By Melissa Iozzo, Technical Specialist
During these hazy summer days who can think of a better way to spend the afternoon than perusing along a beach shore? It’s long been the eco friendly environmentalist’s standpoint to “take only pictures, leave only footprints”; but here’s a way to help cleanup the beaches, by taking something beautiful for yourself!!
For as long as man’s been around we’ve consumed product, and from that product consumption we’ve produced garbage. Long ago it was quite common practice, and only made sense to throw our garbage in the ocean. The world seemed a much bigger place then – and not too many people were concerned with the future of our beach shores! Today you can find remnants of days long ago on just about any beach you may wander upon - in the trash!! You just have to look hard enough.
Ew you say? No way – I’m talking about sea glass! Years ago (and still today, unfortunately) tons of glass was disposed of in the ocean. Remember there wasn’t plastic back then – so everything from soda and beer, to fancy perfumes, to medicines and Clorox bleach was sold in glass containers. For years these bottles get tumbled in the ocean, smoothed and rounded over sands and rocks, traveling for miles. The salty sea water leaches out lime and soda from the glass, leaving it with a salty, or “frosted” smooth surface.
If you go for a walk – check the sands for these treasures! Common colors to find are the browns, greens, and clears. That’s because these were the colors of soda and beer bottles, which there were many of. Less common colors such as cobalts, whites, purples, and yellows most likely came from expensive lamps, perfumes, and medicines – these are a rare find! Rarest of all are the reds, or “rubies” of the oceans – which are believe to come from only the most expensive of perfumes, reserved for the elite upper class.
So next time you are on the beach – stop and look down. Not only will you be helping “clean” the beaches, but you may be able to take home a little piece of history – beautiful in it’s self!
Got a huge collection at home? Learn more at http://www.seaglassassociation.org/