Finding Sea Glass in Bermuda
Bermuda is well known for sun-kissed pink sand, turquoise waters, and of course arguably the most delicious rum in the world. However, what many don’t realize is when you combine these different elements together something amazing happens, sea glass.
Sea glass is created when pieces of glass are tossed into the ocean and are then weathered down physically and chemically to produce beautifully polished and naturally frosted smooth glass that eventually washes ashore (the sand, ocean, and coloured glass, like rum bottles, can take full credit for these gems of the sea).
There is something almost poetic about stumbling upon pieces of sea glass and seeing how nature and time have transformed something that was once considered to be trash into a beloved treasure. It’s as if the sea has personally handed you a souvenir from the island. While tumbling glass may be easier and more convenient than beachcombing, you will never get that authentic sense of discovery or the unique story that defines where that sea glass has traveled without getting your hands a little sandy.
Bermuda’s beaches are undoubtedly some of the world’s best places to hunt for these buried treasures. Alexandra Battery Beach, located on Barry Road and is a little less than a mile from Gates Bay (St. Catherine's Beach), is among the top spots to start your beachcombing on the island. While it’s not a very large beach, the sea glass is some of the oldest, most frosted and colourful around. If you are feeling a bit adventurous, this beach also offers sea caves where sea glass is 4 inches thick! As home to renowned rum companies and its long history of pirate adventures, it’s no surprise that each piece of Bermudian sea glass is considered to be a time capsule into a world of past voyages and tradition. Although searching for sea glass may not be on the top of your list of things to do on your vacation, we hope you consider heading to Alexandra Battery Beach to see for yourself why Bermuda’s sea glass may just be the most intimate way to get to know the island.
It’s difficult to explain just why sea glass holds such a majestic power over those who collect it, but like any art enthusiast will tell you, it’s what makes the piece unique that makes it valuable. For many collectors, this passion has been passed down for generations and has truly become an art form that requires skill and experience.
So, if you’re ready to begin your journey (and possibly new addiction) to the world of sea glass, we’d like to share some insider tips on how you can successfully ‘stumble’ upon the best sea glass to start your collection:
• Start by seeking out piles of small shells near the beach's low tide line. Lookout for any bright colours that are clearly not shells. Even small pieces of sea glass are valuable so make sure to bring a container with you that can hold pieces of all sizes.
• Educate yourself on the value of different sea glass. Their shape, history and colour are all considered when an avid collector chooses which pieces of sea glass to bring home. Common colours include white, brown and green. Less common colours include soft green, soft blue, forest green, lime green, amber, and jade. Rare colours include pink, aqua, cornflower blue, cobalt blue, opaque white, citron, and purple. Finally, the extremely rare class includes orange, red, turquoise, yellow, black (known as pirates’ glass), teal, and gray.
• We recommend wearing flip flops or water shoes when you comb the beaches; don’t forget you are searching for glass and some pieces may still be sharp with jagged edges.
Now that you’re armed with a little more insight, we hope that next time you find yourself in Bermuda, you take the time to appreciate perhaps the greatest buried treasure the island's pink sand and turquoise waters have to offer.
Oh, and if you’re not quite ready to find your own sea glass, don’t worry, there are many local shops that sell authentic sea glass jewelry and accessories that make for beautiful, and often affordable, gifts!
If you’re already well versed in the world of sea glass, we encourage you to share your experience with collecting Bermuda sea glass. Do you have a favourite spot for finding sea glass? If you collect sea glass and you have a favourite piece, please tell us in the comments section below and don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
27 April, 2012