Help Solve a Beach Mystery
We get lots of inquiries from beachcombers trying to identify their beach finds. Sometimes we can help find out what someone found on the beach, but sometimes even experienced beachcombers can't help us figure it out. So, we're hoping this page helps harness the collective knowledge of our worldwide beachcombing community to solve these mysteries from the beach.
Have a question?
Please email photos, location, size, and any other information and we'll try to identify your beachcombing finds.
Have an answer?
If you know what something is on this page, comment below or email with your ID!
Glass intaglio showing a woman with pitcher found in Massachusetts
Melissa found this beautiful carved glass piece with a woman with a pitcher (and a...plant?) on the beach in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Comment below or email if you know what it's from!
Cork circle from Shetland
When Shona's dad was walking a beach in Shetland, Scotland, he came across this cork and metal piece. Do you know what it might be?
Grey Sea Glass from Hawaii
Melanie loves combing a tiny beach in Hawaii where she finds both grey and yellow sea glass every time.
The grey is almost always thick and she has found many pieces that are a half circle like the bottom of a bottle, with rows of small dot depressions on some pieces. They are mostly a dark true grey. Can you tell her what they are from?
This beautiful green piece was found on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. The inscription is from the 1800s song “O Logie O’ Buchan.” Since the engraving is right-reading, it isn't a wax seal. Do you have any ideas of its age or provenance?
For the full story and more photos read Mystery on the Beach.
Beach pottery from Lake Erie
Amy is wondering what this piece of beach pottery she found near Cleveland might be. Is it part of a figurine? A piece of industrial ceramics? Let us know if you can identify it!
Weird fossil found on a Monterey Bay beach
Dorrie found this caramel-colored fossil on the beach in California. Any ideas what it might be?
Bumpy stone found in Maui, Hawaii
Can you identify this strange object Bob found while beachcombing in Maui, Hawaii? It appears to be made of stone, possibly a soft one. A professor at the local university looked at a picture and is certain it’s not native Hawaiian. Any ideas?
Glass Shards found near Toledo Ohio
These two pieces were found near the Maumee River on the shores of Lake Erie near Toledo. Can anyone identify them or the embossed design on the bottom? Does it say EMTOB? Is it EMB with a T shovel in a hole? We welcome all guesses!
Animal or Plant? SOLVED
Does anyone recognize these round things Ralph found on the beach near Darwin Australia in January 2023? The left photo shows when they are wet, the right after a day drying. When they were wet, they were about .75 inches (2 cm); dry they were about .5 inches (1.5 cm). SOLVED: “I have been looking at books and they could be related to bluebottles — they could be Velella or Porpita, that have lost their color and tentacles.”
More help identifying your finds
- If you are lucky enough to discover something on your own beach that you suspect might be of historical or scientific significance, please contact a local history or natural history museum or organization to find out more about your find. Local organizations have knowledge about who and what has lived in your area in the recent, ancient, and prehistoric past and are best suited to pinpoint the origin of your find.
- Check the Resources page for a list of online information sources for identifying glass, shells, fossils, and more.
- Bring your find to a beachcombing event and see if anyone there knows what you have found. Many sea glass and seashell festivals are filled with collectors who have extensive knowledge and love being asked to help you identify your special finds.
- Sometimes it's not clear if you have found something made of stone, glass, or something else. If you can't identify the material that your item is made from, contact a jeweler who does appraisals and might be able to determine if your find is glass, stone, or maybe even a precious gem.
- If you have found something special, consider making a gift of anything particularly interesting to an organization that accepts donations. It’s a great way to have your find appreciated by a broader audience, contribute to research…and clear out space for more beachcombing treasures.