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SEQUIM, Wash. -- Sequim's Mary Beth Beuke is well known to sea glass seekers. She's the author of 'The Ultimate Guide to Sea Glass'. Today she's searching with Lindsay Furber and Teresa Crecelius, friends who help turn this glass into custom jewelry at West Coast Sea Glass.
The beach they're walking along today is known for abundant sea glass; about a century ago, residents dumped their garbage nearby. Sea glass is vanishing, because we treat our beaches better now.
"Humans also aren't throwing their garbage away on the beach like they used to," said Beuke, "And people are picking up garbage and picking up glass."
Beuke has been collecting since she was a child -- and her stash is so extensive, she travels to museums and libraries with it. Rare reds, cobalt blues, aquas, even chunks made with uranium dioxide, which glows under a black light, fill her workshop. The appeal of each piece is the same:
"The ocean has taken something sharp and jagged and rough and unwanted and turned it into something beautiful and smooth, and that's pretty cool. And every piece has been on it's own journey, and each piece is unique."
This collector has been on her own journey -- writing and editing her book -- while undergoing chemotherapy and radiation to battle colon cancer.
"It was nice to have the book happening in the middle of that, because it was something positive, during a pretty difficult thing to go through," she said.
Today, they're so busy filling orders and making jewelry, beach walks like this are actually pretty rare for the West Coast Sea Glass crew.
I love my job, it's not always sitting on the beach with an umbrella drink in my hand like most people think," said Beuke.
"Most of it's on the computer and working with stores and doing online sales, a lot of education."
Whenever they can get out and collect these vanishing bits of history, it's a good day at the office.