Collecting and Buying Real Sea Glass

sea glassCollecting your own sea glass assures you it’s real, but buying on line may give you pause. Is that necklace (with the hefty price tag) made of the real thing?

I may have come across sea glass during my treks to the ocean, but I never paid much attention to it. The kids and I collected seashells only.  Jelly fish and horseshoe crabs that had washed up on the beach were interesting, but I don’t recall finding any pretty, worn glass.   But there are collectors of sea glass, and they know what to look for.  Just like seashells, certain ones (colors) are rare, and therefore demand a higher price.

Most beaches are more likely to contain washed up shells than glass.   Shells are made by animals, but the glass has come from man, obviously.  Ship wrecks and lots items out to sea get tumbled in the waves and sand for years to end up as bits of collectable sea glass.  And it’s not only the oceans were you find it.  Big lakes, such as the Great Lakes, have glass on their beaches. It seems to be more common to find precious sea glass on the Pacific coast also.

Top rare sea glass colors are red, orange, pink, yellow, and certain blue shades, as well as black and gray. View a color chart to see all the colors in order from rarest to most common.

So how will you know the difference between real and fake glass if you buy online? Authentic, collected glass will have smooth edges, with tiny pock marks and a frosty appearance. One edge could be sharp if it was buried and not exposed to the water and sanding. Exposure to the elements leaves glass looking like it was dipped into very fine sugar. Glass tumbled by man will be too uniformly smooth.

sea glass brown green clear

Sea Glass Collection (photo credit: Pixabay)

Sea glass can also be multi-colored. As the bits could have come from any items, such as china, bowls, cups, or decorative items that were lost. The West Coast Multies site sells such items.

Buying large quantities of sea glass to decorate means you probably won’t care if the glass is real.  Know the difference between the real and fake when buying special pieces of jewelry, and purchase from a reputable dealer. For pictures and more information about sea glass, visit the North American Sea Glass Association site. They also have a list reputable shops that sell jewelry and bulk glass.

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Venice Beach is the Place to Find Shark’s Teeth

sharks teeth mouth skeletonThe shoreline at Venice Beach, on the Gulf coast of Florida, is known as the best place to find shark’s teeth.  I have never visited this beach, which is located about halfway along the west coast, but my kids would have loved to collect sharks teeth there.

Just like beachcombing for good seashells, you will find more sharks teeth after a storm comes through.  The teeth are fossilized remnants of the large creatures that died some time ago.  Eventually the teeth make their way to shore, usually in rough water.  As sharks are abundant in the warm Gulf of Mexico, so are their teeth.  And we all know that sharks can have many rows of teeth, losing them over a lifetime.  This also adds to the large number of teeth deposited on the ocean floor.

Now here is something interesting that I came across.  You can also hunt for shark’s teeth in freshwater rivers in Florida!  I’m going to give you a link to a page that will tell you why, but briefly it is because all of Florida used to be under the ocean.  There are safety factors involved when you do anything in fresh water, one of them being cottonmouth snakes and the other is, of course, alligators.  Florida fresh water areas are not inviting – not to me anyway.  Florida is full of creepy, and deadly, wildlife, but the bodies of fresh water are the worst!  Read more about this challenging way to Hunt for Shark’s Teeth in Rivers (Shark Teeth Store website).  The article link is to a site which also sells shark teeth, in case you are interested in buying.

Personally, I would stick to the beach to find my shark’s teeth, but the more adventurous could find some nice specimens in and around rivers.  Diving and snorkeling could yield some terrific artifacts.  And while you’re looking for teeth, keep your eyes peeled for other fossils.  Because of the nature of the beach, with it’s tides and storms, each day contains the possibility of finding something new.

(Photo credit: PubicDomainPictures @ Pixabay)

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The Sea Hare Is Not Furry and Cute

Aplysia fasciata Poiret, 1789 English: Mottled...

Aplysia fasciata Poiret, 1789 English: Mottled sea hare stranded on a beach at Sanibel Island in Lee County, Florida, U.S.A. With defensive purple dye. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The sea hare is a strange looking creature that you most likely would not want to pick up.  More than likely you would say “what the heck is that?”

It’s a slippery blob that can be dark purple or yellow-green, depending on the type, and it might be washed up on just about any Florida shoreline.  The sea hare  lives in shallow water in sea grass.  Like so much marine life, it can be found washed up on shore after a storm.
They will release a purple ink (like in this photo) when stressed.
An interesting fact about the sea hare is that they eat blue-green algae which sometimes contaminates water.  I’ve read about a number of creatures that help our environment by doing this.

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The Cute and Colorful Kittenpaw Seashell

kitten paw seashells

kitten paw seashells

The colorful Atlantic kitten paw (Plicatula gibosa) seashell is a favorite to find along Florida beaches. I may have found one or two on my travels to the east coast of Florida, but I started a little collection when I visited Sanibel Island.  The kitten paws are small and colorful with bumpy ridges that fan out like fingers.  Their color is usually a peach or coral orange, but can be reddish or yellow.  The raised bumps of color are marked with thin lines, while the base of the shell is whitish.

The Kittenpaw is a scallop, like it’s larger counterpart the famous Lion’s paw, which can grow to become 6 inches long.   You are much more likely to find a kitten than a lion.  But both types can be found on southern beaches.  In my photo, with a white daisy as reference, you can see that the kittenpaws are only around an inch in size.  Because of their wide ridges they stand out as being easily identifiable.

Find the cute kittenpaw shells along almost every beach in Florida.  Because the west coast, around Sanibel Island, has such an abundance of all types of shells, it’s probably easiest to find a wide selection of the kittenpaw there.

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