My children loved finding sea glass treasures. It is something they could find at various bodies of water. It is a fun treasure hunt to do with children of any age.
Photo: Ama Strachan
Where does sea glass come from? Sea glass, also called ocean or beach glass, is made of scraps of bottles and glass shards which have been shaped over many years by sand and ocean waves. Beach, sea and ocean glass have one thing in common, they have spent time in a body of water.
You can find sea glass along the shores of waterways. It is washed up along the shoreline. The glass is eroded into smooth, frosted shapes after being tumbled and sanded through natural processes. The glass comes from fresh and salt water bodies. For example, the Great Lakes provide a variety of beautiful glass, as well as the oceans and seas.
The glass is often frosted looking from tumbling and pounding against the rocks and sand in the water. The glass can be many centuries old to a modern piece of glass. It varies from small beads to large chunks. Some people call the frosted glass sea glass and non-frosted glass beach glass.
The glass can come from china, window panes, glass insulators, glass bottles, marbles, glass float pieces from fishing nets, and many other sources of glass. Its important to note where you find your unique pieces. You can use a map to mark the spot where you found your glass treasures. Different bodies of water provide different types of sea glass.
Photo: Carmen Boggs-Park
Glass is originally made out of sand. Sand is melted, then formed into glass that gets made into everything from windows to bottles. Erosion is a process where rocks and other minerals, like glass, get worn by the action of small particles of grit, water and wind. In some ways it resembles how sandpaper can be used to smooth wood or other materials.
Sea glass originally comes from discarded human glass. Much of it has been dumped in the shallow water near the shore. As the ocean currents take the glass in its wave motion, it's broken into shards and eventually turned into sea glass. These ocean currents eventually bring the glass back to the beaches where they can be collected.
Collecting sea glass is a fun, life long activity.