What is Sea Glass? Sea glass is a timeless treasure. The journey a piece takes may have begun decades or centuries before it was found. Sea glass starts out as refuse glass that was broken then discarded into the sea, only to find its seeming resting ground in the ocean or upon the shoreline.
At Left; a collection of fabulously frosted blue and shades of green, well frosted bottle pieces. These have each been tumbling for 50 - 80 years in the mighty, rugged Pacific Ocean.
Back to the sea glass. While on it's travels the otherwise sharp glass glass piece is transformed as powerful elements of sand, tide, water & weather buffet the shard over time & terrain. It is transformed during the voyage; sanded, smoothed, hydrated & finally renewed into a gem. After a lifetime of tumbling, the colorful jewel washes up on the shore and waits to be discovered.
The sea glass journey is also one of intrigue, enchantment and sometimes even archeology. The vintage glass may have once been a piece of a colored bottle, vase or even a schooner's lantern glass, washed up after a shipwreck.
Identifying sea glass creates a challenge between history's truths and one's imagination. How far has it traveled? What hands have held it. How long has it been sojourning at sea?
We kayak and beach comb miles of shoreline to find, by hand, these distinct pieces, each with a journey, a captivating history or perhaps a romantic legend to reveal.
Sea glass is being aggressively hunted all over the world by both the casual beach lover and the serious collector. Therefore, it won't be found on our shores forever. With the rapid erosion of our shorelines, many of the planet's oldest and most wonderful pieces are either lost to the depths of the ocean or are awaiting a great storm to stir them beachward.
Time in the elements, constant pounding upon a rocky shore plus long term hydration all play an important role in the conditioning and "frosting" of genuine sea glass.
Not to be confused with tiny pieces of sea glass that we find then drill a hole through, a true sea glass bead is an historic, once-in-a-lifetime find even for serious hunters.
For an in depth look at one of the world's most elaborate collections, The Ultimate Guide to Sea Glass is filled with over 300 pages, 150 photos, stories and journeys all about sea glass.
At left: A rare turquoise blue teardrop shaped sea glass bead. A sea glass bead is considered an uber rare discovery. Sea glass beads were actually glass beads that decades before had adorned a lampshade, hung from a woman's jewelry, or were even used as currency among coastal tribes and journeying seafarers for supplies trade.
Usually older than bottle glass which began washing ashore after bottle industrialization in the early 1900's, beads are likely hand made, one of a kind and sometimes originated from far off lands.
Though West Coast Sea Glass often sells loose sea glass items, we will always hang onto our "museum collection" of sea glass beads.