Being that I live in the desert my time when I am able to hunt is a very small window. I visit my home in RI anywhere from once every year and a half to every few years. During this time you will find me hunting almost every day. Depending on where you are looking sea glass can be quite hard to find. I am from one of the most heavily visited areas in New England. That being said finding quality pieces is like looking for needles in a haystack.
|My sea glass stash|
If you live in a tourist area look for “secret spots” ones that won’t be as frequented. While I am all for sharing and generally a very open person I keep my “secret spots” to myself. I have searched twenty coastal regions in the matter of a week and found only one or two pieces so my spots are sacred to me.
Try to find an area with open ocean that gets big waves. Rocky beaches hold the glass better then sandy ones that can pull the glass right back out to sea. However you are also more apt to find many broken pieces due to them hitting against the rocks. Old glass shops, and dumps near the ocean can be a great place to find. Closed areas such as bays are much less likely to have quality glass. Remember the waves and the sand are what weather and soften the edges of the glass so if the water is relatively still your glass won’t be as high quality.
|Some of my rarer colors|
Gather everything that doesn't have sharp edges. Many pieces I pick up are not jewelry quality. I do not like to alter the glass. Only 5% of the glass I find is acceptable for use in my jewelry. However I hold onto all of it. You can use the lower quality pieces for mosaics or other projects. You can also sell it to other artists.
Hunting really is an art form. Many places you would think would be great for hunting turn up nothing. Get used to spending many hours looking and not finding. Glass hunting has become quite popular so older pieces are much more difficult to find. But it makes it that much more exciting when you find a piece.
|Some of my more common jewelry quality pieces|
Watch the tides come in and out. The wetness from the water can reveal the sparkle of glass causing it to stand out among the rocks.
Once home try to identify your glass using a guide. Glass can be much like antiques. Red, yellow and orange are hardest to find. Next turquoise, teal, aqua, cobalt, black (which is usually very dark green or brown when held to the light), purple and pink. Brown, green and white are easiest to find. However different shades are harder to find then others.
Black glass can be hard to find because it looks just like stone amongst other rocks. It can date all the way back to the 1600's! Since one of it's many uses was in preservation some pieces can be quite thick.
|Black glass - see how you can see the side facing the light has a green tint and the other has amber? Without light shining through these pieces look jet black.|
On occasion you might be lucky enough to find other goodies like pottery, china, or marbles. I never buy sea glass. For me the hunt is part of the art. It is important to me to be able to say to the client, " I personally found this piece and there is a story to go along with it." I can also guarantee that it is not imitation glass and is indeed the real thing. I believe my pieces carry my energy, the excitement of finding the piece as well as my love for my home and nature.
|My coveted sea glass marble|