By Rebecca Ruger-Wightman
Teal-colored glass is considered one of the rarest colors of sea and beach glass. It is sometimes confused with emerald green glass or even darker aqua colors, but careful inspection and consideration will usually reveal the true deep blue-green of teal glass and distinguish it from shades that are similar but not exactly the same.
The distinctive factor of teal—as opposed to aqua or emerald, for instance—is that it leans towards blue, or shows a greater degree of blue than green, whereas aqua, even in darker shades, still reflects a greater amount of green than blue.
Sometimes referred to as turquoise, teal glass can be made by adding cobalt (blue) and chromium (green) to the glass during manufacturing to achieve a dark or deep teal. As with any coloring of glass, other factors aside from the additives—such as amount of iron in the sand used and level of oxidation—will affect the final color of the glass.
Like the aqua glass it is sometimes confused with, teal glass was made mostly as utilitarian glass bottles and jars that contained primarily liquids. The remains of teal sea glass found along any beach will likely have come from the mid-19th century to the first few decades of the 20th. Unless it contains some distinguishing mark or pattern that tells you otherwise, it is a good bet that it once held mineral or seltzer water.
Depression glass was also produced in teal, as were ink bottles, wine bottles, and glass insulators. But in all these cases, the teal glass was produced in much smaller batches or overall quantities than the majority of almost every other color of glass, making it one of the rarest colors of sea glass in general.
Consider yourself lucky to find only one piece of genuine teal in as many as 4,000-6,000 pieces of sea glass you harvest!
P.S. Did you know that teal gets its name from the Eurasian teal duck, with a bluish-green stripe around its eye? The word “teal” was first used to refer to the color in 1917.
This article appeared in the Glassing Magazine November/December 2018 issue