Guide to Collecting Sea Glass

Sea glass usually began its life as a piece of unwanted trash. A bottle or some other object made of glass somehow found it’s way into a lake or ocean. After being broken, pushed around by waves, scoured by sand and exposed to the sun, it is deposited on beaches as small bits of frosted sea glass.

Collecting sea glass can be done by walking along the beach and keeping a sharp eye out for these small pieces that have been deposited in your path by the waves. Much of the glass to be found once came from clear objects, but the more colorful pieces can be found to.

Ranging in colors from orange to blue to green, the general rule of thumb is that the more vibrant the color of sea glass, the more value it has. Red, orange, and bright yellow seem to be the most rare. Bright blues, purples, and blacks are fairly rare, followed by the lighter colors which are a little more common. The most common are white, green and brown.

Serious collectors have even found a way to grade the quality and shape of sea glass. Based on how frosted the glass is, the smoothness, and the imperfections, the pieces are broken down into jewelry grade A, jewelry grade B, and craft grades A and B.

The best finds are evenly frosted, with no large pits, chips, or other visible defects. The corners on the best jewelry grade glass are smooth, not sharp. Jewelry grade A pieces are great for setting in a wire wrap to be worn as a necklace, or if you are lucky enough to find a matching pair, earrings.

Jewelry grade B can also lend itself to jewelry making, but a few differences need to be pointed out. The frosted look is a must, but the corners in this category tend to be a little sharper, not well defined, but not as smoothed away as grade A. Small dents, pocks, or chips are alright here, as long as the imperfection is only visible from one side of the piece.

Grade A craft sea glass is evenly frosted with not more than one sharp edge. The defects on craft grade glass can be visible from both sides. Good for many craft projects, this glass is still worn enough to have the distinctive tumbled look that makes it easy to identify as sea glass.

The lowest grade of sea glass is craft grade B. Only somewhat frosted, this glass looks as though it has possibly spent less time being thrown about by the waves. Usually there is more than one sharp edge present, and chips or dents may be present. This grade of glass is still excellent to use for mosaics and other craft projects.

Searching for sea glass along a beach can be a wonderfully addictive hobby. Whether you display your finds in a bowl or create something beautiful out of the glass, chances are that once you start collecting, you will find it hard to stop.