SCW: After visiting your website (http://bellamareseaglass.com) we were amazed on how many varieties and types of sea glass there are! I guess you can say “not all sea glass is created equal.” Out of all the different colors and varieties which ones are fairly common and which ones are super rare?
SCW: This might be a secret of the trade but what sort of tools do you use or is it just a pick and grab with your hands type of thing?
LS: I am a purest… I use my hands but if I am at a really rocky beach I might use a mini rack to move boulders to see if I can discover a hidden treasure most of the time just my hands. A lot people use nets and colanders but I don’t.
SCW: Do certain area’s of world offer unique colors not found in other places?
LS: Yes and that’s what I find so fascinating in all my travels. There is different types of glass from different countries. Italy and England has a lot of art sea glass due to glass blowers and bottle factories. In Puerto Rico I find a lot of red due to the fact that for a short period of time they bottled beer in red bottles. The Caribbean has a lot of Turquoise colors. In my sea glass gallery on my website I have a lot of information regarding colors from around the world.
SCW: What’s rarest thing you’ve ever collected?
LS: Hmmm, they are some many that come to mind… porcelain doll pieces from the early 1800′s are a pretty rare find for me as are marbles. I found a very large piece of red maybe 3 x 4 which is very rare. Last winter I found a whole intact brass razor that looked to be from the 1880′s.
SCW: How old are some of these things you find and what sort of time frame does it take to break down a piece of glass into a smooth pebble?
LS: I can date a lot of my sea glass in the early to mid 1800′s. For a piece of glass to start to become rounded is about 25 years depending on the wave movement in the water. A very well rounded heavy pitted piece of sea glass is at least 50+ years. A lot can depend on the coarseness off the sand and rocks from that beach.
SCW: I’m guessing after storms are the best time to collect sea glass? Is this true?
LS: Definitely during and after storms sea glass hunting can be stellar. The first low tide after a storm is always great time and anytime we have very strong onshore winds… Also after large surf is another great time as is a new moon and a full moon.
LS: The only thing I do is wash it is hot soapy water, you can rub coconut oil on the glass to give it
a shine if you like, I love seeing all the pitting in the glass so I leave it. Being a sea glass association member
we strive to always leave the glass unaltered just they way it’s found.
SCW: How do you decipher it’s origin or is it a guessing game?
LS: I am a huge vintage bottle collector and read a lot of books on old bottles so that helps me figure out what it might have been. You can tell a lot about the sea glass from the thickness and texture and the area you collect it. In Northern California I know a lot of the thick heavy large pieces were old insulators by the size and the area I collect it. In France, I know that a lot were old french medicine bottles and perfume bottles, etc… My love for sea glass and trying to find its origin is a huge passion of mine.
SCW: Do you have any tips for the novice glass collector?
LS: Low tides during storms and after storms, when traveling try to locate old dump site near coastal areas
dating back at least 50-100 years, river mouths that feed into the ocean, ask the local people some might tell
you of some secret spots especially if your talking over a nice tropical rum drink!
SCW: Great info! Thanks for your time Leslie and happy hunting!