What is Sea Glass or Beach Glass

What Is Sea Glass?

Worn by waves, recycled by the sea, our tag line for over 30 years tells you really what sea glass is all about. A product of both nature and man. A Reverse Gem©. Bottles, jars and glass carelessly discarded are tumbled by the ocean to form these colorful gems of the shore. These lovely collectible beach gems are vanishing due to plastics and recycling.

It's not "Just Glass......It's Sea Glass"!

 "Sea Glass is the reverse gem"©. Traditional gems (diamonds, rubies, emeralds) are made by nature and refined by man. Sea glass is originally made by man (bottles and jars) but refined by nature to become smooth frosty beach found gems, or simply said, "Man Made, Nature Refined"!

Sea glass begins as bottles & glass that get tossed on the shore, broken, and then tumbled smooth by the waves and currents. Nature acts like a big rock tumbler recycling our pollution!

It can take 7-20 years in a constant surf environment for sea glass to "become" sea glass. A quality piece of sea glass has no shiny spots, is well frosted and has smooth tactile edges. See Our Valuing Page for more Info on sea glass quality.

By The Sea Jewelry has been educating consumers about sea glass for 30 years. This page and it's contents were even used in a book considered the Jewelry makers bible Jewelry Making Through History

PLEASE NOTE the tag lines "Worn by waves, recycled by the sea, sea glass is a product of both nature and man." and Sea Glass is reverse gem"© as well as this entire page are protected under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and use of this content are prohibited by law.

From Bottle to Shard to Sea Glass

Green bottle on beach that will become sea glass

These diminishing beach gems are becoming harder to find as glass is no longer used as it was in the past. Before the mid 1960’s, everything came in glass bottles or jars or tin cans. Plastic was still a product of the future and recycling was non existent. In coastal areas and islands, trash collection was also something that would not begin until the area developed.


Before the 1960's and into the past, coastal residents would bury their trash in the sand or simply toss it in the ocean (thinking the sea was this vast indestructible entity).

Today we know and act differently. With the advent of recycling and the wide use of plastic for beverages, sea glass is becoming increasingly harder to find.

It can take 7-10 years in a constant surf environment for sea glass to "become" sea glass. A quality piece of sea glass has no shiny spots, is well frosted (see Frost In Sea Glass Glossary) and has smooth tactile edges. The sources for sea glass are finite.

Green genuine or real sea glass piecesOlder colors of sea glass like blue, red and aqua are becoming smaller and smaller as they continue to age and break down. See our Colors of Sea Glass for more info.

Called many things, sea glass, beach glass, mermaids tears, ocean glass, trash glass, it is all beautiful and fun to collect. Glass from the ocean is called sea glass. Glass from fresh water sources is called Beach Glass.

Sea glass is collected the world over. It truly resembles a gem and cannot be reproduced by artificial means. The frost and pitting of Genuine Sea Glass is how you tell it was made by nature.

Artificial or man made sea glass seldom has the qualities or real, natural or genuine sea glass.

For more info on how to tell real sea glass from artificial or craft sea glass, see our page Genuine Sea Glass - How To Tell The Difference Between Real & Fake

By The Sea Jewelry pledges to use only Genuine Sea Glass that we certify to include the most in depth assessment of each sea glass pieces value and rarity and location found.

Be assured that when you shop with By The Sea Jewelry, you will be purchasing


Use code BEACH24 and save 10% today on any jewelry purchase.


Linda on beach in Seaham England hunting sea glassWhere do you find sea glass?

Wherever you find people and water you will more than likely find these sea glass gems! Walking along the shoreline, beach combing look among the pebbles, shells and other flotsam. This is where you can find these lovely frosted beach jewels. Beach Glass can be found on rivers, ocean shorelines and bays. The more current or wave action, the more likely that you are to find smooth top quality sea glass.

Higher water PH means that glass will age (become smoother) faster and the rockier and rougher the beach, the better sea glass will age.

Our collections include sea glass from The Outer Banks of North Carolina, Puerto Rico, Seaham England, Maine, Massachusetts Canada and Hawaii. We have sea glass from just about every continent of the world.

Each beach can be totally different so ask around. We have found that 2 - 3 days after an onshore strong wind was a good time on the Outer Banks. Waves pushed up pebbles and shells and as their force lessened, large pebble beds yielded sea glass.

If you are visiting or new to an area, ask the locals on the beach, many will be happy to help you.

For more information on sea glass locations, crafts, display ideas and more, please join us at Seaglasslovers  A new sea glass site dedicated to sea glass collectors featuring many areas to share your love of sea glass.

Sea Glass Lovers - Join Our 34,000 Members Today!
SGL members is the worlds Original Online Sea Glass Community for collectors.
Display Ideas, Craft Ideas, Shard Identification, Online Chat and more!

Or Visit Our Sea Glass Blog at for weekly articles on sea glass collecting, sea glass jewelry, collecting locations and much MORE!

Types Of Sea Glass

Sea glass comes in many many shapes and sizes.

There are many different kinds of Sea Glass from "Rounds" (the bottom of bottles) to patterned glass or embossed that still retails some of it's original origin (Glass imprinted with name brands patterns etc.) to one of my favorites, campfire glass (glass that has been melted in a fire and then worn smooth by the ocean).

There are Bubbles (perfectly round pieces), boulders (huge lumps of sea glass), Tops (tops of bottles sometimes found intact) and many more including but not limited to.

Stoppers - From Apothecary Bottles and 57 Steak Sauce.

Marbles - Children's toys before the age of batteries. Also used in stray paint cans and rumored to be used as ballast in ships

Any glass product that has EVER been made by man, is a potential source for sea glass.

For more information on sea glass terminology and other sea glass types, see our Sea Glass Glossary Page.


PLEASE NOTE - Sorry, By The Sea Jewelry does NOT provide sea glass appraisals or certification to third parties due to time limitations.