Sea Glass Definitions and Terminology

Sea Glass, Terminology, Seaglass Information, What is Sea Glass, West Coast Sea Glass, Beach Glass, Pacific Sea Glass, California, Mermaid Tears

Sea Glass and Beach Glass Definitions
The popularity of sea glass has grown exponentially over past decades. That growth has inspired us to compile the details of studies of many collections from around the globe. Thank you to the ocean lovers and adventurers wide and far who have provided info, stats and who've encouraged our studies over the years. We've learned that there's a lot to know and love about sea glass. Let's start with accurate and descriptive terminology.

What is Sea Glass?:
Sea glass is glass that is found along a sea or shoreline. Sea glass is fragments, shards, and remnants of glass pieces that, for a variety of different reasons, has ended up naturally tumbling along a shore or beach. How did glass end up on beaches? Humans around the world have been discarding refuse glass; tableware, bottles, window panes, dishes, etc. into oceans, lakes, from ships and onto beachside landfills for hundreds of years.

Sea Glass Definitions, What is Sea Glass, What is Seaglass, Beach Glass, Mermaid Tears, Real Sea Glass, Fake Sea Glass, Genuine Seaglass, Pacific Sea Glass, Blue Sea Glass
                    Pharmaceutical bottle piece

True sea glass is glass that was historically discarded into, or made its way to the sea long ago and as a result has had its surfaces tumbled, frosted and conditioned by the elements of water, winds, tides and natural shoreline pebbles and sands. Want to find some yourself? For more accurate info on how to find original, natural sea glass click here: Where and How to Find Sea Glass

You may have noticed another, compound spelling for Sea Glass as Seaglass. This spelling is not the correct, official spelling of sea glass, however it is very widely used. There is no word seaglass in the English dictionaries. This alternate spelling has come about for a few reasons. With the rise of the internet and phraseology, folks often omit spaces between words.

Sea Glass Colors, Seaglass colors, Rainbow Sea Glass, Beach Glass, Color Rarity, Color, Blue sea glass, red seaglass
        A rainbow of  genuine sea glass colors.

For example the hashtag #seaglass is used most often for sea glass because the term #sea glass doesn't populate a search accurately online when separated by a space. Sea glass is the correct, descriptive term to describe glass from the sea.

Volcanic "Sea Glass"
I have been studying sea glass for a lifetime and just recently have heard of volcanic glass being termed "sea glass". Recently MIT (yes, the university) put out info about a geological study on the Earth's inner core temperatures. Research is currently being done to measure heat and the historical chemical processes of underSEA volcanoes. The study names "lava that erupted in the ocean and was instantly chilled by the surrounding water into a pristine, preserved form" as "erupted sea glass". This glass made from underwater volcanoes from temperatures usually over 1,300 Celcius, should not be confused with historic tableware, dishes, and cups type beach glass and sea glass. See: Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth

West Coast Sea Glass, Pacific Seaglass, Genuine Sea Glass, Blue Seaglass, Beach Glass
            Rare, Pacific turquoise sea glass!

Beach Glass:
This phrase is used most often to describe glass found along lakes and non "sea" locations but that still has washed up on a beach. The phrase beach glass is the most common word used to distinguish sea glass from lake glass. Note that sea glass is often called beach glass interchangeably since sea glass is found on beaches. But not all beach glass is sea glass because not all beach glass was found along a seashore. This is a terminology distinction that is important to some.

The Color "Sea Glass":
Over the past couple years, we have noticed the phrase sea glass attributed to a type of color. Is sea glass a color? True sea glass is found in every color of the rainbow but for some reason, the color "sea glass" or "seaglass" has been used to describe many shades of blues. Several cosmetics companies offer "sea glass" eye shadow - which turns out is a turquoisey blue shade.

sea glass, seaglass, beach glass, sea glass colors, colours, west coast sea glass
                              What color is sea glass?

Just within the past couple years, the Axalta Coating Systems, a company that manufactures coatings for motor vehicles introduced an automotive color Sea Glass (notice the 2-word spelling) "inspired by Nature's waterways and oceans." It is a lovely seafoam color. Wait... What color is seafoam!? The Valspar company also has a soft blue paint color entitled "seaglass". Though sea glass is not an official color, the phrase is very often used to describe a beachy, blues and soft greens color palette.

Mermaid Tears, West Coast Sea Glass, Seaglass, About Sea Glas
           Some mermaid tears along shore 

Mermaid Tears:
The phrase "mermaid tears" originates from a maritime legend which historically tells the tale of the heartsick lovers of long-lost sailors at sea. The pining lovers back on the home shores gaze upon the ocean's horizons. They wait. ... They search ... And they shed tears. The story says that when the tears touch down upon the shore's sands, they immediately turn to beautiful, frosty glass. Today many romantics will call sea glass "mermaid tears". Be sure to inquire if they know about the tale. 

Machine Tumbled Glass:
With the popularity of real sea glass has come a desire by some to create products that look like or resemble real sea glass, but are not sea glass. Machine frosted and machine tumbled, acid etched, and mechanically sand blasted glass pieces have speedily made their way into the crafting and decorative markets today. The alluring pieces are beautiful and beachy. Filled inside bowls and vases on window panes, they cast dreamy colors. Some more accurate nomenclature for these not-sea-glass items are: frosted glass, machine tumbled glass, or faux sea glass. Natural sea glass is glass that has been organically conditioned by the sea or body of water.


Get excited, there's more to come! THIS section is under construction....

Cultured Sea Glass: ... I really went back and forth deciding if I should put "cultured" into quotes here. hmmm ...

Crackled sea glass, Crackle Sea Glass, Heated Seaglass, Sea Glass info, Beach Glass, Antique Glass, Red sea glass
Red sea glass that has naturally crackled.

Bonfire Glass: ... Incineration and fire glass etc.

Crackled Sea Glass: versus mid 1900's design, "Crackle Glass" ...

Multi Sea Glass

Slag and "Slag Glass": differentiate ...

"Pirate" Glass: ...

"Dragon" Egg: ...

Other Glass Terminology that helps describe and identify unique glass pieces

Antique Glass: ... Ancient, antique and vintage glass differentiations...

Art Glass: ... 

Art Glass, Sea glass art glass, Sea Glass Multi, Multi Sea Glass, Multi Seaglass, Seaham Sea Glass, Seaham Beach Glass
   Multi colored sea glass - Seaham, England

Bottle Glass: ...

Canes and Rods: ...

Carnival Glass ....

Depression Glass: ...

Iridescent glass ...

Lampwork Glass: ...

Author: Mary Beth Beuke
Mary Beth has been inadvertently studying glass history for the last several decades, especially American glass history, glass blowing and art glass history.. However, her lifelong, Pacific Ocean beach journeys are what really give her a load of very well-rounded, sea glass experience and knowledge. Her Pacific Northwest company, West Coast Sea Glass has been creating wearable sea glass art for over 25 years. The WCSG team, their jewelry and creativity can all be found in over 30 galleries and shops worldwide.

The West Coast Sea Glass collection has also been featured in National Geographic, The Travel Channel, Smithsonian, HGTV, NY Times, BBC Radio, Radio New Zealand, Seattle Times, Coastal Living Magazine, Sunset Magazine, Ocean Home Magazine, Wired and more ....
See her educational book "The Ultimate Guide to Sea Glass" from Skyhorse Publishing, New York, USA.

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