Wednesday, January 29, 2014

1/29/14 Report - Treasure Coast Sea Glass and Fort Pierce Pirate Fest

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Exceptional Piece of Red Sea Glass Found
on a Treasure Coast Beach
I mentioned sea glass a day or two ago.  You might think that picking up sea glass is a nice thing to do, something like collecting shells but having no particular value.  That is wrong.  Not only can sea glass be valuable in an economic sense, but for the detectorist it can be an important indicator.

If you see sea glass while detecting, think about what it might tell you.  See if you can determine anything about its age or source.  That might help you determine if the site is worth detecting.

You might not know it, but like most collectibles that are bought and sold, sea glass has enough economic value, that it is often counterfeited or faked.  Some people actually try to create sea glass by tumbling or etching glass and then try to sell it as sea glass.

Obviously genuine sea glass has more actual value, and there are ways to tell the difference between genuine sea glass and fake sea glass. 

For one thing, tumbled sea glass has a more uniform surface than sea glass that is tumbled in the ocean.  Genuine sea glass also has a different surface patina created by being submerged in the water for years.  And that difference is not just due to salt residue.  There is an actually a change to the surface of the glass.

One vendor of sea glass jewelry uses the term "certified genuine" sea glass.

This web site explains how to tell the difference between genuine sea glass and fake sea glass.

Here is one interesting paragraph from the above web site that addresses the issue of fake sea glass.

Cost is the best determiner. If you see a bag of blue or red sea glass for $5.99 and claiming it is real sea glass, it is not. For example - A single piece of bright aqua sea glass (unset in jewelry) recently sold for over $260. Single unset top quality red pieces can go for well over $100 in a pendant size. A pair of genuine blue earrings can sell for a much as $70 where a pair of artificial or faux sea glass will sell for around $25.

As you see, pieces of genuine sea glass can sell for hundreds of dollars.  

Of course not all genuine sea glass is of the same quality.  Very good sea glass can be described as jewelry quality.

Three Small Pieces of Sea Glass Found
on the Treasure Coast a Couple of Days Ago
The red is rare, the green much more common.

Some sea glass has not been in the ocean very long and has not been smoothed or changed enough.

Some beaches produce better sea glass than others.  Some have older sea glass, and some areas have a rougher surf and rocks or shells that smooth the surface of the glass over time. 

Rarity determines price too.  Yellow and orange sea glass are the most rare, with red following right behind.  Those three colors are highly sought after.   Blue is more common than those, and green, brown and clear are very common.

Red sea glass is sometimes from old warning lanterns.

Here is a web site that lists some Florida beaches where people can look for sea glass.  Some are rated.

And the following web site talks about the rarity of red sea glass specifically.

Very old sea glass, such as what is called black glass, can be a sign of a nearby shipwreck or other human activity from the past.

If you hold black glass up to a bright light, you will often see that it is not actually black, but olive green.  Also look for bubbles in the interior of the glass that might indicate that it was hand blown.

The piece of glass at the top of this post was being held up so that the sun light cane through it.  It is an exceptional piece of sea glass and would make a nice piece of jewelry.  It is not nearly as bright when not held up to the sun though.  It is a rare color, has a very good "cushion" shape, and is well smoothed.  It is about one fourth as thick as wide.


As an unpaid advertisement, or actually more like a news item, Pirate Fest will be held in Fort Pierce beginning January 31 and ending Feb. 2.

Here is the link to learn more about that.

On the Treasure Coast we have a two to three foot surf today.  Still not much, but the tide will be dropping more today.  That might give more access to shells and sea glass.

The surf will be increasing a little the next tow days, but not much.  Not enough to improved detecting conditions, but if you look out a week or so in the predictions, a higher surf is now predicted.   We'll have to wait and see if that actually comes to pass.

Happy hunting,