Gems of the Sea: The Best of my Sea Glass Collection from the Shores of Nova Scotia
To start, I would like to discuss the wonderful tension that exists in my category choice for this hub. I have put it in the subcategory Rock, Mineral, and Gem Collecting. It is with tongue in cheek that I refer to sea glass as gems of the sea, but it still rings true in a sense. There are some who use sea glass to create pieces of jewelry, after all. This, however, is an aspect of this rewarding hobby in which I do not take part. For me, the joy of collecting and showcasing provides me sufficient fulfillment. I guess you could say that sea glass is a kind of rock too. After all, glass does come from a type of stone. The sea certainly treats them like stones; casting them upon the shore with the other pebbles and even giving them the same shape as their geological contemporaries. My conclusion would be that sea glass, although it is neither, falls somewhere between rock and gem.
How do I Choose my Favorites?
Selecting the very best of my collection of hundreds is admittedly a simple process, but it can be very difficult as well. I take two main things into consideration during the selection process: shape and color. In my opinion, the surface of the best sea glass is smooth and smoky-colored, covered with minuscule crevices. I prefer pieces that, in shape, most resemble the stones with which they lie. I consider it a real treat when I find a flawless thumb-sized nugget of sea glass.
Color can sometimes trump shape. If it is a particularly rare color like red or teal, I will make an exception if there is a significant flaw. Flaws are very apparent as the chips they are caused by leave a shiny scar that shows up very clearly amongst the otherwise murky and opaque surface. I will show examples of such flaws that have made their way into my top 12 pieces of sea glass.
So, without further ado and in no particular order, here are my favorite 12 pieces of sea glass collected by me on the shores of Southern Nova Scotia.
This emerald green piece is one of the first pieces to achieve favorite status. Emerald green falls under the category of the most common colors, along with white and brown, but this piece is absolutely perfect. It has no apparent flaws and its thick shape is exactly what I like to see when I am looking for sea glass.
This honey-colored piece was a very lucky find. Although it is not an extremely rare color, it is still highly uncommon. I was in a particularly rocky area where I do not usually look for sea glass and then it just sort of appeared out of nowhere. To date, I have never found another piece like it. It is one of the two largest of my collection. Pieces this large are quite difficult to find as they typically show up very few and far between in places covered with stones of roughly the same size. I consider this to be a crowning jewel amongst even my very best specimens.
Here I reveal a major flaw on the flip-side. However, this does little to discourage me. The rest of the surface is almost perfect. The size, shape, and color also do a great deal to counter my disappointment at discovering this obvious flaw. In fact, I find such flaws charming in a way. I consider sea glass a metaphor for the beauty of the ocean, but also her unrestrained strength and violence.
I found this amethyst piece with the same stroke of luck that I found the honey piece. I can not remember which one I found first, but I will always remember it as the best day of my sea glass collecting career (perhaps with the exception of the first time I found an oh-so-coveted cherry red piece). I shudder at the memory of how I almost missed this one, at first mistaking it for an ordinary stone. Amethyst is not quite as rare as honey, but it is a highly coveted color. It can, however, be unfortunately difficult to spot as it is not a very bold color and easily fades into the grey that surrounds it. Like the honey piece, this one also has a flaw. However, it was too small to register on my camera. As with the honey piece, the piece itself is so fabulous that the flaw does little to work against its personal value to me.
If pale amethyst has a bad habit of blending in with its grey surroundings, then grey sea glass has it much worse. Luck was truly on my side when I found this piece though. I would have mistaken it for one of the many stones it was lying with had my aunt not pulled into the beach driveway and honked her horn to get my attention. This piece was the first thing I saw when I looked back down after waving to her. Unlike the honey piece, this one has no major flaws. However, it does not have a particularly appealing shape. Its size and rarity are what put this in with my very favorites. Grey falls under the extremely rare category.
This cherry red piece was an extremely lucky find. Red is the second rarest sea glass color. Although orange is the rarest, red is the most coveted because of its exceptional beauty and value to amateur jewelers.
You can see from the triangular indentations on the flip-side of this piece that it comes from broken nautical lights. It has been at least 60 years since nautical lights were made with glass. Today, they are exclusively manufactured with plastic. I can't tell you how many times I have been overjoyed to see a chunk of red wedged in the sand only to find it to be plastic. The green sea grime stuck in some of the indentations is something I have not yet been able to remove. In the second picture, you can see a very significant flaw where a piece has been chipped off the edge. As I have already made clear, such flaws do not bother me as much as they may bother others.
Forest green is quite a bit rarer than emerald green. This piece is virtually flawless. That could, however, depend on interpretation. Some would consider the seam running across the top to be a flaw, but I think such features give sea glass character and they even play a role in the selection of my favorite pieces. Furthermore, a seam like this is a testament to how long the piece of glass has rolled around in the ocean before finding itself in my possession.
Ocean foam green is a particularly delicate example of the many shades of green. It is about as rare as forest green, depending on location. It is important to take caution. Even seasoned sea glass hunters (often referred to as "glunkers") will often overlook such pieces, mistaking them for much more common white pieces.
Ocean foam blue is very similar to her ocean foam green sister. They are both about equally as common. If well-shaped, I always find these pieces to be a particular treat. However, as a man, I am predisposed to prefer bolder shades. That is probably why I prefer emerald green and cobalt blue to their ocean foam counterparts. Yes, you heard that right. Studies have shown that women prefer more pale and delicate hues while men prefer brighter and bolder hues. I don't know the reason for this and I don't think it really matters at the end of the day. I am sure there are plenty of exceptions to this notion anyway. Both men and women are free to enjoy collecting sea glass, in any case.
Cobalt blue is a fairly uncommon color, but turns up more often in my area than the global statistical average indicates. A well-formed and well-worn specimen in this color is particularly coveted.
Once again I am obligated to reveal to you the flaws of this specimen. I find it particularly difficult to find well-worn pieces of this color. I would go so far as to suspect that an aspect of their manufacture causes them to be predisposed to resist the ocean's eroding effects.
Yes, I know. Here is yet another emerald green piece. At this point, I will admit that this is my favorite color of sea glass. That is probably due to the fact that green is my favorite color anyway. In any case, I find this piece quite different from the example I began with. I think this one has a very unique shape, almost like a long bowl. My best guess is that this piece came from the bottom of a soda bottle.
You are almost right in thinking that this is another amethyst piece, and you would be half right, in fact. This an even paler shade of amethyst that began as regular white, but a rarer form of white whose chemistry reacts with sunlight over time resulting in a faint lavender hue.
Last, but certainly not least, I present you with teal. While not quite as rare as cherry red, teal still ranks amongst the rarest category of sea glass. It looks a bit shiny, but I assure you, it is nearly flawless. It is not the ideal shape, but that is what makes it so pleasantly unique.
I hope you have enjoyed my sea glass collection. It was years in the making and now available for the world to sea.