What is sea glass? Where and how can I find seaglass? These are often asked beach glass questions. It has become clearly evident to us as lifelong collectors that less glass is left along our shores to be picked up. This factor, paired with more and more fervent collectors, sea glass will likely continue to dwindle on many of the Earth's shores.
There are several reasons why the hunt is so important to the seeker. Some find their Zen moments in the solitude and beauty of the hunt. Some collect to add color to their life. The history, mystery and discovery is also a strong force that draws the collector. Refining the searching experience itself is part of the allure and the journey for each individual seeker.
Whatever your reasons, the sea glass collecting window is closing as pieces are becoming more elusive. Here's why.
- Glass bottle production has slowed greatly since the 1970's.
- Humans aren't throwing their trash into the ocean as much.
- Recycling of glassware is much more practiced today than even ten years ago.
- The rising of sea levels has left much of what was dumped buried deeper in the oceans.
- The mass popularity of sea glass has been growing over the past 20 years.
What factors influence a positive sea glass hunt?
1. Find an area where historic settlement has occurred. This will increase your chances of finding older pieces that ended up there when coastal dumping was allowed.
2. Check the tide charts before you go and try to get to your location at low tide
3. Locations that are further north on the planet are known for more dramatic tides. Find a beach that has good tide fluctuations in height. This moves glass nicely and smooths the edges over time.
4. If possible, head out after a storm or high winds. High winds and rougher seas tend to churn up pieces that are buried offshore beneath the surface.
5. Head to a shore that has rocky or pebbly patches. These kinds of beaches and rock washes have proven to "catch" sea glass better than wide, vast open beaches.
6. Your chances of finding sea glass will increase if you go to a beach that isn't always teeming with tourists and hunters who amass collections.
7. Locations that have a history of marine traffic and that are along major marine stops tend to avail more pieces.
8. Make sure you watch the weather report and dress accordingly and wear comfy shoes that do well on sand or slippery rocks.
9. Bring something to carry your sea glass in (if you don't put it in your pockets) and always try to pick up any garbage that you see along the way too.
Enjoy the providence that seems to ebb and flow as you seek.
One hundred percent of the West Coast Sea Glass collection is hand picked from many shores around the world by us and a couple of friends over our lifetimes. Keep in mind that for many, sea glass collecting is a challenge that's defined over sometimes decades of combined seasons and years of hunting. We've covered countless beach miles by foot and kayak.
Further thoughts and tips. Take care. Be sure to respect the discovery and solitude of the adventure. Make a point of staying sensitive to local beach guidelines and laws. Remember many communities have private property laws and it is wise to show care to the locals who live and work along the shoreline. Educate yourself about the environment and care for the earth. Be aware of shoreline restoration projects, wildlife habitats, property lines and tide lines. And remember that much like how a fisherman feels about his favorite fishin' spot, a favorite sea glass hunting beach can be like holy ground to some.
Further tips and research can be found in the really awesome book, "THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO SEA GLASS" by Mary Beth Beuke
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