Seaglass colours and origins

Seaglass colours and origins

Recently I have been researching the origins of the seaglass I use in Porth jewellery.

As luck would have it, I got speaking to a new customer in her shop who was a wealth of knowledge about old glass bottles.  I hope you find this interesting and informative, giving you a story to your seaglass finds!

Old bottles on display at Marmalade Antiques, Falmouth.

Marmalade Antiques is situated at the bottom of the old High Street in Falmouth.

This is just part of their glass bottle collection which also includes old glass fishing buoys.


A close-up of the bottle display at Marmalade Antiques, Falmouth. Blue poison bottles.Blue glass is always a treasured find as it is less common.  It was used almost exclusively to package medicinal products that were poisonous!  Anything in a blue bottle was not to be drunk and was also textured to help distinguish them and avoid accidental swallowing in the dark.  More commonly this texture has straight ridges down the bottle but there were also a series of spots or raised diamonds.

Seaglass, by its nature of being tumbled in the ocean, is usually smooth but occasionally a piece will turn up that’s still got some ridges or text still visible.


dark – cobalt blue

From different angles these blues can be bright or very dark, almost black.


Right: On this piece you can still clearly see the ‘oz’ text from the bottle quantity.

Cobalt Blue seaglass necklace still showing the letters OZ. Found in Falmouth Bay.


Blue pebble seaglass necklace beach-combed at Gyllyngvase beach, Falmouth.

Cobalt blue

Other Cobalt Blue origins are Optrex eye baths and Vick’s Rub!  Before plastic was widely used, eye baths were made from cobalt blue glass.

cornflower blue

Cornflower Blue bottles were often filled with Milk of Magnesia.


A close-up of the bottle display at Marmalade Antiques, Falmouth. Cornflower-blue bottle.

9 seaglass treasures from the Roseland, Cornwall.


Yellows are notoriously hard to find.  This colour was used primarily in vases, tableware and other high-priced items so would rarely be thrown away.  A yellow piece on a beach deserves a little celebration!

Bespoke ordered yellow seaglass necklace on purple seaglass.


Pale blue-turquoise seaglass ring. Bespoke order using seaglass found by a relative.


Aqua coloured bottles were used more widely.  Medicine bottles which weren’t poisonous were usually this colour in addition to Daddy’s sauce and Eiffel Tower Fruit Juices from Maidstone.  Soda bottles were also this colour.  Aqua sea glass can range from pale greens through to pale turquoise.  Always a favourite here at Porth Jewellery.


A pale blue piece of seaglass in a heart shape, set in silver to form a necklace

A close-up of the bottle display at Marmalade Antiques, Falmouth. Bovril bottles in amber to brown.Amber to brown

Bovril bottles have a wide range of glass from amber through to dark brown.  The majority of brown glass comes from old beer bottles and cleaning bottles.  The light can also appear to change the colour (as seen in the first ring).


White (opaque)

White glass, also known as Milk glass,  is also seldom found, maybe because it is confused with small pebbles or plastic due to the opaque nature.  It was used for a range of cosmetic and toiletry items that would be effected by sunlight.  These can date from between the 1870’s and the 1920’s.  Milk glass was also used to package tooth powder (the original tooth paste) and hair cream up until the mid 20th Century.

White seaglass necklace in a tear-drop shape wrapped in silver with 2 circle jump rings

Clear (white)

Clear glass was mass produced for use as bottles and containers.  Depending on the length of time in the sea and the environment, some of these pieces can appear frosted white – a great colour for wedding jewellery or for those who prefer neutral tones.

An oval white seaglass necklace with 2 circular jump rings attaching it to the chain

Olive Green seaglass ring - bespoke order - Dollar Cove.


Green glass has a range of origins and is one of the most common colours found on beaches.   Beer and soda bottles have been mass produced in shades of green however there is always a chance your green glass is from an old glass fishing buoy.  The shades of green vary enormously.

Green seaglass wrapped in silver, attached to a chain using two circular jump rings.

Thank you to Marmalade Antiques for all the interesting information.

Some of the jewellery featured can be purchased by following the links on the images (some are bespoke pieces and are therefore not available).

2 Responses

  1. Caroline

    I have some pieces of seaglass I found and would love to have earrings made. Is this a service you offer,?

    • admin

      Hi Caroline, yes I do! I will email you so that we can chat about it.

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