Friday, July 25, 2008

Collecting Sea Glass

My friend Kevin Kelly, the writer and generator of awe-inspiring ideas, went to the beach in Northern California recently with his family and collected pieces of sea glass. I used to do that with my parents many years ago, and it has inspired me to do the same with my kids.

Last weekend it was cool, gray, misty. We took a two hour stroll along the beach at low tide. It was perfect. The fog was comfortable and comforting. In the pewter light a father and his young daughter were picking up shards of weathered glass from the sand. We looked over their handful. "It's sea glass, " he said.

Sea glass? These bits have a name!?

Now that we had a search image we saw "sea glass" everywhere. We soon had a pocket full. Here's our haul:

A name yields knowledge. When I got home looked up sea glass. Aha! There are books. There are collectors. There's a national association of collectors. And standards for colors. There's a annual convention of sea glass collectors and trade show (next one is in Delaware in October). There are enthusiasts, professionals, feuds. Anything of perceived value will have fakes and counterfeits, and sea glass has those too.