Glass Of The Sea

Zoe PayneBlog Post8 Comments

seaglass collection in our hands

If only the seaglass we find could tell us a story…

Where has it come from? Where was it made? What did it used to be? We’ll never know the answer to these questions and I think that’s what makes it magical, it’s full of history and untold stories.

Like shells, but harder to find; finding a piece of seaglass is like a gift from the ocean, tumbled by nature. Looking for it is like a treasure hunt, and can get quite competitive in our family.

What is sea glass?

Worn by waves, recycled by the sea, sea glass is a product of both nature and man.

Sea glass begins as bottles, jars and glass discarded into the sea, it’s then tumbled smooth by the waves and currents to form colourful gems.

It can take 7-10 years in a constant surf environment for sea glass to “become” sea glass. A quality piece of sea glass has no shiny spots, is well frosted and has smooth tactile edges.

Seaglass is becoming a scarce treasure because we no longer dump our rubbish into the sea (at least not as much) because plastics have replaced a lot of what used to be made of glass so there is less of it out there.

Where can you find sea glass?

Coarse and stony beaches are the best and where there is constant wave movement. Avid sea glass collectors have their own ideas about the best sea glass beaches; and understandably they’re not always keen to share the best beaches with everyone!

Seaham beach on the North Sea coast in County Durham is one of the best in the world. Until 1921, Seaham boasted the largest glass-bottle works in Britain. John Candlish’s Londonderry Bottle Company had six glasshouses at Seaham. At the end of the day, any discarded and waste glass was dumped into the North Sea.

After many years of ‘surf tumbling’ the glass is washed up on Seaham beaches with every tide.
The beaches at Lyme Regis are also a great beach to find sea glass. The coarse, stony beaches in combination with the rough Atlantic swells, have created ideal conditions for the creation of sea glass.

Iona, on the west coast of Scotland is another great place to find sea glass. As are the beaches around Pentewan, south Cornwall.

I have personally found sea glass in North Devon including Barricane and Ilfracombe beaches. St Ives in Cornwall and Gurnard Shankin beaches on the Isle of Wight.

Types of sea glass

Clear sea glass is the most common, greens and browns follow soon after. I love the aqua and light blues but these are little trickier to find.
Teals, pinks, yellows and greys are all very rare and can be hard to find.

The most prized colours of sea glass are orange and red. I’ve never seen orange sea glass but I have been lucky enough to find one red piece. It’s like a ruby.

Things to keep in mind when sea glass hunting

Some tips I’ve learnt along the way:

1. Tide: Always go at the lowest tide possible
2. Look for Gravel: Seaglass sorts itself with other grains of the same size
3. Storms: Visit beaches after a big swell or storm, you never know what can show up!

If you have any sea glass hunting tips and you’d like to share them; please do in the comments below

Click here for some of my Jewellery that is made using Sea Glass

Zoe x

8 Comments on “Glass Of The Sea”

  1. Yes you are using word for word content from my site. Please remove. THANKS
    From our page https://bytheseajewelry.com/what-is-sea-glass-or-beach-glass/

    “Worn by waves, recycled by the sea, sea glass is a product of both nature and man.

    Sea glass begins as bottles, jars and glass discarded into the sea, it’s then tumbled smooth by the waves and currents to form colourful gems.

    It can take 7-10 years in a constant surf environment for sea glass to “become” sea glass. A quality piece of sea glass has no shiny spots, is well frosted and has smooth tactile edges.”

  2. Does anyone know of any good beaches in Norfolk for sea glass. My daughter is obsessed but we live in Northamptonshire so couldn’t be any further away from any beach if we tried.

    1. Hi Helen.
      I have successfully found sea glass at Heacham beach, Cromer and Sheringham beaches. I like in Norfolk so do go quite often! Hope this helps, happy hunting

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