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Sea Glass and Sea Pottery

Sea glass and sea pottery pieces are literally trash turned treasure! Personally I consider sea glass and sea pottery to be "gemstones" as a very specific process, only found in nature, is necessary to form a genuine piece.


When glass or pottery is discarded in or near a body of water a long process of tumbling and hydration begins. Waves smooth rough edges and prolonged contact with water creates a crystal like "frosting" on the surface of the pieces.


To learn more about the process that creates sea glass and the difference between genuine and artificial please visit the North American Sea Glass Association website.


Kodiak, Alaska Sea Glass and Sea Pottery

My son coming to show mom a great kelly green piece of sea glass!

Jewel Beach 2013

Fort Kodiak was established in 1898 and the Navy began constructing their military base in 1939. I actually lived in base housing that was built in 1941! Most of the sea glass and sea pottery I collected is from the WWII era. Which means the pieces had been tumbling for around 75 years! However, there is the possibility of well over 100+ years of history in some of the pieces. I was always super excited when I found pieces that had markings or specific coloration that enabled me to identify their origin.

To learn more about the history of Kodiak please visit Crusty old Joe's Kodiak Alaska Military History website.


Two of my favorite websites for identifying sea glass and sea pottery origins are: the Historic Glass Bottle Identification & Information website and The Pirate's Lair website, specifically to identify WWII era military ceramic pieces.


Often times I found pieces of sea glass that looked as though they had been melted and cooled. Not surprisingly, this is exactly what had happened! This type of sea glass is often referred to as “bonfire sea glass.” It is created when glass pieces are melted in a fire and then tumbled into sea glass.


These pieces are so much fun to hold up to the light or display as sun catchers because they reveal what got captured inside the sea glass. They also have a little extra history besides being broken and tumbled over the years. I imagine the beach gatherings that happened around the fire that melted the pieces. What fun and conversations took place around the flames while these glass pieces began their journey to ultimately become “bonfire sea glass?”

I like to think of these special pieces as not just “bonfire sea glass” but also “elemental sea glass” because they are truly created by the four classical elements; fire, earth, water, and air.


Fire melts the glass.

Earth is captured in the molten piece.

Water hydrates.

Then finally it must be exposed to air to reveal the “frosting” of genuine sea glass.

Bonfire Sea Glass

Above: Bonfire sea glass in a Kodiak Sea Star

Below: Backlit to show inclusions

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