes walk the beach close to where I work on my lunch break. I will come back with my little jewels in my hand still coated will sand, and coworkers will muse, “what are you going to do with that junk?” Often, people simply pile the pieces into clear class bowls and display it. Crafty people create jewelry from the glass. An artist in Indiana started a business called Beach Bum Jewelry that sells beautiful items made exclusively from beach glass. I, myself, have adorned picture frames and mirrors with glued on beach glass to create sparkly home decor.
Lively Bottle – Personalized Gift Sea Glass Can Be Customized With Your Sea Glass Art or Photos.
Here’s a fun idea: Create personalized gifts sea glass with a custom water bottle and a photo of your beach glass. Go to Lively Bottle and see how easy it is to upload a photo, add text if you’d like, and create water bottle personalized gifts sea glass to carry with you. Maybe you want to have a photo of a beach or a beach house that you like to visit or maybe you just want a photo with your hand holding especially beautiful groupings of beach glass. With every sip of hydration you take, your water bottle will remind you of the water on the beach where waves carried in your found treasure. Beach combing is an art and Lively Bottles are a great find for displaying art like beautiful precious found beach glass.
Personalized Gift Sea Glass From Lively Bottle Will Go Everywhere With You!
Lively Bottle offers unique personalized custom water bottles that can help give all of the above. Create personalized gifts sea glass in just a few minutes by adding a picture or two, and a name or message. We will print your design beautifully, and make your insulated, BPA-free, dishwasher-safe and leak-proof water bottle. Our custom water bottles always include free shipping and are made in USA. Our water bottles hold 19 ounces, and keep cold drinks cold and are perfect for coffee, too. And they fit in a bike cage, cup holder, and backpack.
Lively Bottle – Easy To Customize, Memorable, And Eco-Friendly.
Want to see how easy it is to customize personalized gifts sea glass water bottle? Check out this quick video to learn more.
Start your design today! Personalized gifts sea glass will so impress the special people in your life they’ll be thanking you all year long!