Finding bits of colored glass on the beach has been a popular activity for kids and adults for decades. Sea glass, beach glass, mermaid tears or lucky glass, most beach goers don't even look for these little beauties. Sea shells are much easier to spot, but once you begin to notice the water etched gems of colored glass, you'll be hooked!
The edges of the bits of
sea glass are worn smooth by the waves and sand and the colors are
amazing. Some paler colors, such as light purple, seem to turn white
in the sun, but the vibrant reds and golds are turned to fire when
light streams through them.
The brown sea-glass
pieces are the most common and easiest to find, but if you keep
an eye out you'll soon start to notice the rainbow of green, blue, and yellow light catchers
that the sea has created and deposited on the beach for you to find.
Beach glass is getting rarer as the world turns to plastic for bottles and storage containers. Car manufacturers have changed the covers of lights from glass to plastic that ended one source of the rare red bits of sea glass.
Ecology-minded citizens now toss their glass into recycling bins and wouldn't think of adding glass pieces to a lake or ocean. Some collectors warn that in thirty years there won't be many places to find sea glass while you walk the beach. To fill the demand for sea glass jewelry and decorations, some makers have begun manufacturing artificial beach glass that is created after weeks of processing inside a rock tumbler!
Beach glass collectors find many uses for these softly crafted bits of color. Some create mosaics and jewelry while others just display their collections in a spot where light can bring out the colors....
More about sea glass around the Web:
Sea glass - Wikipedia - Discover a great overview with lots of photos of prize specimens along with information on how it is formed, a discussion on artificial sea glass, and related resources.
What began life as a public dump north of Mendocino, California
has turned into one of the best places to find beach glass. When
the dumping stopped, around thirty years ago, the ocean took over
and created a gem center of the first order out of all the glass
that had been thrown away.
Beach Sand - Not all of the colorful rocks on beaches originated as glass. Some natural mineral deposits form glasslike rocks that are as colorful and fun to collect as sea glass. This selection of pictures from beaches around the world shows many of the results of water smoothing rocks and glass into gems.