Strolling for Sea Glass

Sea glass: glass found on beaches that has been tumbled and smoothed by the waves, water and sand, creating frosted shards of glass.

Sea Glass Rarities

Some sea glass rarities are cobalt blue, pink, teal

This past Wednesday evening the shore was clobbered with a torrential storm. Watching the weather is part of everyday life for those that live on the coast, but for a select few it means combing the beach after the storm for treasures of forgotten bottle glass discarded years and years ago and now resurfacing on the beach.

In any type of weather usually on a Saturday or Sunday you’ll see her walking intently usually with her dog and almost always in her usual pose; eyes downcast and searching like a hawk looking for its prey. Christie Calveratti paws at a band of gravel near the low tide mark and spots something interesting. She picks it up examines her findings and determines the age of the brown colored glass by the wear of the surface and cracks. “Beer bottle, before 1980s.” She states in confidence.

For Calveratti who has been collecting glass and beach combing since she was a little girl notes that this has not only been an obsession but a very profitable business raking in over 1 million in sales in 2010. “I started to collect it in the ‘60s when the local mayor encouraged us to clean up the beach. My mom and I would take a walk and pick up trash; it was during these walks that I started to pick up glass because I was afraid someone was going to get a cut on their foot. The glass was usually so worn down that the edges were dull, but the look, feel, texture and color of the glass is what I started to prize.” Her mom created a section in her craft room for storing Calveratti’s glass. “My mom was a very organized woman, she realized that my collection was growing every time we took a walk, so she went to the hardware store and purchased a bunch of plastic bins for me, and labeled the bins according to color.” Today she has amassed an entire room in her home with shelving top to bottom and bin after bin of unique colored sea glass.

It is best to beach comb after a storm, she adds; “not that I love tragedy or violent storms but when the skies turn a little grey and I hear the weather forecast announcing a Nor’Easter I am thrilled . The amount of glass that I find and the age of some of the pieces are astounding. My favorite finds are broken china.” The broken china tells a story adds Calveratti as does most of the glass. China can date back to the late 1700s and was usually lost at sea during fierce storms. “The perfect storm of 1938 and 1962 leveled many coastal towns from Barnegat Light to Cape May Point, each town was hit hard. Many of the homes that were located on the beach were flattened and carried out to sea; it is this China that I often find along with depression glass.” Calveratti shows one of her oldest piece, two tiny shards of Blue Willow china, hand decorated with the distinctive blue and white pattern. “I had a friend of mine that is a silversmith create these earrings for me, aren’t they great? My mind has concocted so many stories from these pieces of china, like who did they belong to or did kings eat off of this china or a master and commander of a ship, was this china his china? Funny, the china is still functional.”

Sea glass specimens are rated on color, wear, or any embossed or identifiable patterns. Calveratti proves her point by showing me the bottleneck of an old milk bottle embossed with the word; “WaWa.” Her collection includes rare glass colors such as orange, red, blue and turquoise . “Red is usually from a car and can fetch over $250 on Ebay.”

Like everything else sea glass is turning out to be less common as more glass is recycled and plastic bottles are converted into the standard operating procedures of the times and our economy, hence the reason behind; “I saw that people loved my collections of glass. My friends talked me into being a vendor at a local craft show and from there the business became a niche. Women seemed to be very drawn to decorating with the worn down glass or turning it into wonderful works of art, I thought wow, this is cool.”

For this beach comber it’s all about being in tune to nature, the environment and the thrill of the hunt. “Even on windy, cold, damp and rainy days I love my job, who wouldn’t want to take a walk on the beach with a best friend and find a treasure?”

Calveratti shares her color rarity scale/ratings with us. On a scale from 1 to 5 {5 being the rarest}.

White -1
Brown – 1.5
Lavender – 4
Green – 1 to 3
Aqua – 3
Turquoise – 5
Pale Green – 5
Cobalt Blue – 5
The rarest of them all with an over 5 rating:
Red, pink, orange and yellow

To purchase online go to


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