We spent a day last week doing nothing but sea glass collecting. It sounds like a waste of time but those of you who love sea glass will appreciate just what a luxury the time spent was. It gave me the peace and quiet to think and just enjoy the deserted beaches during the week and to listen to the gentle lapping of the sea, search amongst the shells, seaweed and pebbles and just be at one with nature.
Today we went to Portelet Bay, enjoyed a delicious wood fired pizza at the newly opened Jersey Woodfired Pizza Company on the beach and afterwards spent a few hours amongst the rocks and along the shoreline. This was our catch for the day including a little rubber crab!
Worn by the waves, recycled by the sea, nature and man at one to make something beautiful. Bottles and glass casually chucked over board, picnics carelessly left discarded on the beach, all end up in the ocean where they get gently tumbled as if in a gigantic washing machine. Later washed up on the shore as smooth, frosted jewels gaining a new lease of life when collected by the fans of sea glass from all around the world.
Due to glass bottles being replaced by plastic along with the advent of recycling, not that I’m saying it’s a bad thing, sea glass is vanishing. That makes your finds even more exciting and a greater challenge in the quest for the best.
Occasionally known as ‘Mermaid glass’, so called as it was said that when a sailor drowned at sea the mermaids would cry and the sea glass was their tears washing up on the shore. It can take around ten years for ordinary glass to become the gems of sea glass, constantly being pounded by the surf and the movement of the currents and tides. The perfect piece should be completely frosted and have smooth edges like a pebble and feel extremely tactile. It can be all shades of green and the rare cobalt blues or pinks are really exciting finds. The most common colours are green, brown and clear, I even picked up a lilac piece last week to my delight.
Another great and rare find was a piece of black sea glass, old glass bottles that had iron slag added to them in production to give them added strength, were often broken and tossed overboard from shipping. The bottles originally carried wine, whiskey and medicines on long oversea journeys and were refilled for the journey back with medicines and local spirits. If you hold the black pieces up to the light the green of the original glass can be seen.
In parts of the world artificial sea glass is being produced and sold but that’s just plain cheating! Genuine sea glass has the qualities of frosting and pitting that cannot be replicated.
Beach combers and collectors have come up with clever ways to display their collections filling decorative jars, jewellery making or creating mosaics with the pieces being set around mirrors and picture frames. Personally I keep mine in a large glass dish covered with a large glass dome to save dusting. I also love photographing sea glass and if you search for Sea glass on Pinterest you will find amazing images, even Jersey Breeze has a board!
So School’s out for summer, get in holiday mode, pack up a picnic, take the family down to the beach and collect sea glass, you too will find it addictive.