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Hunting Sea Glass Is A Fun And Cheap Activity for All Family Members

Updated on April 21, 2012
Sample of Our 1 Hour Adventure
Sample of Our 1 Hour Adventure | Source
Beach near Cannery Row in Monterey Bay, CA
Beach near Cannery Row in Monterey Bay, CA | Source
A marker700 Cannery row, Monterey, CA -
700 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 93940, USA
get directions

Sea Glass Is Magical

When people go to beaches, they typically find seashells, miniature crabs, ocean smelly seaweeds, tumbled pebbles and trash. On our recent visit to this little beach near Cannery Row in Monterey Bay, I thought it was the typical search for small smooth rocks or small seashells. I could not believe that in the 15 minutes I watched my children relaxed on the rocks, every visitor eventually bent down to pick up something. I was curious because I have visited Santa Monica Beach and have observed a lot of tourists. I could not say that many have bent over to pick up anything at all, just children scooping wet sand. Same goes for Venice Beach. So, I sent my children to satisfy my curiosity. To my surprise, there were bountiful amount of sea glass, in which I have always taken an interest since I have seen so many jewelry at craft festivals such as the Sawdust Festival near Laguna Beach Oxnard's Strawberry Festival.

What is Sea Glass? I think it is obvious that the name defines what it is: glass found in the sea and ocean that is swept up onto the shores that appears as frosted and smooth shard that has been weathered smooth by the ocean waves onto pebbly beaches. They also are called "beach glass" and "tears of mermaids." What is so ironic about unusual and desirable finds on the beach is that just an hour before we returned to our favorite aquarium, Monterey Bay, of course, and learned about the damages mankind has contributed negatively with our pollutions into the oceans and how nature can adapt to our litters. Yet, here this sea glass obviously was man made and yet, despite mankind's pollution, they are now a precious find on some beaches. Sea glass is the except to man-made pollution, it seems, due to its composition from very natural elements such as sand and water. No one knows exactly how long it takes for nature to make sea glass from discarded glass but the guess has been between fifteen to sixty years. Over time, nature tumbled smooth shards of glass which drifts onto the shores and colors them. Orange and red sea glasses are among the rarest as opposed to green, brown and white being the most common.

In the past, it was quite common to throw glass into the ocean. Then, plastic replaced glass. However, there will always be glass in the sea whenever a boat is christened with champagne.

What Can You Do With Sea Glass?

1. Just leave them in a glass jar to admire.

2. Put them in an open wine glass and stick a candle into it.

3. Drill holes and string onto jewelry.

4. Decorate a frame for a picture or a mirror.

Word of Caution for Children Hunting Sea Glass

We did not expect it to be so much fun, and the conditions at the beach has to be just right because we do not see sea glass at our local Santa Monica or Venice beaches. However, as a mother, it is so important for your children to wear shoes on beaches where sea glass is found. Sea glass can very easily wash ashore with glass that is not so finished. Or, a "finished" sea glass could have hit a hard rock and split. Then, you will have a shard with a sharp edge again no different than someone who broke a beer bottle and kicked the pieces from a pier onto the shores. Secondly, with any true hunt, bring a proper container to hold your treasures. I noticed that it was very easy for a small child to spill his or her wonderful finds. This may frustrate the child because the child will need to pick the sea glass from the pebbles on the shores. And, if a beach is crowded, it is a little bit competitive picking up sea glass.

We really enjoyed sea glass hunting, and I hope you find some, too. We know what we will be doing the next time we visit Monterey, CA, which will not be too long in the future. It is truly an unusually fun and inexpensive activity for the entire family.

Have You Hunted for Sea Glass?

Have You Hunted for Sea Glass?

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Do You Know A Great Beach To Find Sea Glass?

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    • formosangirl profile image

      formosangirl 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Hi Nettraveller, this sounds like people have been throwing glass at that beach where your sister was hurt. There were very few sharp pieces of glass at the Monterey Bay beach, and I noticed that they were broken sea glass. I can see why because the waves can be very powerful and there are some big rocks where sea glass can be carried and smashed.

    • nettraveller profile image

      nettraveller 5 years ago from USA

      You brought back memories for me too. Our family used to go to the beach often when I was growing up, and we did find pieces of smooth glass there. I thought they were beautiful, but never actively collected them. Once my sister was cut with a sharp piece of glass while in the water. It was pretty bad, she had to have four or five stitches. It was on her shin, right under the knee, not on the sole of her foot, as you would expect. She must have knelt on it, or have been pushed by a wave.

      The beaches we went to were all sandy, not pebbly, and there was plenty of smooth sea glass there.

      Thanks for the memories!

    • formosangirl profile image

      formosangirl 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thanks, Jollyjump. We all learn about different topics growing up. Fortunately, I spent a lot of time at craft festivals to notice the beautiful frosted glass incorporated into jewelry, and I have always been a coastal person. If someone lives land-bound, it is less likely to be an every day topic or a topic in a life-time. That's why I love the internet. We can all be more cosmopolitan.

    • jollyjump profile image

      jollyjump 5 years ago from Columbus, GA

      Great Hub! You learn something new everyday. Never even heard of sea glass until I read this hub. Thanks

    • formosangirl profile image

      formosangirl 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thanks, Earthy Mother, for your comment. I never thought to find sea glass until that day.

    • Earthy Mother profile image

      Earthy Mother 5 years ago from South East England

      I enjoyed this reminded me of my days as a child on the beach. Making a mental note to remember to call the sea glass 'mermaid tears' to my kids it. Voted up!

    • formosangirl profile image

      formosangirl 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Lee, I will always look for sea glass now. However, the beaches near my home are entirely sandy beaches versus this beach I visited was more a "pebble" beach.

    • formosangirl profile image

      formosangirl 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Teaches12345, in the time I was hunting, I found at least 2 sea glass that were broken, exposing very sharp edges. I also found a glass shard that washed up and was not sea glass yet. So, in this area, it was pretty safe, but my kids kept their shoes on. Glad you enjoyed the topic.

    • lee custodio profile image

      lee custodio 5 years ago

      i adore sea glass! every time i go on an adventure by the beach, i make it a point to look for 'em. I store them in a jar. great hub!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      They are beautiful and I would love to do this if I get over that way. The label "mermaid tears" is so appropriate for these small treasures. Is it safer to wear shoes when you hunt for this glass? Enjoyed your topic much.