My Obsession with the Hunt for Sea Glass

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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.

Make it Pretty

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.

How to find the best Sea Glass

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.

Sea Glass at Ventura Beach
Can you see the aqua piece of sea glass laying on top of the rocks?

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.

My sea glass finds at Ventura Beach

This was my “best haul ever”.

sea glass

Collecting Tips

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!

Sea Glass in Jars

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.

Extra sea glass

I also have used my sea glass in these ball jar solar-powered lanterns. I filled each one with about an inch of glass.

Solar ball jars with sea glass
Solar ball jars with sea glass 2

And then I hung them above a table I set on the beach. 

Dinner on thee beach in Ventura

I love how magical the sea glass looked and the fact some of it had been collected that day was in the jars!

Dinner on the beach with solar lanterns

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.

sea glass jewelry

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

  1. Glass Beach,  Fort Bragg, California
  2. Seaham Beach, Seaham, England
  3. Davenport Beach, Davenport, California
  4. Headlands Beach State Park, Mentor, Ohio
  5. Monhegan Island, Lincoln County, Maine
  6. Souris Beach, Prince Edward Island, Canada
  7. Hamburg Beach, Hamburg, New York
  8. Simmons Island, Kenosha, Wisconsin
  9. Queens Beach Park, Scarborough, Australia
  10. Parque Colon (Colon Park), Aguadilla, Puerto Rico

My Sea Glass Cake

Sea Glass angel Food Cake Recipe

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!

How to Collect Sea Glass

For more real-time updates, follow me on Instagram @My100YearOldHome

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  1. I grew up going to the beach . My grandma lived there. Every other weekend. I was young and I too fell in love with the beautiful sea rocks. I still have my collection . When my husband and I go to the beach I’m always on the hunt for new beautiful pieces. Fun!

  2. How timely! Yesterday, my sister and I, went to Matagorda Beach (about 60 miles south of Galveston, Texas). She knows I collect sea glass so as we strolled along the beach, she helped me find about 6 pieces. She found the brown ones, and I was elated to find green pieces. My collection is small, but growing! I love your display idea!

  3. I know you wrote this just for me! I just have 1 tiny jar of mixed colors but collecting sea glass has moved up to a high priority for me and I’m going to use all your tips for sure! Didn’t think about wearing shoes!

    Maybe I’ll come down your way and join you some time ???? Thanks Leslie!

    1. I was recently in Barbados and my favourite thing to do at the beach there is collect sea glass! There is so much of it near Holetown at the beach that my husband and I banned ourselves to just pick up pieces that presented themselves as we walked along the water. I brought home over 6 lbs!
      I found several shades of green and brown, two shades of aqua and some cobalt blue!!
      Lisa from Ontario, Canada

      1. That is so great, and what great memories. I love hearing that you have the same love I do for sea glass collecting!!

  4. Living in the mid-west I can only find sea glass when vacationing. I started collecting it about five years ago and only have a half Mason jar filled. I have sea glass mainly from the Caribbean and a few pieces from Florida. Your pieces are beautiful!

  5. You should look for the children’s book The Story of the Sea Glass by Anne Wescott Dodd. You will love it!

  6. I love your collection of sea glass and putting them in the solar lights was brilliant!!! That table on the beach looks dreamy. I’m going to start looking for sea glass on my next trip to Aptos.

  7. Love the idea with string lights with the mason jars. We just returned from a week on the coast of Maine and my 6 year old was obsessed with all the sea glass she collected. I’m trying to figure out what we can do with it – thanks for the idea!

  8. I live in Camarillo and enjoy walking on the beach at the end of Pierpont about 3 times per week. I usually park around Sharron Street. I’d love to meet up for a hunt.

  9. I too am obsessed with sea glass hunting. And I also live in Ventura. We have probably run into each other. It’s like a treasure hunt, and very peaceful and zen like. I had neck surgery that sidelined me, but I am ready to go again. Just returned from a trip to Italy and ended up on a beach full of the perfect sized rock, and brought home a nice bag of seaglass ! I love to imagine the history behind these jewels

  10. I love this! We just bought a house in oxnard on silver strand and I’ve been obsessing with finding sea glass every weekend! I love it!!

  11. I also love sea glass and by chance I make jewelry. Silver bezels take some skill to make but an alternative to that is making jewelry using a stained glass method. Supplies for this are easy to get at Michael’s or from online vendors. You really only need a soldering iron, solder, and some copper tape. My favorite book for this is “Pretty Little Things” by Sally Jean Alexander in case you’re interested but there are other books also.

  12. I love sea glass. My family takes a vacation every year to Galveston and we always look for seashells. Now I must add sea glass to that! What a fun thing to do. Your table of Mason jars filled with sea glass is exquisite! I can just imagine sipping wine underneath your beautiful sea glass lights and watching the sun set!

  13. I love sea glass too, especially the light green shades! I only get to the beach about once a year and have not been successful at finding any! But, I’ve never looked among the rocks!! Thank you for the tips … I will keep trying! Your collection is so beautiful!! I love how the power of the ocean has turned rough and jagged shards into smooth transparent beauties … magical and inspiring!

  14. I can see there are many who share Leslie’s love of sea glass, and me too. That beach that Leslie is on is a good one, not so many people. Also a beach off Texas coast called Port Aransas
    is good for sea glass, one time even a sand dollar came up between my toes as the wave went out, dreamy.

  15. I always love your sea glass videos. I have to run down to your beach soon at low tide. It’s rare for us to get the gravel here in Morro Bay. Thanks!!!

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