All About Sea Glass


About Sea Glass:

Sea Glass, also known as beach glass or mermaid tears, is a shard of glass that can be found on just about any coast in the world. The pieces of glass have been smoothed and frosted by years of being tossed and tumbled by the waves of the ocean.

It is most commonly found in pastel shades of blue, green, brown, and white, but you can also find more rare colors such as reds, darker blues, purples, and oranges. Human civilizations began using glass around 3500 B.C., most early civilizations settled near large bodies of water, and when it was discarded it often found its way into oceans. So often it is most often found near areas where large populations dwell.


Fort Bragg Sea GlassThere are some beaches that are known for sea glass, the most popular is Fort Bragg, California, which was previously a dumpsite where glass was left in abundance. Another popular place is Kauai Island in Hawaii, where glass gets trapped in between lava rocks and makes it way to the shore.

There are also several areas of both North and South Carolina that offer a plethora of sea glass in a wide array of colors. The Brunswick Islands, located just south of several industrial shipping ports and shipping offsets, produce a variety of glass. It is often easier to find on more secluded parts of theses beaches and in coves and inlets, which help trap the glass.

In recent years, sea glass has become harder to find as people have started recycling and beaches are putting greater efforts into keeping their shores clean. Also, the increased use of plastic bottles as opposed to glass has contributed to the decrease in sea glass.


Before the 1960s most household products and foods were packaged in glass or tin, although in coastal areas tin would rust. Green glass often came from beer, wine, or soda bottles; Brown glass is now from beer bottles, but also Clorox and other household cleaners were packaged in brown glass years ago. White sea glass often comes from soda bottles or window panes.

You can guess the age of white sea glass by looking for a tint, a light purple shade will be more recent as manganese is added to glass and turns purple with sun exposure, a green shade indicates that the glass is much older.

Sea Glass Rarity Color Guide

Light blue or orange are the rarest colors to find since those colors were not commonly produced to market goods. If you located a piece of aqua-colored sea glass, it is most likely from a Coca-Cola bottle, which used silica. Cobalt blue colors are often from old medicine bottles or poisons.

A piece of red sea glass, is an incredibly rare find. There are only a few producers of red glass, including Anchor for vases or kitchenware, Avon, and Schlitz beer. Orange can be attributed to boat warning lights or traffic warning lights, but not much else.


If you are looking to comb the beaches for sea glass, the best time to do so is an hour before the tide goes out. Also, storms have a tendency to bring up glass out of the ocean so after a large storm is a good time to look along the shores.

You should also look in the areas of wet, damp sand or where the wet sand meets the dry sand. Sea glass is easier to see when it is sunny, because the light will reflect off pieces, so choose a bright day. Walk slowly and closely scan the shore, so you don’t miss any.



Sea glass can be used in jewelry, mosaics, wind chimes, decorations on frames or bookshelves, or just stored in a mason jar.

Here are a few ideas we’ve found:

Sea Glass Clock Sea Glass Christmas Decorations Sea Glass Sea Turtle Sea Glass Monogram Framed
Sea Glass Christmas Tree Sea Glass Wind Chime Decoration Sea Glass Crab Sea Glass Mirror
Sea Glass Ornament Sea Glass Palm Tree Sea Glass Driftwood Sailboat Sea Glass Starfish Hanging

But any use of sea glass will remind you of the tremendous power and history of our oceans.

So get out there are find some sea glass treasures!

If you can’t find any out there, you can purchase locally found and made Sea Glass Jewelry from Islands Art & Bookstore

Article Information from and South Brunswick Magazine. Images from Pinterest.







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  1. Mary Ann McGough says:

    What a great article on sea glass!