Sea glass, which is also known as beach glass, is glass which has been found washed up on beaches. Typically it is glass that was once discarded or somehow found its way into the sea. It could have originally come from any source of glass from windows to jam jars or beer bottles. The glass has been naturally pounded by the waves and rubbed against rocks and sand until it features smooth edges and a frosted appearance.
Sea glass can come in a wide variety of colours, mainly determined by the origin of the glass. However due to the natural processes involved to form it, the shades of the colour can vary greatly depending on the amount of time it has spent in the sea and the amount of sun light it has been exposed to while lying on the beach.
Again depending on the origin of the glass, different colours of sea glass are more common in different parts of the world. However amongst collectors, there are colours which are referred to as common and some very rare shades indeed which are classed as treasured pieces.
The most common colour of beach glass is green. Green glass is generally vibrant in colour and originates from beer bottles. Some green coloured glass is very old and from early green beer bottles while other pieces are more modern in origin from beer bottles that can still be found in shops today. Brown sea glass is also a common colour. Again this colour originates from beer bottles, some of which are very old in origin while others are much more modern.
The next most common colour is clear. Clear sea glass comes for a variety of sources including window panes, soda bottles, glass plates, drinking glasses and juice bottles. Although it is referred to as ‘clear’ you actually can’t see through it due to the frosted appearance of the glass. This is caused by the effect exposure to salt water has on the chemicals used to produce the glass in the first place.
Amber sea glass is the next colour in the rarity spectrum and is a slightly lighter shade of brown than more commonly found brown glass. It originates from old whiskey and other alcohol bottles, along with medicine bottles. The most common way for these kinds of bottles to find themselves in the ocean was for sailors to throw them overboard.
Turquoise beach glass is reasonably rare and, depending on the shade, can also be referred to as aqua in colour. This glass originates from fruit preserve jars, soda bottles and old ink bottles. Rarer still is deep blue or cobalt blue sea glass which comes from old poison bottles. These are much darker in shade and are usually found in very small pieces due to their age and the amount of time they have spent in the ocean.
Then we come onto really rare shades which are prized by many collectors as they are extremely difficult to find. Purple and red glass can be found in very small pieces and the origin of them is completely unknown. Black beach glass is also rare but is believed to come from old alcohol bottles that pre-date 1800. Although this colour is rare to find due to its age, it’s also difficult to find as it’s hard to pick out from the surrounding dark pebbles on the beach, especially if the pebbles are wet.