A Guide to: SEA GLASS

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One of my favorite pastimes is beachcombing, specifically searching for seaSM Spring glass. Over the years, I have accumulated quite a bit! One rainy day, I figured what else to do but spread out all of my sea glass and see what I had?

First, I separated by color, then shades of each color. With my handy-dandy identification cards, I found that some of my pieces were quite rare. The following is all of my treasure (to date) accompanied with fun facts!

Common

Kelly-Green

Sources: BOTTLES 90%, TABLEWARE 10%
Peak Production Periods: 1930s-TODAY
Finding Ratio: 1 in 3

Most green pieces that you will find today are from recent soda and beer bottles.

3Clear-Opaque

Sources: BOTTLES 75%, TABLEWARE 20%, & OTHER FORMS 5%
Peak Production Period: 1915-TODAY
Finding Ratio: 2 in 3

In late 1800s, clear glass was widely produced for bottles; but their color often reverted back to a soft lavender when exposed to sunlight. A large amount of clear glass was used for medicine bottles during the Civil War era.

3Brown

Sources: BOTTLES 99%
Peak Production Period: 1870-TODAY
Finding Ratio: 1 in 2

Amber & Golden Amber are uncommon colors. I simply did not have the energy to sort the shades of brown.

Uncommon

Sea Foam

Sources: BOTTLES 99%, INSULATORS 1%
Peak Production Period: 1890s-1920s
Finding Ratio: 1 in 50+

Soft green glass was often used for beer, baking powder, & Coca-Cola bottles. In the early 1920s, companies switched to clear glass with the influx of automated bottle machines.

3Forest-Green

Sources: BOTTLES 99%
Peak Production Periods: 1700s-1900s
Finding Ratio: 1 in 50

Forest green shards are typically from old wine or mineral water bottles.

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Jade

Sources: BOTTLES 75%, TABLEWARE 25%
Peak Production Period: 1860s-TODAY
Finding Ratio: 1 in 25

Similar to forest green, wine and mineral water bottles are often made out of jade colored glass.

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Lime Green

Sources: BOTTLES 95%, TABLEWARE 5%
Peak Production Period: 1950s-1970s
Finding Ratio: 1 in 50

If you have found a shard of lime green sea glass, odds are that it came from a soda bottle in the 1960s-70s such as Fresca, 7Up, or Sprite. Although less likely, it could also be from Depression-glass tableware which were lined with uranium. A good way to check: the lime glass glows under a black light, it contains uranium.

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Soft-Blue

Sources: BOTTLES 90%, WINDOWS 5%, TABLEWARE 3%, INSULATORS 2%
Peak Production Period: 1880s-1930s
Finding Ratio: 1 in 50+

Soft blue glass was prevalently used for soda bottles, beer bottles, fruit jars, and medical containers. Also, windows, windshields, and other glass objects are known to present a light blue hue. Some popular soda brands continue to use this glass.

Rare

Amestyst

Sources: BOTTLES 85%, TABLEWARE 15%
Peak Production Period: 1880-1915
Finding Ratio: 1 in 250

Most purple sea glass that you see was actually intended to be clear.
The presence of manganese and exposure to sunlight reacted in the beautiful tint that you see here. The intensity of the purple hue is relative to the amount of manganese.

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Pink

Sources: TABLEWARE 60%, BOTTLES 40%
Peak Production Period: 1915-1950
Finding Ratio: 1 in 1,000

As you can see, I have only ever found ONE. What a treasure!
Pink glass was also intended to be clear; selenium and sunlight altered the color. The majority of pieces are from Depression-glass tableware. The magenta shards are much rarer, often from perfume bottles or vases.

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Cornflower-Blue

Sources: BOTTLES 80%, TABLEWARE 20%
Peak Production Period: 1920s-1950s
Finding Ratio: 1 in 500

The majority of sea glass in this color is from Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia bottles.

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Cobalt-Blue

Sources: BOTTLES 98%, VASES/ART GLASS 2%
Peak Production Period: 1880s-1950s
Finding Ratio: 1 in 250

In the early stages of peak production, cobalt blue glass was used for medicine & poison bottles. Later, companies such as Bromo-Seltzer, Vicks, and Noxzema started using the color for their products.

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Citron

Sources: BOTTLES 99%, DECORATIVE TABLEWARE 1%
Peak Production Period: 1870s-1920s
Finding Ratio: 1 in 250

In its peak production period, citron colored glass was used for olive/cooking oils and fruit jars. Today, some wineries still bottle their product using this glass.

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White

Sources: TABLEWARE 50%, JARS 30%, CANNING JAR LIDS 15%, VASES/ART GLASS 5%
Peak Production Period: 1890s-1950s
Finding Ratio: 1 in 250

While most opaque pieces are from tableware such as coffee mugs and plates, some are from old cosmetic containers, marmalade jars, or the lids to old Mason jars.

Extremely Rare

Yellow

Sources: TABLEWARE 80%, ART GLASS 10%, STAINED GLASS 10%, BOTTLES/MARBLES <1%
Peak Production Period: 1930s-1960s
Finding Ratio: 1 in 3,500

Yellow glass tableware was prevalent during the Depression era. Vaseline glass is more rare; produced until 1940, typically for decorative pieces, and contains 2% uranium. Vaseline glass glows a neon yellow color under a black light.

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Red

Sources: WARNING LIGHTS 30%, TABLEWARE 30%, BOTTLES 20%, STAINED GLASS 10%, VASES/ART GLASS 10%, MARBLES <1%
Peak Production Period: 1930s-1950s
Finding Ratio: 1 in 5,000

In the late 1800s red glass was widely used in making Victorian lamps & stained-glass windows. By the early 1900s, production spread into the automobile, railroad, and marine industries. Towards the end of the peak production period, Anchor Hocking mass produced red bottles which are a deep crimson color.

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Teal

Sources: BOTTLES 95%, SPECIALTY GLASS 5%
Peak Production Period: 1870s-1910s
Finding Ratio: 1 in 2,000

Teal glass was mainly used for baking powder, mineral water, citrate, ink, wine, and hot sauce bottles.

Interesting FindsTableware-PotteryBottlesCoolfinds.jpgThe yellow marbles seen in the photo above are SUPER RARE!!
I have also found bricks, lobster traps, buoys, glass globes… I have never found any jewelry or money, but I
have picked up lots of trash 🙁 

Comment below and let me know what YOU have found on beachcombing excursions; I would love to know!

3All of the information was provided to me by Sea Glass Publishing identification cards.Source.jpg3authorSMblonde vs books header blue and green big

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5 Comments

  1. Vivienne Higgins

    Thankyou for a fantastic article. I love collecting& have some beautiful treasures, too. This was so interesting; the origin of all my bits of broken bottles& pieces of glass has always intrigued me. Thankyou.x

  2. abigailsbooks32

    I’ve only found one piece of sea glass and it’s white. I’ve never really looked though I just happened to find it. It may be common but it holds a special place in my heart. I think your collection is so cool!!! It’s really awesome that you have such rare ones too! Sea glass is so beautiful! I would like to collect more! 🙂 <3 <3

    1. blondevsbooks

      That is so cool! Cherish that piece, it is a part of history! It has taken me a loooong time to collect all of this sea glass.

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