Beachcombing Tips for Beginners

Posted by Emer O'Neill on

The Beachcombing Bug

So, by now you know I'm OBSESSED with beachcombing. Little glistening sea jewels to use in my seaglass jewellery, what's not to love? Have you ever found a piece of seaglass and brought it home as a keepsake of a wonderful day or a beautiful place or a special memory? I always find that once someone slips a wet shiny sea glass gem or a sandy pottery fragment into their pocket that very first time, then that's it. They're hooked. They've caught the beachcombing bug. In the case of my friends and family, it is often me who is responsible for spreading it! The days of a clean car are over, with every footwell filled with interesting driftwood and bags of treasure. And pockets are now sandy and misshapen. I apologise, but in fairness, you could be doing worse ;)



Beachcombing Tips

If I am responsible for booting you down the beachcomber's rabbit hole, I guess the least I could do is share some little morsels that may aid you on your search for treasure.

- Be aware that not every beach gathers seaglass. A number of factors come into play such as the direction the beach faces, whether the beach is on an estuary or open sea, the current, and also whether there happened to be an occurrence of regular dumping along the coast in days of yore. That sounds so unromantic and I don't even like writing it down as I feel it devalues the magic of finding a beautiful seaglass jewel... But it is what it is. All seaglass was originally a full glass object that was dumped and broken and unloved, sob! I'm so grateful for the wonderful job that the sea does, smoothing it down into something beautiful.

- If you find a beach that gathers glass, keep it secret! Just kidding (maybe).

- Check your tide times. You want the lowest tide possible to give you maximum benefit, especially around the full moon.

- Come prepared. You'll need a sturdy waterproof bag to gather your haul. Also appropriate footwear if you need to scramble around the rocks. Don't do what I do and rock-climb in flip-flops, I can tell you now it's a bad idea . My husband wears his fishing waders so he can go out as far as possible.

- Start down at the water's edge and work your way up the beach zig-zagging back and forth. As the tide comes in, you won't feel like you've missed out on the area that is now a foot under water. Beachcombing is the only context in which I experience FOMO.

- Around the base of cliffs and rocky areas are usually a sure thing.

- In the centre of the beach, pebbley patches are great for catching pieces of seaglass. If the waves deposit small stones there, then there's a good chance it also deposits pieces of glass which are a similar size or weight.

- I find it helps usually if, rather than frantically searching with eyes darting here there and everywhere, I soften my gaze a little and bring it right down. Then whatever jumps out at me I investigate further. Or I stand/sit in one spot for a while and slowly move my eyes around the area surrounding me. Often you will miss something if you are quickly and desperately searching.

- If you see a white fragment of sea pottery, flip it over. If you're lucky it will have a beautiful pattern, texture or maker's stamp on it! Interesting pottery pieces usually land face down, like buttered toast.

- Sea glass usually looks best when it is glistening wet and shiny from the tide. Then it dries opaque and dulled down and you may wonder what you saw in it to pick it up. Although frosty glass is beautiful in its own right, I personally prefer a sheen that increases transparency and intensifies the colour. To achieve this look at home, I dab a teeny tiny bit of coconut oil (is there anything it *can't* be used for?!) and rub it right in to the glass to buff it up to a lovely satiny shine.



Your Mermaid Treasure

I hope you now feel armed with the information you need to harvest the bounty that the ocean gifts to you. But don't leave your mermaid treasure lying dusty on a shelf or hidden away in a box. Wear it instead! I often turn my customer's own seaglass into wearable keepsakes for them. A bangle, charm bracelet or necklace, infused with memories of a special day. Please feel free to contact me if this is something you'd be interested in! My daughters tell me that the Mermaids leave sea glass gems along the beach for us to find. I really like that. 



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