The world’s most spectacular glass beaches
This article will take you through the mysteriousness of glass beaches or simply “how one man’s junk is another man’s fortune”. I find it amazing how nature has its way of making up for man’s lack of capacity of being a good resource engineer of the natural riches he was entrusted with.
How glass beaches come to be?
The ocean is without any doubt the richest and most diverse ecosystem on Earth. However, the past 50 years have witnessed the planetary ocean becoming also the largest dumpster on the planet. Residues of all sorts, from oil to glass, fill up the waters. The numerous efforts of ecologists to clean up the waters are failing to suffice. Luckily, nature itself comes to the rescue.
In 30 years, the waves transform the dumped glass in natural gems. Sea glass is what the output is most often called. It consists of small colorful glass chunks, that gatherers sell or use it to create handmade jewels. Clear, brown and green are the most common. However, orange and red are the rarest, most expensive and best-appreciated ocean gemstones.
Fake or real?
As everything that nature helps create, even sea glass can be faked by man. As if the man were enrolled in constant competition with nature, jealous of how the latter manages to shape things into perfection. A big industrial tumbler can speed up the time that the ocean waves take to smooth the edges of the glass and add a top of the frosted cover. An attentive eye can spot this little trick and separate the real deal from the man-made outcome.
Here’s a list of all the best places where you can find the real thing, from all over the world.
1. Fort Bragg Glass Beach California
It is part of the MacKerricher’s State Park near Fort Bragg, California. It is a result of a long process of years of dumping glass of the coastline near the north-western part of the town and the ocean trying and managing successfully to compensate for that. The beach is all glass, and one of the most trafficked in the world. Being part of the state park, it is illegal to collect the little glass gems. Here’s a list of other things to do in Fort Bragg, once you are done exploring the colorful beaches.
2. Chemical Beach & North Beach, Seaham, England
The former site of a glass factory, Seaham is now one of the most spectacular places to find the multi-colored glass. It goes under the name of “multi”. A touch of brown, a bit of green or a spot of red can speak of the secret life of that piece of glass. Might have been a bottle, a piece of ceramic, or maybe a cup in which a refined lady was serving the high tea. In any case, it can put your imagination to the test for more than one way.
3. Hanapepe Bay Glass Beach, Kauai, Hawaii
This is a beach in Eleele, an industrial area in Kauai, Hawaii that is made of sea glass. It is in Hanapepe Bay, near Port Allen Harbor. The beach’s regular rock is basalt, but the sea glass formed after years of discarded glass. So when you take a break from all that surfing, you can go for a little trip on Hanapepe to get a couple of fists of colorful treasures.
4. Steklyashka Beach, Vladivostok, Russia
We move now on the other side of the planet. A striking yet funny newspaper article title writes: “The beach in need of MORE pollution: Russia’s remarkable kaleidoscope beach, created by people dumping old vodka bottles, will vanish in less than a generation unless locals add more smashed glass.” That is partly true. The other reason why the glass on the Russian beach is slowly getting extinct has to do with the intensive glass pebble picking. So, people, go to Russia, drink your vodka, dump your bottle on the beach! For this particular purpose, it helps 😊
5. Davenport Beach, California
A cozy charm full beach in Northern California. A breath away from Santa Cruz. If you look for a holiday in a scenery of craftsmen Victorian homes, you are in the right place in the world. The Davenport Beach is particularly photographed at sunset when the glass stones shine their brightest. Close by, the Lundberg Studios were responsible for a huge glass spill that happened in the 1970s due to the heavy rainstorm. Founded in 1970, the studio is world famous for producing top quality glassware. Go for a visit, you will track back your glass.
6. Abaco, Bahamas
When I was little, going to the beach was boring. My parents had me lying flat for hours to soak up the sun. The only fun I could find was playing in the sand or collecting something around. Like seashells or glass. The Bahamas must have been the perfect place for the perfect holiday for me as a child as the offer of glass one can find is just so great. Proof of that is also the great number of local jewelry manufacturers that sell exquisite pieces one can get for really decent prices.
7. Sea Glass Beach, Okinawa, Japan
Away from the crowds in a never-ending search of touristic ventures, the Okinawa glass beach is in the capital Naha, on Okinawa Island, in South Japan. The place was under American occupation after the Second World War and returned to Japan in 1072. However, still, around 26.000 troops are stationed on the island. The glass beach brings tourists in search of glittering sunsets and avid glass stone collectors, who will not be disappointed with their findings.