Why Are There Different Colors of Sea Glass?

If you have ever collected sea glass, perhaps you have noticed the wide range of colors in which it is formed. While some colors are easy to explain due to sea glass' origin as glass products that have been discarded, other, rarer hues can leave beachgoers wondering. If you have ever wondered about the origins of sea glass in obscure shades such as red and lavender, read on; we have compiled a guide to the different shades of sea glass and where they come from.

The majority of the various shades of sea glass are simply the color that the glass was before it became sea glass. Most who have encountered sea glass are familiar with brown, kelly green, and white sea glass, which are no exception to this principle; these colors are familiar to many in the form of soda, beer, and medicine bottles, as well as regular glass household items such as jars, many of which are made from clear glass. The frequent use of these glass items means that many of them ultimately end up in the trash, eventually becoming much of the sea glass we see on beaches.

Though true green sea glass is a common find, various shades are less often seen. For instance, dark or olive green sea glass is considered uncommon. These shades come from sources such as perfume, kerosene, and alcoholic beverage bottles. Both amber and sea foam green sea glass are similar in that they are considered uncommon, despite the frequent appearance of their cousins, brown and green sea glass, on beaches. These two shades often come from soda bottles, candy dishes, vases, glasses, perfume bottles, medicine bottles, and beer bottles, depending on the color.

Sea glass can be found in a number of shades of blue, all of which are rare or uncommon finds. Cobalt blue sea glass often comes from beer bottles, certain medicine containers, dishes, glasses, and ink wells. Turquoise and lighter blue sea glasses may once have been candy dishes, pitchers, jars, saucers, or perfume bottles, among other things.

Even rarer than blue sea glass is vibrant warm-toned sea glass; red, orange, and yellow sea glass are all extremely uncommon finds. Red sea glass can come from less typical items, such as tail lights and oil lamps, but may also be formed from candy dishes, pitchers, perfume bottles, ash trays, or other decorative glass items. Yellow sea glass may be formed from decanters, decorative glasses and containers, and candy dishes. Orange sea glass has even fewer potential sources, with much of it coming from old ash trays or candy dishes.

Black, gray, and multi-colored sea glass are also incredibly rare. Gray sea glass is often formed from oil lamps, glasses, and vases. Black sea glass has a more limited range of sources, typically coming from wine, beer, or liquor bottles. Pieces of sea glass containing multiple colors tend to have once been marbles or decorative items like pitchers, vases, and candy dishes.

Lavender and pink sea glass are also extremely rare. While some lavender and pink sea glass is formed from lavender or pink art glass, candy dishes, or other decorative glass items, much of it was actually once clear glass. Some clear glasses are clarified with magnesium or selenium to prevent the finished product from taking on the brown tones of the sand from which it is made. When this magnesium- or selenium-clarified glass is exposed to the sun for long periods of time, these minerals oxidize, creating lavender or pink glass, respectively.

About Author: DejaVu Designs' collection of sea glass jewelry and accessories feature sea glass collected from Boston's scenic Harbor Islands and the rocky shores of Maine's Casco Bay. The pieces are understated and elegant, yet call to mind the whimsicality of a summer's day on the beach.