Saturday, May 02, 2009

Treasures from the sea

I'll bet a majority of people have a little stash of stuff they've picked up on a beach somewhere in their house—especially if they live anywhere near the ocean. My sea treasures reside in this glass jar in my bathroom. (The speckled glass ball you see in there actually has nothing to do with the ocean. It was made from Mt. St. Helen's ash, but it seemed to fit with the ocean stuff.)

Last week when I was at the beach with the STASH group we took a walk on the beach, and as I always do, I picked up rocks and stuck them in my pocket. We didn't see any shells or sand dollars this time. My jar contains shells from many beaches, but mostly the Oregon coast.

I grew up in Idaho, but my grandparents lived in Oregon and our trips to visit them usually included a trip to the beach. Some of these shells date back to those trips.

Back in those days it was still possible to find the green glass floats from Japanese fishing nets that washed up on the beach. My grandparents had a bunch of them. The large one in the picture was one my mother had. I don't know if she found it or bought it. You could buy them in the gift shops along the coast for pretty cheap. The small one is one that I found with my grandfather. To this day I don't know if he planted it for me to find, or if we really found one that had just washed in. It is rather unusual in that it has a little bit of water inside it. It is a mystery how it got there and it is still there after probably 50 years. The starfish (or sea stars as they are now called) were gathered from the beach on one of our trips. You could do that back then. Nowadays it is illegal to remove them from Oregon beaches if they are alive. I still remember how bad they smelled in the car on the trip home. They slowly lost all their color. I think one was purple and one a coral color originally.

I don't remember where the two little seahorses came from. I suspect they were a childhood purchase from one of the Oregon giftshops on a summer trip.

For years I picked up beach glass. This is a handful of my collection. I love the frosty look, cool colors and smoothed off edges, even though I know it is essentially litter. I continue to look for it, but I haven't found a single piece in quite a few years now. I think I found most of this on the southern Oregon coast when we lived in southern Oregon. Maybe there is something different about the northern coast and beach glass. Or maybe it is reflection of the fact that most of our soft drinks are now in cans or plastic bottles. I miss it. Finding a piece was truly like finding a little gem among the rocks and debris. Is there still beach glass out there, somewhere?


  1. Maine.

    Sighing nostolgically.

  2. I found lots of beach glass on the stony shores at Barcelona as shown on my blog here.

  3. Anonymous10:27 PM

    I collect sea glass from the beach down the road! I have a large crystal bowl full of it. The "treasures" I watch out for are blue and purple pieces - not many of those to be had!

  4. I saw jewelry out of sea glass.
    There is some information on access to the "sites".
    I have seen more beautiful ornaments than this.

  5. I find sea glass along the CT shoreline. What is interesting is that you have mostly greens and quite a bit of blue. I find mostly white and brown, it is a very good day when I find green and I have only found one very small piece of blue. The photo is so pretty.

  6. Hi Terry, thanks for stopping by and for the tips.
    I hae jars of beach glass since I live less than a mile from it. I know it's really trash but it looks so beautiful in the jars I keep it in. I've never found a piece of blue in 50years of collecting.
    I didn't get a chanc to comment on your son-in-law. His work is so incredible. Thanks for the chance to see it. He is an un-discoverd gem. What talent!!

  7. I grew up near a beach on the Gulf of Mexico. There were always "treasures" to be harvested from the beach. We even made cocina soup from the little animals who washed in in shells that quickly burrowed beneath the sand. But most of my sea things seem to have disappeared over the years and only the memories of shell-hunting survived.

  8. When we found sea glass on the beaches of Oregon in the 40s and 50s, we called it Mermaid's Tears. I Googled 'sea glass' and found some interesting sites -

    Who knew? Del

  9. There was an article on sea glass in the Seattle Times just yesterday.

  10. Lovely post, Terry. My beach glass and shells and random other artifacts are scattered around the house.

    Glass Beach, near Fort Bragg in N. Cal., was made up almost entirely of, well, what you'd think. Overall it was pebbly in texture, but you could sit down anywhere and find larger chunks in an array of colors, including the much-coveted blue.

  11. Oh, I love beach glass: we used to find it all the time on the shores of Lake Michigan.

    There is a company that sells a similar item: