It seems magical in its own right that the ocean can transform old, unwanted glass that has been tossed away, into glistening jewels that wash up on the beach. I think that is what makes collecting seaglass so special and unique for me. However, there are some legends that tell a quite intriguing tale of seaglass…
The most well known legend states that Neptune, the watchful god of the sea, forbode the sea maidens to use their abilities to change the course of nature. One night, during a horrible storm, one of the mermaids weathered the crossings for a ship. She had, over time, grown to fall in love with the ship’s captain from afar. When she calmed the wind and waves to save the man’s life, Neptune angrily exiled her to the depths of the ocean. She was condemned for eternity and ordered never to swim to the surface again. Still, today, her brightly gleaming tears wash up on the shore as seaglass as a reminder of her true love.
Another legend states that each time a sailor drowned at sea, the mermaids would cry. The seaglass that washed ashore was actually their tears. Some believe that the color of the tears a mermaid would shed would match the color of her fin.
I like to believe the legends. If you’re looking for a more scientific, realistic definition, then here you go…
Seaglass, also called beach glass, is glass found on beaches along oceans, rivers, and lakes that has been tossed, tumbled, weathered, and smoothed by waves, wind, water, and sand. It can be found near both fresh and salt water. Seaglass refers to salt water glass, and beach glass refers to fresh water glass. The Ph level in salt water is different from that of fresh water, and this is why seaglass and beachglass, although both very beautiful, may appear different.
It takes years for glass to be weathered and able to be classified as “seaglass” with it’s rounded edges, smooth exterior, and frosted appearance. This glass has basically been tossed throughout a body of water and polished by the sand. It is tossed and turned up and down the coast by longshore currents, which is what makes it very difficult and rare to find. It can be found in bodies of water all over the world, as glass has been discarded everywhere.
….but try and keep it magical ~ you may just find some mermaid tears during your next walk along the water!