When we lived in New Zealand last year, the kids and I spent hours scouring the shore for sea glass. The kids loved the adventure of it! We became interested in the different coloured glass, and where it might have come from. Below is a little story behind one of the pieces we found.
On a walk at the beach yesterday, my daughter found a piece of blue sea glass, and it has definite vertical ridges. We researched this morning and found it was most probably from a poison bottle typically made in the 1870s to 1930s. It was fascinating and my daughter was thrilled at the discovery. Due to wide illiteracy during that time period, accidental poisons were common, and so poison bottles were made with vibrant colours (e.g. cobalt blue) and textures to help users identify them. My daughter (9) went on to draw and tell me a story about what could have happened to that particular bottle. It all started with a walk along the beach.
If you’re wondering about the rarity of different colours of sea glass, this chart is really helpful. I can’t find the source for this image, but I’m still trying to track it down so I can get more information.
How long does it take to form sea glass?
Up to decades. So that’s pretty cool to think about. More interesting info about the process here. Sea glass is sometimes called mermaid tears. There could be an entire story made-up about that!
Below are some of the sea glass colours we have found so far. Lots of different colours!
Collecting sea glass is a lovely family activity, and it’s generated a lot of conversation and learning for us. Love that.