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Sea glass, those beautifully sea and sand tumbled bits of glass from old bottles and pottery are now getting harder and harder to find according to an article in this month's issue of the National Geographic magazine. Why? We have now shifted to plastic bottles and glass is also increasingly recycled. Mary Beth Beuke, the president of the North American Sea Glass Association, says "We're now at the end of the sea glass window. Much of the glass consigned to the waves decades ago is tumbled so tiny it's almost not worth picking up."

If you're lucky enough to live near the sea and wish to collect sea glass, her tips include searching at low tide (now that is a no-brainer!) and after a storm where the heavy wave action may have dislodged more material. Rocky shores will also yield more sea glass than sandy beaches.

I have to disagree with her about small glass pieces. They could be still be used in jewelry making perhaps in resin jewelry or attached to metal clay silver designs. If you've made any jewelry made up of tiny, unwrappable sea glass be sure to send me an email!

Wire Wrapped Sea Glass Pendants by daniboi1977 on Flickr.

Past Posts
Sea Glass Jewelry : History in the Sand
Uncommon Sea Glass from the Beach
The Beading Gem's Journal
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  1. Well sounds to me like there's a big market opening up for handmade "sea glass", don't you think? Or are people already doing that?

  2. You are absolutely correct! People do mechanically tumble broken glass pieces. But they won't be quite the same as real sea glass.

  3. We live near the beach and nothing is more relaxing than sitting in the warm sand and picking through the pebbles for beach glass. I have a jar of it in my kitchen window and I love it when the light shines through it!

  4. You're very lucky Cindy - I never seem to find any when I walk the shores. Must be going to the wrong beaches!

  5. Hello Sea Glass Collectors and Artists,
    It's Mary Beth here. I'm the gal that the writer of this article quoted.

    When I referred to the small pieces, what you don't know is that when we describe the small pieces, they are literally the size of sand grains.

    On a recent trip along Hawaii's most famous beaches, it is common to fine pieces so well-tumbled that they are smaller than the size of a head of a pin.

    To be sure, I pick up anything that's visible to the human eye.

    Thanks for the fresh discussion.
    -MB, West Coast Sea Glass

  6. My family has been going to a place on the Rhode Island shore for 50 years and I would concur with the opinion that glass is getting harder to find. We often "seed" the beach with bottles to try and increase the amount of glass but this has limited success.

    The amount of plastic is huge and easily fills a garbage bag if we take the time to pick it up. We have a legacy collection of sea glass that fills lamps and glass containers around the house. This is a reminder of the unexpected consequence of natural recycling that takes place on the beach.

  7. We have over 200lbs of sea glass in only one summer. I would say that half of it is going back into the sea as it needs to be tumbled some more. But we have found red pieces, very old thick black pieces, milk glass, bottle toppers and on it goes. The only colour we are missing is orange. Our pieces run from small nuggets to large pieces (too big for jewelry). My boyfriend and I are hooked. We are heading out this weekend in search of more even if we have to dig through the snow by the shore.

  8. Wow what a collection! That's dedication if you are doing this in winter!


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