If there is one thing I’m asked about time and time again on social media it’s seaglass.
Where do I find it? What do I do with it all? Will I give up my best secrets?
It only felt appropriate, after years of talking about it and sharing my findings and adventures on social media with you all, that I give up some of my secrets on how to find the dreamiest seaglass. Especially for those visiting or living in our beautiful province of New Brunswick. Because let’s be honest, we really do have some of the best seaglass in the world along our shores.
And while I can’t guarantee you will find the perfectly frosted blue or pirate glass—I waited 36 years to find my first piece—I can promise you, with these mermaid secrets, you’re going to have better odds than the beginners on the beach!
Are you ready to learn from a mermaid?
WHERE TO FIND SEAGLASS
Okay, first there’s a bit of bad news. This post is not going to be a pirate’s treasure map to my best spots around Shediac to find Seaglass. After all, there are some secrets that us mermaids keep to ourselves!
But what I can tell you, is that there are plenty of fantastic beaches and coves all along the New Brunswick shorelines. From St. Andrews all the way to Miscou, there are innumerable beaches to explore and find magical pieces of seaglass! You’ve just got to be adventurous and patient. After all, centuries-old treasure isn’t found in a day, now is it?
The real secret is in finding the right type of beach to find perfectly tumbled mermaid tears. Because of the way seaglass is formed and what glass has to be in the ocean to make it, there are only certian types of beaches that will have seaglass.
Here are a few traits of perfect seaglass beaches to look for:
The Beaches are a Bit Rocky
The best pieces of seaglass are two things: frosted and tumbled. And that quality just isn’t possible without some rocks.
The most ideal beaches for finding seaglass will have some degree of rocks, especially in coves where tides can cause rocks and seaglass to get caught up and swirled along the rocky bottom to reach frosted perfection. These beaches might have a mix of sand and rocks or beaches that are entirely rocks.
There are, of course, exceptions. I found not one, but two, pieces of the highly coveted RED seaglass on the Bouctouche Dune. It’s one of the sandiest beaches around! But I’ve never found a single piece of seaglass there since that day.
So while rockier beaches should be the goal for the ultimate hunt, don’t discount a sandy beach entirely. Tumbled glass from rocky beaches can totally end up on sandy beaches too. The ocean is pretty magical like that.
There’s History in the Area
Sure, it’s pretty easy to find brown, green, and white seaglass around any beach. All it takes are some broken beer bottles and a bit of time—ok, A LOT of time—to pass for your Corona bottle to turn into a piece of seaglass. But if you want the GOOD stuff such as blues, purples, and gorgeous pieces of china dishes; you’re going to need to look on beaches where there was a lot of history in the area.
Think trade shipping lanes, historical buildings or ports, and yes—even shipwrecks! One of the reasons I love hunting for seaglass on Campobello Island every summer is because of the island’s rich history and richer former residents (such as the Roosevelts.)
What some may not know about the island is that in the 1880s, it was a summer resort destination for wealthy Americans and Canadians. So naturally, when beachcombing around the island you are bound to find old pieces of porcelain china and stoppers from crystal decanters and liquor bottles aplenty.
Most purple seaglass actually dates all the back to the 1800s, making it a truly precious find. Back in those days, powdered flint (and later, lead) & manganese was added to glass as a clarifying agent in pressed glassware. When exposed to the sun, the manganese caused the glass to turn a dusky lavender colour.
On my own home surf, at our summer cottage, there are plenty of shipwrecks offshore from hundreds of years ago. Which I maintain is one of the reasons we find such precious pieces of china and purple mermaid tears.
Want to find pirate glass? Then you best be looking at beaches that were home to rum runners and pirate smugglers to find these rare pieces of glass which can date back as far as 1700s to the mid-1800s. My first pirate glass pieces, including my super rare pirate glass stopper, were found on Campobello Island and Grand Manan. So don’t be afraid to leave town, island hop, and explore stranger tides to find yours!
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN SEAGLASS HUNTING
One of the many comments I get when I post videos or photos of me picking up seaglass is: “Wait—how did you even spot that?” While it may sound silly at first, after finding some of my most valuable and rare pieces just this summer, I’m proof that practice makes perfect.
Hunting for seaglass is an acquired skill. Especially if you’re in search of the coveted blues, purples, reds or pirate treasures. You have to know what to look for and describing exactly how to do that isn’t the easiest, but I’m going to take a stab at it just for you!
First of all, get accustomed to what the beach’s natural properties look like. What do the rocks look like? What colour is the sand? Is there a lot of seaweed? What shells seem to be plentiful? Set a baseline for normal. If you know a beach is home to a lot of mussel shells, you’re less likely to scream “I found purple!” every time you see anything purple. Because chances are, it’s the inside of a mussel shell and not a purple piece of seaglass.
Move things around and move slowly
Once you have your baseline, start along the waterline—even if it’s low tide—and look for colours that are not shells, sand, or rocks. Some of the best gems are washed up at high tide, so start there. Don’t be afraid to move seaweed or rocks around (the sea fleas might hate you, but I promise they’re harmless) to uncover hidden pieces that were rolled in by the tides.
Sometimes seaglass is obvious, especially on beaches where it’s plentiful. But other times, it takes a little searching and patience to find those highly sought after pieces. And of course, it takes practice.
For example, pirate glass looks just like black rocks on a beach so it’s easy to walk right past a chunky piece. A perfectly tumbled white teardrop could look nearly identical to a dry white pebble or rock.
The key is to scan and move slowly. If you’re breaking a sweat looking for seaglass, you’re doing it wrong.
TIPS, TRICKS, & MERMAID SECRETS
Every beachcomber or seaglass hunter has their tips and tricks to finding their best pieces. And while it might sound a little cheesy, seaglass hunting is a talent you fine-tune over time as your eyes get better at spotting those highly coveted pieces!
To help get you started or to help you improve your seaglass game, here are some of my best tips, tricks, and mermaid secrets to finding seaglass.
Plan around the tides.
There are two very different types of seaglass adventures, depending on whether or not it’s high tide or low tide. While you can find seaglass regardless of the tide, some beaches are only walkable at low tide. It also happens to be when the beach is most exposed, meaning more opportunity to spot some precious pieces that would otherwise be underwater.
Professional seaglassers know the best time to hit the beach is first thing in the morning or right at low tide, before anyone else has had a chance to walk the beach. This is without a doubt when I find my best pieces. It’s also a fantastic way to start the day.
For me, looking for seaglass is my equivalent of meditation or therapy. I love going to look for seaglass when I can have the beach to myself and hear nothing but the sounds of the waves and the gulls.
Don’t trespass on private property or block driveways!
I hate to say it, but some of the best seaglass locations are only accessible by private property.
I know this well because our summer cottage is where I find some of my best pieces without road-tripping to the Fundy Isles, but you guessed it—it’s private property and not accessible from the road without trespassing.
While you may be tempted to try and access the beach through someone else’s property, be mindful that trespassing is just not cool. You don’t want to upset the seaglass karma Gods by being THAT person, now do you?
The same goes for blocking driveways, businesses or parking on private property to access beaches for beachcombing. Just don’t do it. If you can’t find a place to park, reconsider your seaglass route.
Overcast days make the best seaglass days.
Sure, there’s no better beach day than when the sun is shinning and the temperatures are rising. Unfortunately, these aren’t always the most ideal days for hunting seaglass.
For starters, you’re at a higher risk of getting a little too much sun. So if you’re beachcombing on a hot summer day in the sun, make sure to reapply your sunscreen regularly and wear a hat!
But more notably, sometimes seaglass is just really hard to spot when the sun is shining on it. Especially if you’re looking on dry sand or rock. Now the exception, of course, is if you’re walking the waterline as wet seaglass does tend to sparkle a little in the sun.
Never ask someone where they get their seaglass.
This is definitely the question I’m asked ALL of the time. And believe when I say, I really won’t reveal my secret spots 99.9% of the time. Exceptions to this rule are with other seaglass lovers, who may share a secret location with me and we have an unspoken code of trust. It’s a mermaid thing.
So why is it frowned upon to ask people where they found their seaglass? ESPECIALLY seasoned seaglass hunters? Well, for the same reason you wouldn’t ask a fisherman where his fishing spots are located. While you may be tempted to ask a fellow seaglass hunter or beachcomber where they found their prized seaglass pieces, tread lightly.
Most seaglass lovers won’t reveal their top-secret beaches (especially if pieces are limited and rare at these beaches) but they’ll most likely be happy to share more popular seaglass beaches with you.
Instead of asking: “Where do get all of your seaglass?” or “Where did you find that rare piece of red seaglass?” try asking “Do you recommend any beaches for someone interested in seaglass?”
And most importantly, respect someone’s wishes if they won’t disclose a location to you. Believe me when I say, it’s nothing personal.
Pack accordingly for all of your magical finds.
While old-school-Crystal would rely heavily on the pockets of my denim shorts or a sand bucket for beachcombing, I have fine tuned my ways and now typically bring two bags with me for my seaglass. Both are reusable produce bags, but one is smaller without any holes to put my tiniest and most precious pieces. The other is a more breathable produce bag which is great for larger, sandy pieces.
My favourite place to purchasing eco-friendly bags for seaglass—and sustainable grocery shopping—is MacArthur’s Market right here in Moncton! Check them out on Facebook right here.
Alright beach combers! There you have it. My best tried, tested, and true secrets to seaglass hunting in New Brunswick. I can’t wait to see what treasures you find, so make sure to tag me on Instagram @crystal_catherine so that I can see all of your treasures!