A Sea of Colors

colors of sea glass

Welcome to the colorful world of sea glass!

Sea glass started out as bottles, jars, vases, sculptures, stained glass, glasses, knickknacks, toys, and other glass items that were thrown away and eventually ended up on the shore. The pieces tumbled in the waves for decades or even centuries and were shaped into the frosted glass found on beaches around the world, near oceans, seas, lakes, and rivers.

Just like the original pieces of glass that were thrown in the waves long ago, sea glass, also known as beach glass, comes in every color of the rainbow.

red beach glass


Red sea glass often came from decorative glass pieces, such as fancy platters, vases, and perfume bottles. Early glassmakers used gold to create the red color of stained glass windows. Later, copper and selenium were used to create red beer bottles, car brake lights, boat lanterns, train signal lights, and tableware. Red sea glass is extremely rare. Red sea glass ›

orange beach glass


Orange glass was never made in large quantities, so orange sea glass started as art glass or decorative items, such as vases, fancy plates, and sculptures. Orange glass was also used in reflectors and signal lights on cars. Some orange sea glass came from bright orange and red-yellow Carnival glass made in the early 1900s. Orange is the rarest sea glass color. Orange sea glass ›

yellow beach glass


Yellow wasn’t a popular color for bottles, but was used in art glass, stained glass, and fine tableware. It was also used for glass jars and signal lights on cars, boats, and trains. Some pastel yellow sea glass started out clear, but selenium used when making the glass turned the glass a pale yellow after years in the sunlight. Yellow sea glass is extremely rare. Yellow sea glass ›

lime green beach glass

Lime Green

Most lime green glass sea glass comes from the 20th century. Sodas created from the 1920s through the 1970s were bottled in this bright yellow-green glass. Several beers also came from lime green bottles, but the green glass doesn't protect against light as well as brown glass, which was more commonly used. From the 1800s until the 1950s, some medicinal products came in lime green glass, and lime green was also used in art glass and Depression glass. Lime green is relatively rare, depending upon your location.  Lime green sea glass ›

vaseline beach glass

Ultraviolet Glass

Uranium is the most common ingredient in green UV glass. Vaseline glass, or Canary Glass, is a yellow-green glass mainly produced for tableware and household items from around 1840 up until World War II. Vaseline glass came as glasses, plates, lamps, doorknobs, bottles, decorative items, decanters, and more. The uranium in Vaseline glass gives it the glass its bright-green color in natural light, and causes the glass to glow vivid neon green under a black light. Other colors of glass also glow under black light. UV glass is relatively rare. UV sea glass ›

green beach glass

Kelly Green

Green sea glass is mostly from beer, juice, and soft drink bottles, dark green wine bottles, and sea foam, jade, teal, and olive green bottles of all types. Most glass naturally has a green tint from iron in the sand, but some light green tableware had uranium added to it and glows under blacklight. Most shades of green sea glass are common. Green sea glass ›

teal beach glass


Teal-colored glass is considered one of the rarest colors of sea and beach glass. It is a deep blue-green color and was made mostly as utilitarian glass bottles and jars that contained primarily liquids. Depression glass was also produced in teal, as were ink bottles, wine bottles, and glass insulators. Teal sea glass ›

sea foam beach glass

Sea Foam

The soft and soothing pale green and blue that beachcombers know as sea foam is the natural color that results from iron often found in the sand used to make glass. While many bottles sport this light aquamarine naturally, Coca Cola bottles, canning jars, ink bottles, and more were intentionally made in this beautiful shade. Sea foam glass is one of the most common shades of sea and beach glass. Sea foam sea glass ›

aqua beach glass


Some sources of dark aqua sea glass are fancy tableware, art glass, stained glass, and seltzer bottles. Another source is electrical insulators used on early twentieth century power poles. Lighter aqua sea glass originated from canning jars, ink bottles, and medicine bottles. Aqua sea glass is rare. Aqua sea glass ›

cobalt blue beach glass


Blue glass was used for poison and medicines, such as Milk of Magnesia, Bromo-Seltzer, and Vicks VapoRub, to warn people that the contents should be handled carefully. Ink bottles, perfume bottles, flasks, decorative items, and beer bottles were also made of blue glass. Cobalt and cornflower blue sea glass from these bottles is considered rare. Blue sea glass ›

lavender purple beach glass


Most purple sea glass came from clear glass made in the 1800s and 1900s, when glassmakers used manganese to clarify the glass. Over time, sunlight turned the manganese a lavender or amethyst color. Some of the sources of violet or dark purple sea glass are art glass, decorative glassware, flasks, decanters, or bitters bottles. Purple sea glass is rare. Purple sea glass ›

pink beach glass


Pink sea glass mostly came from decorative glass pieces, such as pink plates, glasses, and housewares that were mass produced in the twentieth century. Selenium used by glassmakers to clarify glass can turn clear glass a peach color after years in the sun. Pink sea glass is rare. Pink sea glass ›

brown beach glass


Brown sea glass came mostly from bottles for root beer, beer, medicine, spirits, bitters, and cleaning products, such as Clorox and Lysol. It comes in a range of colors from light amber to brown so dark that it looks black. Darker brown pieces often contain iron, added to strengthen the glass and protect the contents from sunlight. Iron can turn even darker in the sunlight over time. Brown sea glass is common. Brown sea glass ›

grey beach glass


Gray was not a common color for glass bottles, so gray sea glass most likely originated from tableware, decorative glass, and glass battery jars from the nineteenth century. Some gray sea glass is from old television screens, glass bricks, and glass tiles that were discarded and ended up on a beach.
Gray is one of the rarest sea glass colors. Gray sea glass ›

black beach glass


Most black sea glass started as dark green, brown, red, or blue bottles that were designed to protect contents from sunlight, or from dark purple light bulb insulators. The glass is so dark that it appears black, but holding a piece of black sea glass up to a very bright light usually reveals its actual color. Black sea glass is extremely rare. Black sea glass ›

clear beach glass


White or clear sea glass came from bottles, jars, glasses, plates, windows, and industrial glass of all shapes and sizes. Years of exposure to the sun and air can turn white glass a light pastel color, from yellow to blue to purple to pink, so no two pieces of white sea glass are exactly the same. White is one of the most common colors of sea glass.

Learn more about sea glass and where it comes from

1 comment

I’m a beginner at Seaglassing and I want to thank yall because this page was super informational and I learned alot! Keep up the amazing job…

Tanya Norton December 28, 2019

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