A Cracking Early Christmas Down Under

By Suzy Casement

blue sea glass cat figurine from australia

How do you explain a beachcombing find that you never even had on your bucket list because it was way out of your reach? What do you even call it? A unicorn bucket list find? A sea glass miracle? I just don’t know how to put the chances of this happening to me into words.

I live in Sydney, Australia, and I am fairly realistic about what is out of my league as far as beach treasure goes. At least I was, and now I am thinking: what else could be out there?

We all have our bucket list items: the things you want to find that are usually attainable if you live near the sea, have the right conditions, do your research, and just keep searching. They are usually items like bottle stoppers, marbles, clay pipes, tiny porcelain dolls, perfect cobalt blues, and coveted Codd bottles. The list is long, and the ocean is deep, so you just never know when and where you might find them, but you live in hope. And as you find items on your list, you set other goals for yourself.

I have to say I am blessed to live where I live and have found many pieces on my bucket list, and I am grateful of that. After a recent find of a beautiful fancy stopper, I really was not sure I could even top that find, as I just adore it so much.

beach glass cat

I had been having a great time in recent weeks—with multiple finds of some amazing sea glass—and I was really enjoying myself. In fact, the day I found this piece there wasn’t really too much awesome glass around, the tides were not great, and the swell had died down—so all the things that bring treasure to the shore weren’t perfect. I didn’t actually give this piece a second look, the color of it got me straight away and I thought it was perhaps a well-rounded piece of bonfire glass or a nicely tumbled broken piece. I popped it in my pocket and walked on—the same pockets I had been dropping pieces out of as I bent down to collect glass and rubbish. But it was nothing extraordinary so I wasn’t even particularly careful with it.

I went home and emptied my pockets into a container with the plan to clean them with my grandsons as an activity on babysitting day, something they love doing with me. As I hadn’t had the boys over in a while, I had a huge amount to clean. I took a picture to send to my “seaster” Cassie in Canada to show her the day’s finds. The photo was blurry, and when I look back at it now, you can just see this piece in it. I didn’t get around to sending the picture, as I got busy with babysitting. Some five hours later we went outside to wash and play with the glass. I sorted the day’s finds by color and type: tiles together, blues together, pottery together. And, then I picked up this piece.

I start squealing, grab my phone, and send a voice message off to my friend, Fi, in Tasmania and try to blurt out what it was, knowing only that it was a tiny cat. Fi knew from just my description what it was.

I was in shock, and my kids were feeding off my hype. I showed it to them while videoing it and Xavi recognized it immediately as a cat (though Olie said it might be a polar bear). Fi sent me back messages saying, “Picture please,” then, “Suzyyyyyyyyyy hurry up,” and, “I’m dying—send me a pic.”

I sent a picture to her, blurry again as I am shaking, but it was all she needed. It was a Czech cat Christmas cracker charm, well-tumbled by the sea and beautiful.

blue glass antique cat charm

We went back and forth for the next half hour and it was all so exciting. We were both like giddy children frothing over this tiny piece of glass. Fi was as happy for me as I was and kept on congratulating me—and was also happy to know that her dream of finding a cracker charm one day is now more realistic. I found one here in Australia, so anything is possible. The kids were listening to every word we sent back and forth to each other, and were as happy as we were. I shot a message off to Aussie “seaster” Lainie, adding a picture instantly and she was in shock as well—we were all gobsmacked.

Here I am days later, and I still cannot totally fathom finding this beautiful piece while collecting rubbish and sea glass on the shoreline in Sydney, Australia. A Czech glass charm in the shape of a cat in a brilliant shade of blue? I’m truly beside myself.

glass cat czech cracker charm

Czech glass animal charms were made starting in the late 19th century and were mass produced by many different factories, so it is really hard to get a definite date, but this piece is likely more than a hundred years old.

It’s mind-blowing to think of its journey to my hand, and I shall ponder on this for a long time. There are few people in the U.K., U.S., and the world who have found a sea glass Czech charm. I am in a small, unique group that I never thought I would join.

However it came to me, I will never ever forget it, and I have no idea what could top it. It’s just amazing and I am going to cherish and enjoy it as much as I can. Nothing can really compare to it. The unicorn is real. And I couldn’t be happier.

I’ve theorized how it got here: sent to someone many years ago and somehow lost in the sea off a bracelet or necklace. Or, from a British Christmas cracker sent to a family member who immigrated to Australia. It could have been cast into the sea in honor of someone passing, and tumbled around for decades until I finally found it. However it happened, I’m beyond thrilled.

What I have learned from this is to keep on dreaming, don’t give up. You just never ever know what is in the sea waiting to be found and when your lucky day will come. I actually have a favorite Irish quote: “What’s meant for you won’t pass you by.” And I feel truly lucky and blessed that this did not pass me by.

collection of glass cracker charm animals

See more Czech glass animal charms ›

Learn more about the tradition of Christmas Crackers ›

Learn more about beach-found toys and games

toys and game pieces found on the beach

Learn more about marbles, dominos, dice, toy vehicles, and more found on  beaches around the world. Articles ›

This article appeared in the Beachcombing Magazine November/December 2022 issue.

1 comment

Love your beautiful magazine keep up the good work 🥰👍👍

Laura Dyke February 17, 2023

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