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 have always wanted to hunt for sea glass!! Love the information & pictures. You have a beautiful collection. I live near Waco, Tx.
    Christie A.
    Mexia, Tx

  2. Can you only find sea glass at the ocean’s edge ? Can you find it on the Great Lakes of Michigan? I live 5 minutes from the lake.

    1. Hi
      I grew up in Hawaii( first found it there)
      Live in Southern California.
      Love glassing.
      When I travel I always check for places to glass. To my surprise, on a trip to chicago, stayed in Evanston. Lots of wonderful glass there!! Buried under all the smoth rocks. file:///var/mobile/Library/SMS/Attachments/67/07/D7680033-75A5-4A75-AF1C-CA89613DC309/IMG_1360.JPG

      Found this on two afternoons.
      So fun!

    2. Denise,
      My family and I own property in the U.P. near Lake Superior. I love hunting for sea glass there and have gotten my husband and daughters on board too. I agree with Leslie’s tips, even for the Great Lakes. Happy hunting!

    3. Lots of people find beach glass along the shores of the Great Lakes – I’d suggest you join one of the MANY sea glass groups such as “Seaglasslovers” on Facebook. One you join, you can search for your location in the comments!

  3. What a great share! I love sea glass! I’ve never found any though. I live in Palm Beach so I will be looking for some soon, hopefully! With you tips and tricks I will find some for sure!

  4. I just came across your Sea Glass Story. After reading it I felt as if I was on that Ventura Beach walking right beside you. My Heart filled with Joy as I imagined looking down and seeing a beautiful piece of sea glass. I started collecting in January while in Hawaii. How sad it is to try to find some sea glass on Oahu. There is a reef all around Waikiki so very little washes up on shore. I did find enough for a small bottle. It was so much fun I read all that I can about it. The hunt for a sea glass treasure is such a fun adventure.

  5. Hi why don’t check out the videos about seaham seaglass in the north east of england I am sure you will find them very interesting.

  6. I’m obsessed with sea glass too! I’ve found some pretty pieces in Ventura! I absolutely love the lanterns you made! What a magical table!
    I don’t bezel but I do make jewelry and other items from the glass I find. 💕🧜‍♀️

  7. I have also heard that sea glass was used in barrels on large ships before equalizers were invented. They would dump the glass in the sea as they loaded Goods to keep the ships balanced. Not sure how true this is but it is a fun story. Regardless, sea glass is beautiful and I know where to look next time I am at the beach. We visit Savannah and Tybee Island often and will start looking for sea glass there.

  8. Sea glass is a special hidden treasure on the beach. Those and sand dollars, I feel like I hit the lottery when I find them. I live in South Eastern Massachusetts, mid way between Boston and Cape Cod. Lots of beaches nearby. We have had a stormy winter this year with another one on the way tomorrow into Friday. Looking forward to some warmer weather to get to beach before the summer crowds. Sea Glass is also called Mermaid’s Tears around here 💗 probably everywhere but wanted to share that as I like the name. Happy Hunting Leslie and everyone!

    1. Oh I love that name Siobhan! Thank you for sharing. Every time I head out onto the beach, it is a surprise whether I will find it or not. Sometimes there are rocks and sea glass and other times, there is not. So it is truly a hunt each time!Stay warm!

  9. I’m sure we must’ve met on the beach at some point, well probably not as both of our heads are down looking for glass as we walk. I’m also at Pierpont obsessed with collecting seaglass. My collection is overfilling my house at this point. 🙂
    Great blog. Thanks for sharing the love! Are you on social media, I can share my collection with you.

  10. Love this post! My house in Austin has very cool sea glass (aqua) colored chandelier lights for each side of the master bed. I’m searching for bedding and a rug to coordinate with it. I may have found a new hobby (for when I’m at the beach :)). I’ll live through you in the meantime!

  11. I love all the education you gave about sea glass! I wish I lived near the sea, I’d be out hunting for treasure everyday! The Christmas trees are so pretty, I may or may not be ordering one! 😉 On Etsy, check out the Dreamcatcher stand up glass display window by beachglassvisions. Such a beautiful way to display sea glass!

  12. Every time I drive from my Morro Bay home South past Pierpoint I say I’m going to stop and hunt for sea glass and you! One of these days I will. I had a great couple of days last winter right here though which was so exciting!

  13. Thank you for sharing. I have always called sea glass – Mermaid’s Tears. I also look for glass fishing floats when beachcombing.

  14. Love the sea glass cake Leslie! Have been going to the Pierpont beaches for years but never looked there sea glass. On the shores of Port Arkansas off Texas coast, I have sat near the waters edge and have had sand dollars come up through my toes, wiggled..a dreamy sort of feeling. Love love the beach.

  15. I think I might have to copy all you ladies… I love this idea, I love the ocean; living in Colorado, I don’t get to see it much.. going to SC in September, thank you for the idea of my new hobby.😁💚👍

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