Low and behold come to find out that right here on the beaches of the OC we in fact have it ! All these years of growing up on the beach not clueing into this fabulous treasure find.
Here's a little history on Sea Glass with some additional links to other pages about info and pricing. Quite interesting in fact. ... from glassbeachjewelry.com
Technically speaking, sea and beach glass are different. Sea glass refers to salt water glass and beach glass refers to fresh water glass. The difference is that glass slowly dissolves in salt water, which gives sea glass a satin-like patina, while it does not dissolve in fresh water. This is because the Ph of salt water is different from that of fresh water.
In the old days, and I mean the old days, because sea and beach glass has been around as long as we have had glass, it was said to be "Mermaid Tears". It was said that everytime a sailor drowned at sea, the Mermaids would cry and the sea glass was their tears washing up on the shore.
And that is the where it comes from....just kidding.
Sea and beach glass is found everywhere in the world, because people have discarded glass in the oceans and waterbodies everywhere. It was natural for waterfront communities worldwide to discard their trash in the water because the water carried it away. Landfills were a terrible health hazard in those days, filled with vermin that carried dangerous diseases like the Plague. The world was a much larger place in those days and the population was much smaller. It just made good sense at the time. This practice is still followed in many third world countries.
Everywhere Sea Glass is found, and it is found everywhere, its value is partially determined by its color. This is because only a few items were stored in red, blue, lavender, purple or pink glass containers. Likewise certain rare tints and shades of these popular colors are found.
For instance, very rare Cobalt Blue, the "sapphire" of the beach, came from such apothacary items as Milk of Magnesia, Vick's Vapo Rub, Noxema, Nivea, and Bromo Seltzer bottles, along with some prescription bottles and perfumes
The extremely rare red pieces, or "rubies" of the beach, might come from perfume bottles, the tail lights on old automobiles, lantern and traffic light lenses, or even some types of old beer bottles, like the bottles made by Anchor Hocking for Schlitz Beer in the 1950's.
Pinks, lavenders, purples, lime greens and other rare shades came from things like perfume bottles and art glass. Many lavenders and pinks come from what was originally clear glass that was clarified with magnesium (lavender) or selenium (pink). The glass has to be clarified with these minerals because the sand from which glass is made is actually amber in color. Over time the sun causes the magnesium and selenium to oxidize, creating the lavender and pink colors.
Greens, browns, and aquas come from beer and soda bottles, and nearly every other source, like Clorox Bleach jugs, shampoos, etc.
And sometimes, like in the old town dumps in Fort Bragg, California, the sea glass is also passed through fires and becomes "Fire Glass", the rarest of sea glass, and often has "inclusions" (things inside), just like, or better than, precious gems.
In fact, gemological terms like "inclusions", "clarity", "color", "facets" and "purity" also pertain directly to sea glass, except that inclusions and "impurities" are bad in gemstones and often excellent in sea glass, and a lot of people prefer their sea glass "frosted" instead of clear (unless there are "inclusions") and no one would think of buying a cloudy diamond, except to HIDE an inclusion!
Sea glass goes back in history for as long as man has had glass.
As the raw glass is broken into smaller pieces and slowly polished by the sand as it is rolled around in the surf, it becomes "beach", or "sea" glass:
sea glass of gemstone quality.
The pits in the surface of the glass, giving it its soft feel, come from a process called "hydration", where the soda and lime used in making the glass is leached out of the glass, leaving the small pits. The soda and lime also often react with minerals in the sea water, forming new mineral deposits on the surface that give the glass a "sparkling" appearance.
Most beaches that produce sea glass are open to the sea, so even if the site was originally a town dump, where a lot of material was deposited in one place, like in Fort Bragg until 1967, the glass is drawn off the beach by the sea and distributed up and down the coast by the "longshore currents", making it difficult and rare to find, which explains its normally high cost.
Like precious gems, beach glass is rare and beautiful.
A lot of sea glass is also found on the beaches in the vicinity of old ship anchorages, like in the Chesapeake Bay, because ships also used to discard their refuse over the side.
If you have an old ocean dump site near you, take a stroll on a sunny day and you might find Mermaid Tears glistening in the sun and sand.
Annual Sea Glass Festival over Memorial Day Weekend Fort Bragg
Other Sea Glass Festivals :
If you google "Sea Glass" you will find endless sites for buying, info and more.
Here are some photos of the Sea Glass Harvesting I did in just my first week here in the OC.
Seaside Souvenirs / Collectables >>> http://www.seagypsies.us/collectibles--sea-gypsies-boutique.html
I sell small bottles and vials with tiny pieces for souvenirs and larger bottles and bags for collectors sold in individual packets with single to a variety of pieces for viewing and sharing or jewelry making.
I sell the glass for crafting as well as jewelry making and sell unique pieces made by me, Di by the Sea ~
I find that I can no longer stroll a beach without looking down and around for a gleam or reflection of light. When I find a piece that is not quite ready to harvest I will toss it right back into the sea. It takes many years, decades in fact for pieces to get just the right soft curves, textures and detail. There are pieces as tiny as specs and I've found as a piece the size of a mans wallet. Glass can be from bottles or glass floats and if you are lucky you can find pottery as well, which I have done too ! It's great exercise and fun to play in the waves as they wash up pieces for your quick grabbing. I like to feel that I am also helping to clean up the beaches with removal each time I come home with a filled baggy or two. In meeting other fellow Sea Glass Harvesters on the beaches, I've had discussions with them as to what they do with their Sea Glass finds... some collect, some make art, some sell theirs. Mothers out with their children spending their days on the beaches, the children yell out, I've found a piece, one lucky girl even found a pink piece ! I've found it to be rather enjoyable and addicting !
I will keep you posted on my finds and would love for you to share your experiences with Sea Glass Hunting. If you know of a great beach or two please do share with us.
Happy Treasure Hunting. Di