What Is Sea Glass?


Rare sea glass and sea glass marbles collected by Lisl Armstrong while she was living in the Caribbean.

What was once considered to be worthless and meant to be forgotten has been transformed by the elements into enchanting treasures. Sea glass is man made glass that was worn smooth in the sea. It can be found in every color of the spectrum and washes up on beaches throughout the world. Most sea glass comes from broken pieces of glass but sea glass can also be found as whole items such as marbles, bottles, and even glass buttons.

Journey To The Sea

Our discarded glass gets to the sea in various ways. Some comes from shipwrecks, some from coastal garbage dumps and some was carried by rivers and streams that empty out into the sea. Some was claimed by the sea during storm surges and tsunamis where over wash drags an assortment of items into the sea.

Transformed By The Elements

Glass starts to change as soon as it is introduced into the environment. Old bottles and pieces of glass that have been buried in the earth for years often show signs of wear and abrasion from having been exposed to the elements. The sharp edges of a broken piece of glass may be worn down a bit as it washes across the terrain during rainstorms. In areas with heavy erosion sharp broken glass will start to loose it's jagged edges. As glass is carried by rivers it tumbles over rocks and is smoothed by sand and soil. You may have noticed a piece of broken glass in the street or on a sidewalk that looks somewhat abraded. Even in the desert glass can be sandblasted smooth by wind and sandstorms. Much of the glass that ends up in the ocean and ultimately becomes sea glass has already started to change before it even gets to the sea.

Once In The Sea 

The sea is in constant motion. Glass is relentlessly sandblasted by the surf and tumbled as it dances on the sea floor and washes over rocks and coral reefs. After decades in the sea it is transformed into frosted gem like treasures.

Colorful Sand

The sea is always in motion. The ocean will wear down glass, rocks, seashells and broken coral etc. into tiny grains of sand. Imagine a beach with beautiful luminous blue, aqua or red sand. Of course there is not enough sea glass for this to happen. Unless collected sea glass will be swept back to sea where it will undergo constant change emerging next time and every time after as a slightly different and smaller piece of sea glass.