Where Does My Sea Glass Come From?
Most sea glass is found where there was once a large population of people, close to an ocean or lake, where the glass might have been part of trash that was dumped in the ocean. Ocean dumping was prevalent up until the 1960’s/1970s when environmental and recycling movements began to gain popularity.
Sea glass may also be available in coastal areas where there were hurricanes or shipwrecks, near shipping channels and even close to seaside amusement parks, any locale near the coast where lots of people gathered.
The sea glass gems we use in our jewelry creations are pieces we’ve found by travelling to some of the popular sea glass destinations. Mike and I began our serious sea glass hunting almost 10 years ago when I started my business, Sea Glass Jewelry by Jane.
At present, as you will read about below, many of the places we once searched for sea glass are either off limits or almost empty of it. Today serious sea glass collectors travel to newly discovered sources in Greece, Scotland, Iceland, Spain, Italy and even Russia!
In 2008 we travelled to Bermuda for a “vacation” that quickly turned into the sea glass discovery expedition that launched today’s Sea Glass Jewelry by Jane.
The beaches we’ve visited for sea glass are now very well known. They are Builder’s Beach on the east end in St. George’s and at the opposite end of the island on the west end the former “sea glass beach” of Bermuda, just south of Dockyard.
Sad to say, it is now prohibited to take sea glass from the west end beach and the collecting sea glass in Bermuda has become controversial.
One of the foremost sea glass beaches in the world is in the tiny town of Fort Bragg in Mendocino County, north of San Francisco, California. The creation of its ocean dumpsites began after much of the town burned to the ground in 1906 when the gas lines ruptured as a result of the San Francisco earthquake.
After the fire, debris was bulldozed over the cliffs into the Pacific Ocean and the beach became the town dump. There are actually three former dumpsites along shore in Fort Bragg.
Our first visit to the Fort Bragg glass beach was in 2012 when there was still a good supply of glass. Since then both the the amount of and size of glass has dwindled.
At present, it is forbidden by town ordinance to remove glass from the beach. Although it is sporadically enforced, a fine may be levied if you are caught and you will have to return your sea glass treasures to the beach.
Puerto Rico has been a mecca for the serious sea glass hunter. However it is is no longer easy to find the best sea glass locations. Many are well kept secrets, partly because collecting sea glass and selling it online has become a thriving cottage industry for many local residents who aren’t about to divulge where they collect their sea glass booty.
We have found sea glass in the Capitol of San Juan and on the west coast in and around the Rincon area.
You must do your research before travelling to Puerto Rico for sea glass and it helps immensely if you have a local connection.
Vieques, an island off the east coast of Puerto Rico, also has a well known sea glass beach, Cofi Beach. Vieques can be reached by by flight or ferry from Puerto Rico.
Mike and I love to travel to Hawaii and immediately fell in love with Kauai on our first visit in September of 1992. Only a few days into our trip Kauai was hit by Hurricane Iniki, a Cat 4 storm, the most powerful and destructive ever to strike Hawaii. After 3 days of foraging for food (left over salsa and chips, local eggs cooked on a gas grill and, of course, coconuts) we were evacuated to Honolulu with all the other non Kauai residents. There was no sea glass expedition on that trip!
We’ve returned many times to our favorite Hawaiian island to enjoy its natural wonders and, of course, forage around for a little sea glass. There is a so called “sea glass beach” in an industrial area called Port Allen, on the southwest corner of the island. I’ll bet if we had visited in 1992 we may have found sea glass. But there really is no sea glass left at the Port Allen beach. What’s left now is miniscule, not much larger than a grain of sand and mostly brown and white. Don’t plan your trip to Kauai around glass beach because you will be disappointed.
A less well-known sea glass locale is at the foot of a now capped landfill near the airport. The last time we visited the island we were able to find our way down to the beach several times to collect a bit of sea glass, but it is dangerous to do so now and it appears that the local authorities have built barriers to prevent access.
Our search for sea glass has taken us to Eleuthera and Abaco in the Bahamas, St. Thomas, St. John and St. Martin, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Puerto Vallarta, among others.
These trips have been more vacation oriented but we always seek out the sea glass anyway. Sea glass collecting is all about the thrill of the hunt and the sweet victory of finding an unexpected treasure!
Mike and I are planning an Alaska Cruise this summer and we’re hoping to find some Alaska sea glass (and salmon, of course) along the way!
Nova Scotia And Spain
Like most sea glass jewelers, we supplement our “found” sea glass collections with careful, well researched purchases from a few trusted friends.
We have been long-term customers of a sea glass couple who live and beach comb on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia and they have provided us with beautiful, large, rare pieces from an old dumpsite near their home.
And, most recently, we’ve been purchasing large, frosty sea foam green sea glass from a couple living in the south of Spain.
Authentic Sea Glass Jewelry
What’s important for you to know about our sea glass is that every piece that we use in our sea glass jewelry designs is guaranteed to be authentic, an important consideration when you are making a purchasing decision. I invite you to contact me by phone or email whenever you have a question about your sea glass jewelry purchase!