USA TODAY: How to Search for Sea Glass on Delaware Beaches
Anne Baley, Demand Media
The rise in popularity of handmade jewelry on Etsy and other sites online has increased interest in sea glass, a naturally-occurring artifact you can find on beaches and seashores. Delaware has some of the finest areas for sea glass hunting, with hobbyists often rating the state among the top destinations. Whether you plan to make trendy jewelry or simply love the look of a bowl filled with nature's jewels, you'll find that Delaware's beaches are a great place to search for additions to your sea glass collection.
What is Sea Glass?
When broken glass falls into oceans and lakes, the tides cause it to move back and forth over the sand and rocks below. This movement, combined with the abrasive action of millions of sand particles, causes the surface of the glass to be worn down and etched. Sharp and jagged bits of glass turn into smooth, irregularly shaped pieces with a soft, matte finish. Prized by collectors and jewelry makers, true sea glass can only be acquired by searching beaches, where artifacts are deposited by waves after being stirred up by the movement of the water.
Where is it Found?
Sea glass is the same thing as beach glass, but not all of it comes from the sea, and not every beach is good for producing and finding it. Some of the finest beaches in the country produce no sea glass. It forms best where there is a rocky shore or rocks in the sand just at the edge of the beach. All the different-sized abrasive objects combine to wear down the outer shell of the glass. The most abundant fields are near areas where glass would have been discarded in the past. Think about abandoned factories, historic settlements or beaches near shipwrecks, both in the ocean and along the edges of lakes.
How to Hunt for Sea Glass
Hunting for sea glass is similar to hunting for shells. They're both naturally-occurring objects you'll find right at the shoreline. Carry a small bucket to hold your finds, and plan searches at sunrise and sunset when angled sun rays can reveal the glint of glass. Also, try looking after a storm when buried sea glass may have been stirred up from the bottom, during low tide and when the moon is full, as it creates stronger waves. Search right at the water line as well as right above the edge where high tide waves hit. A child's sand sifter can be a useful tool in shaking pieces of sea glass from buckets full of sand. In fact, an entire children's beach set with bucket and sand tools makes the ideal sea glass hunting kit.
Delaware Sea Glass Beaches
Reports vary on the quality of hunting areas; it's ultimately luck that determines whether you find a great piece or nothing at all on a given day. Some spots known to have yielded good results are Old New Castle Beach, Indian River Inlet and, especially, Woodland Beach.