Thursday, January 29, 2009

Rare Red Sea Glass - Beach Combed Seaglass

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Red sea glass. It is said to be the most coveted of the many sea glass colors. Where does it come from? Why is it so rare? And can it be found any more? At left: A rare handful of smooth, rare red gems. Photo copyright: Mary Beth Beuke.

After years of studying the thousands of pieces in our own, rare collection and after interviewing and seeing hundreds of other collector's compliations from across the globe, it's a proven fact that red is one of the most difficult colors of sea glass to find. It's been said to take a lifetime of hunting to find just one piece. At right: A Pacific Ocean red on a rocky beach right where I found it at low tide. Copyright: Mary Beth Beuke

The reason why we have more than just a couple pieces in our collection is because ours is an older collection from decades of searching that was done long before the recent popularity of sea glass. Today such quantities and and quality is unheard of.

Why is red sea glass so rare? One reason is that red glass was not a common color in glass blowing. The additives needed to make the reds and orange glass colors were expensive and difficult to come by 100 years ago. In fact, bright red glass was never really mass produced in bottle form ever in the US. Many pieces that we have originated from such obscure items as pre-1950's car tail lights or boat signal lights. Below: Rare red on coral and lava - Ka Lae, Hawaii - copyright: Mary Beth Beuke

There is a section of the Pacific Ocean that is so infamous for it's hundreds of shipwrecks between the 1,700's and mid 1,900's that it is called the Pacific Ocean Graveyard. Hundreds of pieces that we've gathered come from these very beaches. Above: A rare marine "hurricane distress lamp" from the mid 1800's. From a Vancouver, Island Canada shipwreck site. Photo copyright: West Sea Co.

For More About Red Sea Glass: Click Here

For More About Sea Glass Color Rarity: Click Here





9 comments:

bloo said...

Okay. This might sound silly, but I think another reason that red sea glass is more difficult to find is due to it's mineral composition. Have you ever noticed how flotsam & jetsam washes up on certain "lines" on the beach? The lightest material washes up on the highest tide line... the foam, seaweeds, small driftwood, etc. The heavier the flotsam & jetsam, the lower the tideline it comes to rest on.

Beach glass and agates usually wash up on the lower high tide line. In my neck of the woods, the lower high tide line is usually 5' - 20' below the uppermost high tide line, depending on the tides.

I thoroughly believe that red sea glass is heavier than other colors of glass. Could it be because of the gold content? This could make it more difficult to find because it doesn't wash up with the usual whites/browns/greens. Instead, it sinks in the sand or in the piles of rocks.

I've only found a few pieces of red, ever. They were all found closer to low tide, just peaking out of the sand & rocks.

I'm curious what you think... do you think that is a possibility?

Glass Bottles said...

Wow that is really beautiful. I don't think I have ever found any red sea glass before. I will have to keep an eye out for it next time I go to the beach.

Anonymous said...

I have found 2 Pcs on the coast of Maine, but very small, Its probably true about 1 in 5000 you will find one.. Im a head of the game then!

Joanne said...

just the other day i came back from key west where i found a bunch of sea glass when i came home i was sorting through it and came upon a very small piece of RED SEA GLASS!

Lia said...

I live next to the River Thames in London and we find heaps of red and blue.
Been collecting for nearly 45yrs and never ever found a black piece.

We find all the colours in the rainbow, but never black, now to me that is far and above the rarest colour, but I think it is about where on the planet you live

Susan Richardson said...

I found my first piece of red seaglass today! It looked brown from above, then when I lifted it, it looked purple. I wet it & held it to the sun and it's a deep ruby red. Gorgeous1 And big. It's about the size of a dime.

I found a deep teal piece for the first time today as well - it was an exciting day of glass hunting! My husband found a bright purple piece in the same place last weekend. All these pieces are top grade and fairly good-sized.

Never thought I'd find a red one, though!

Anonymous said...

i live out by san fran and found 1 piece of red sea glass the first time i went out wich was last week. i found hundreds of green brown and whites, only 10 blue pieces, but only the 1 red piece. i was soooo exited when i found it. its only about half the size of a dime tho but it shines a beautiful ruby red!

Kompozit said...

very useful story i will add this into my blog, well done my friend.

Anonymous said...

Two weeks ago I found 2 reds (different shades), a black, 3 orange, a pale yellow, 2 blues, also a blue with a design in it.

Today I went out and found 2 reds, a citron, handful of different shades of blue, a teal, 6 aquamarines and 2 orange.

I was truly amazed that I found all these different colors. Previous to these two days, I had gone out during last summer a few times and besides the common green, white and brown, I only found a few blues and a orange one with a design in it.