It’s both a hobby and a story – seaglass hunting around Chesapeake Bay.
Fall starts Wednesday, but don’t let it stray you from the beach. Cooler temperatures make fall a great time to look for sea glass.
It’s glass that was once a trash can, turned into frosted drops of treasure from decades of exposure to water and waves. All you have to do is pick it up.
The beaches around the Chesapeake Bay are a great place to start your search. Nancy LaMotte from West Fenwick, Delaware spoke with WTOP about her early search for Sunken Shards. She is an artist and blacksmith who designs sea glass jewelry and sells it online and at festivals.
“I initially started looking for sea glass when my two children were very small…“ I think I was surprised at what I found in Chesapeake Bay. ”
She said she was surprised and drawn to the appearance of the glass, drawn to the glass hunt by the story it revealed.
“I was surprised that the pieces were so well worn and so beautiful and of such precious quality,” said LaMotte.
The story revealed
About 85% of sea glass comes from old bottles, according to LaMotte, and the most common sea glass colors are brown, green, and white. Few of the bottles were made in colors like red, orange, and yellow.
“They actually used a small percentage of gold in the glass batch itself to maintain that color, and it was very, very expensive,” LaMotte said. “The rarest pieces are the 15% that come from dishes or boat signals… old boat lanterns, things like that…”
She especially liked finding old or unusual shards that were not conventionally appealing. For example, clear glass made before 1915 with manganese dioxide can turn purple if exposed to light for a long time.
When it comes to determining where a particular piece of sea glass came from, LaMotte suggests digging online. You can browse books on vintage bottles or visit bottle shows.
“Just going to a bottle exhibit helped me attach a piece of sea glass to a real ship on the 1930 table, a master ink bottle that I never saw in my life. life, ”she said.
Most seaglass enthusiasts don’t like to share where they find their best stuff, but LaMotte has some tips for enthusiastic beginners.
How to hunt for your own drink
“Anywhere along the bay on the east coast from Cape Charles to Cecil County, Maryland, I think you’re going to find some good bits there,” Lamotte said. “Using a kayak is always better, as you can get away from the rest of the sea glass hungry people.”
LaMotte recently went kayaking on the east coast of Virginia. She said Calvert and St. Mary’s counties in southern Maryland are also great places to visit, and added that some of her friends have found logs along the Baltimore coast.
“You have to do a bit of homework, and that could include researching the location of small towns,” she said. “… [Where] was the dumping ground of the city, and also looking at where the tributaries flow into the bays and the oceans because often this living water will deposit the sea glass on the shores. You might find a few more.
You can also visit the beach of your choice at low tide when the beach is at its widest, but kindness is encouraged as sea glass collecting can become competitive. LaMotte’s all-time favorite sea glass find comes from Smith Island, Maryland.
“A friend took me to an island that had been deserted in 1920. There were 300 people living there at one time, but because of the rising waters of the Chesapeake, the last person left in 1920. We got off the boat and I looked around, and the whole beach was filled with shards of sea glass, ”LaMotte said.
It is estimated that the glass came from an incredible number of bottles of baking powder, which the locals had used to make bread.
“It was just a weird feeling that I could relate over 100 baking powder lip bursts to the fact that all of these people who have lived here for so long were making bread for all these years,” LaMotte said.