Why Is Red Sea Glass Rare? A Brief History

As a beach lover you’ve probably combed the sand for pretty shells and other treasures, like sea glass. Long Beach Island residents and vacationers frequently bring white, green, brown and even the occasional blue piece of sea glass into SwellColors to get turned into a beautiful piece of jewelry. But rarely does someone ever bring in a red piece of glass. Why is that?

Sea glass in general is getting harder to find due to different disposal systems and companies switching to plastic. However, red sea glass has always been rare to find because of how it’s made. While there are different metals and metal oxides that change color when added into the mix, some red glass is created by using particles of gold.

If you do find a red piece of sea glass it is likely from an old Schlitz beer bottle. While the bottles were brown in the early 1900s, a glass manufacturer called Anchor Hocking made “Royal Ruby” bottles for the beer company in the 1950s and early 1960s. Shards of red sea glass can also be from broken antique plates, signal lanterns or even old car or boat lights.

If you find a piece of red sea glass, is it valuable? It really depends. While some sea glass fanatics will be happy to buy a piece, the beauty is really in the eye of the person who discovered it. Decide what it means to you. Some people spend years searching for multiple pieces to display. Meanwhile others take that precious piece and turn it into something they can proudly show off, like a pendant or bracelet.

If you have a unique piece of sea glass SwellColors can bezel set it in silver, or drill it to wire wrap with beads.

If you want to read more about the history of red glass click HERE to check out this page from the Corning Museum of Glass.

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