My Obsession with the Hunt for Sea Glass
I love to hunt on our Ventura beach for sea glass. Today I will be sharing a few tips and answering the common question, “what is sea glass?”.
One of my favorite things about hunting for sea glass is the sound of the tumbling rocks in the surf. It is the siren song that sea glass is near!
It’s true. I am totally obsessed with sea glass. And when we bought our house at Ventura Beach we had no idea there was a lot of it on our beach. In fact, I walked the beaches regularly for two years and never noticed it!
Every time we come to the beach I always manage to find time to hunt for glass.
Whenever we are at the beach in Ventura, glass hunting is one of my favorite thing to do! I love enjoying long walks on the beach while looking for glass!
In my defense, it’s not like this beautiful glass is just sitting in the sand waiting to be picked up. Instead, it rests in the rocks because it is so light it won’t stay on the beach unless it gets caught on something.
On a very rare occasion if a piece of glass is at the very top of the wave it might be left in the sand. But usually, the next wave takes it back to the sea.
What is Sea Glass?
For those of you wondering what sea glass is, Wikipedia defines it as “naturally produced and genuine sea glass originates as pieces of glass from broken bottles, broken tableware, or even shipwrecks, which are rolled and tumbled in the ocean for years until all of their edges are rounded off, and the slickness of the glass has been worn to a frosted appearance”.
The photo above is part of my collection in the window of our beach house.
You can buy manufactured “sea” glass at some craft stores, but this type is just glass tumbled in a large tumbler. It’s not the real thing. It’s still pretty though!
I like sea glass that is tumbled naturally in the ocean a lot better.
Where Does Sea Glass Come From?
The common colors are green, brown, and white and are still in wide use today. Rarer colors such as aqua, cobalt blue, red and yellow are pieces that in many cases the color has not been made or used for many years.
The green glass comes from beer bottles, wine bottles, and soda bottles. White or clear glass comes from a ton of sources such as bottles, glasses, and windows.
The brown glass comes from beer and whiskey bottles and other popular household products.
Aqua or seafoam green (which happens to be my favorite color) comes from coca-cola bottles, some liquor bottles, and window glass.
Cobalt blue comes from Milk of Magnesia bottles, many household bottles, and very old poison bottles.
The very rare red glass comes from Anchor Hocking glass, ship lights, car lights, and old bottles.
About four years ago I was walking on the beach and I noticed some women on the beach who were hunting for something in the rocks. When I asked them what they were collecting I about died! I could not believe there was beautiful colored glass on the beaches right in front of our house. I have been a collector ever since.
Below are two photos of the glass I collected on one walk on the beach. My walk usually lasts a few hours and I spend a lot more time collecting than I do walking.
This was my “best haul ever”.
My tips for collecting sea glass are to look for small rocks, about the size of a quarter. Try to go at low tide. If you can hunt after a storm or large waves you will find more sea glass. Wear shoes so you can spread the rocks with your feet. And most importantly, have fun.
Everybody also asks me what I do with the sea glass after I collect it. For now, I sort it by color and put it in these awesome vintage jars. I need to start looking for more jars because they are almost all full!
This is what I call my “reject jar” which makes no sense since the red and yellow are by far the rarest of the sea glass I own. But they don’t match the color scheme of our home so I keep them well hidden. Haha.
I also have used my sea glass in these ball jar solar-powered lanterns. I filled each one with about an inch of glass.
And then I hung them above a table I set on the beach.
I love how magical the sea glass looked and the fact some of it had been collected that day was in the jars!
Someday I would like to try to make some sea glass jewelry. I love this sterling silver bezel wrapped jewelry you can find on Etsy.
Photo by LitaSeaGlassJewekry.
Does anybody know how to make this bezel jewelry? Is it hard to do? Because I am dying to learn!
I also want to make a sea glass Christmas tree this year. Every time I see one on Pinterest I make a promise that I will make one!
Of course, I should probably buy one on Amazon instead! Isn’t the tree pictured below just wonderful? Last Christmas they were sold out everywhere! Click on the photo below to see this Christmas tree priced under $25.00.
Sea Glass Christmas Tree
Best Sea Glass Beaches
- Glass Beach, Fort Bragg, California
- Seaham Beach, Seaham, England
- Davenport Beach, Davenport, California
- Headlands Beach State Park, Mentor, Ohio
- Monhegan Island, Lincoln County, Maine
- Souris Beach, Prince Edward Island, Canada
- Hamburg Beach, Hamburg, New York
- Simmons Island, Kenosha, Wisconsin
- Queens Beach Park, Scarborough, Australia
- Parque Colon (Colon Park), Aguadilla, Puerto Rico
My Sea Glass Cake
Last summer I had so much fun and made a Sea Glass Decorated Angel Food Cake!
Isn’t this just so much fun? Of course, the “glass” is edible. It’s sugar!
Inspired by the Sea!
Pin the image below to your Collecting or Summer decor boards on Pinterest (just click the Pin button in the top left corner). You can also follow along with me on Pinterest!
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Here in Hawaii sea glass of every color can be found on the beach…brown, green and white are most prevalent. Local friends make different styles of jewelry…all beautiful.
You have the creative talent to make unique sea glass jewelry…anticipating the reveal!
I will continue to collect and enjoy the mosaic pieces…have even found glass with Japanese characters and other identifying marks…wonderful treasures!
Oh wow, that is so special. I really want to go to Hawaii now just to see what you are talking about! I will have to see these beautiful pieces of sea glass pieces you have described.
My Mom & I have been collecting sea glass for years (Mass/NH sea coast). I just used some of my stash to make a birdbath (grouted sea glass in a flower pot dish…super cute!)
I have a reject jar too😂!!
Wow what a good idea!
I am going to the beach in a few weeks and I will be looking for sea glass. Yours is beautiful and I love the way you have them displayed in the vintage jars.
That is so exciting, I hope you enjoy your time!
I too have an obsession with sea glass and collect if I see it. Once, my husband and I went on a cruise and one of the ports was TurKs and Caicos. I found a ton of it washed up on the beach. So beautiful!
Oh that sounds like a dream!
Love, love this article. We moved from Florida (where we have lived for over 40+ years to North Carolina and never thought about looking for “sea glass” when at the beach. Generally we were finding the conch shells instead. What beautiful and exquisite pieces.
Thank you for sharing and above all the history of each colour.
Blessings to you and your family.
It is definitely something to keep an eye out for!
We used to go every year to glass beach in Mendocino every year! Here the entire beach is just sea glass!! Instead of sand glistening in the sun, it would be a beach of sea glass glistening like jewels. It was magical. After a few years we were like “that’s enough sea glass because we could haul them in bags there were so many! We would even see people bring buckets. Then it got discovered and more tourists started coming. I heard the state recently put a barrier so they could preserve what’s left.
Love this Post! I grew up on the beach in Ventura and always loved collecting treasures! The illuminated jars are fabulous & charming. Thank you so much for sharing😊
Thank you so much. It is such a special place.
Leslie, I loved hearing about your sea glass collections. I collect it too & found a lot on the beach In Barcelona & also Hawaii. My favorite piece I made was covering a clear glass paperweight (that was chipped & had an old business logo on it)all over with green & White Sea glass. It is a beautiful mosaic that catches the sunlight
That sounds so beautiful.
Love your sea glass jars on the line…do you have fairy lights inside the jars? I would love to go sea glass hunting by am rarely around the Ocean….I’ll look on other beaches…very pretty and so fun to decorate with…
They are solar lights! Yes you should, it is so much fun.
Hi, I am also a lover of collecting sea glass. You mentioned you would like to learn how to make sea glass jewellery. There is a free how to on the Kernowcraft website, https://www.kernowcraft.com/jewellery-making-tips/gemstone-setting-advice/ready-made-gemstone-settings-vs-making-your-own-settings
I hope this helps.
I love sea glass but have never found any! Great post! I am sure someday you will be sharing beautiful sea glass jewelry you made with us!
I too love sea glass. I have made necklaces with it by wrapping silver wire around it. Wish I could show you a photo. It turned out great. I have sold a few of them too. I would also love to make a windchime out of sea glass. I love all of your posts. We like to do alot of the same kind of things. It is fun finding a kindred spirit on line.
When my daughter was a teenager, she wanted a mirror surrounded by our sea glass+shell collection!! It was such a fun project and turned out beautifully!! I purchased an oval mirror, and glued it onto a piece of wood. Then we added the sea glass+shells. Then we applied the grout! It was exactly what my daughter had envisioned! 😁
I am fascinated with sea glass and enjoyed what you wrote about it so much. Your collection in the jars is beautiful. The few times I was on a beach in Florida I didn’t know to look for sea glass. I certainly will now.
Oh thank you so much Rachel!
Hi – just recently “found” you and will be following your many posts – love them. Became a beach glass junkie during the pandemic because I live 10 minutes away from one of the ten beaches you listed above (Hamburg Beach – which I love the props but not the added beach glass hunters!). It so easily becomes an obsession, doesn’t it! I made mobiles for each of my family members to remind them of their Lake Erie roots. So many DIYs to do with the glass! For those who say they never thought to look, the weird thing is, beach glass is not found on all beaches. I spend my winters in southwest Fl and never find glass there – it’s all about the tides I guess – don’t really understand it, you’d think with all the cruise ships there would be an abundance of glass. I am told the Great Lakes have a lot bc of the days when so much industry was conducted via the Great Lakes. One more thing and I will stop – I have been lucky enough to actually find five marbles so far – I believe only one, MAYBE two, are really from old old bottles, but for those of us who enjoy the thrill of the hunt, there is nothing like the ecstasy of finding a marble!!!!!
It does become an obsession! Welcome to the blog! I am so glad you’re here.