If seaglass is totally your thing, chances are you’ve found every common colour there is on the shores of New Brunswick.
And while a perfectly tumbled and frosted piece of green, white or brown excites you, you’re secretly hoping for the day you find your first glass stopper, the perfect lavender, or the holy grail—a beautiful piece of red seaglass.
While it’s not known internationally as a seaglass haven, New Brunswick is, without a doubt, the perfect destination to find some of the rarest pieces of seaglass. Or as I like to think of it, a piece of treasure with a story we can only begin to imagine. As any seaglass lover knows, holding a perfectly tumbled and frosted piece of seaglass in your palm is like holding a piece of history.
So what rare seaglass treasures can you find beyond the usual colours we’ve come to expect on our beaches?
Here are six of my favourite pieces to find in New Brunswick!
One of the more sought-after colours for those just dipping their mermaid tail into seaglass for the first time—finding an aged and tumbled piece of cobalt blue never gets old. In fact, after collecting hundreds of pieces of cobalt blues since childhood, I still get excited when I find one that’s frosted to perfection.
Cobalt blue seaglass often comes from medicinal products (Noxzema or Vicks Vapor Rub) but some actually contained poison! Scandalous, right? It’s my dream to find an intact cobalt blue poison bottle one day. (You hear that universe?)
Curious what they look like, you can see one here.
On average 1 in 250 pieces of seaglass is cobalt blue and it’s commonly found on New Brunswick beaches! Lately, I’ve found my best pieces of cobalt blue on Grand Manan and along the Northumberland Strait!
Red is one of the rarest seaglass colours as only one in every 10,000 pieces is red and it’s certainly at the top of most seaglass hunters lists as a piece they must find in their lifetime. Why so rare? Well, manufacturing red glass was expensive back in the day, due to the materials needed, so it was never mass-produced. Learn more about its history here.
Would you believe me if I told you that I found my first piece of red (pictured above) alongside TWO other pieces of red on the Bouctouche Dune? If you’ve been to the Bouctouche Dune, you know that finding any colour of seaglass along that shore is next to impossible most days.
This spring, I also happened to stumble upon two pieces of red on the same beach on Campobello Island, in the same five-minute timespan. So while it’s rare, if you find one, keep your eyes peeled for another. You just never know!
It might not be super rare, but purple or lavender seaglass is easily a favourite amongst beachcombers on account of its pretty hue.
What I love about purple seaglass is how old it is! Most purple seaglass actually dates all the way back to the 1800s, making it a truly precious find. Back in those days, powdered flint (and later, lead) & manganese were added to glass as a clarifying agent in pressed glassware. When exposed to the sun, over time the manganese caused the glass to turn a dusky lavender colour.
When looking for it, you’ll find that it is sometimes more plentiful on specific beaches and coves and entirely absent on others. I’ve found my best pieces of purple seaglass over the years on Stanley Beach on Grand Manan (especially this summer) but I’ve also found gorgeous large pieces along the Northumberland Strait and on Campobello Island!
Clay Pipes may not be seaglass, but in my opinion, they’re just as magical because you KNOW these beauties are dated and from the history books. Plus, isn’t it kind of fun to think about who once smoked these pipes? Could it be royalty? Pirates? Merchants?
I’ve found all of my clay pipe pieces on Campobello Island but I’ve heard of other seaglassers finding them throughout New Brunswick. These pieces originated in England and can be dated somewhere between the 1500s to 1800s.
Whenever I find a piece on beloved Campobello Island, I love to imagine tourists on the island in the late 1800s and early 1900s twirling these between their fingers while having lavish dinner parties and catching the island’s epic sunsets.
Did you know that when I was a little girl, I was far more obsessed with pirates than mermaids? True story. I wanted to sail off and be a pirate. So naturally, as an adult, the idea of finding Pirate Glass that could have once been a pirate’s rum bottle is easily one of my favourite highlights of beachcombing.
So what is Pirate Glass? Well, Pirate Glass appears to be “black” seaglass, but when held to the light it can be brown, green, purple, and even red! The RAREST colour remains Black. Pirate Glass can date back as far as the 1700s to the mid-1800s and is often found where rum runners and merchant ships once sailed. Learn more about its history here.
So yes, you’re not only holding a major piece of history but maybe just maybe you’re holding a piece of Captain Blackbeard’s rum bottle! (Or so I like to imagine!)
And last but certainly not least, the seaglass hunter’s version of le Coeur de la Mer: a seaglass stopper!
Stoppers come in various shapes and sizes and one of the rarest is a pirate glass stopper! I’ve found three in my life, two on Grand Manan and one on Campobello Island. My solid black pirate glass stopper literally washed ashore at my feet at HIGH TIDE if you can imagine!
To find a rare seaglass stopper, visit destinations with a lot of history like Campobello Island or Grand Manan. Stoppers come in various shapes and sizes and one of the rarest is a pirate glass stopper!
Want to learn more tips and tricks to finding rare seaglass? Check out the East Coast Mermaid’s Guide to Hunting Seaglass in New Brunswick! Questions? Find me on my shell phone.