Creek Glass

When was the last time you’ve been on a treasure hunt? I’ll bet it’s been a while. But if you ask our granddaughter, Alexis, that question, she’ll be quick to tell you that she went on a treasure hunt not very long ago. And what kind of treasure hunt has she been on? A creek glass treasure hunt.

Probably most folks have heard of sea glass or beach glass that can be found on beaches of an ocean, or maybe you have even picked some up while on vacation in Florida, or even at my very favorite place, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. But the same type of glass can also be found in creek beds, thus the name creek glass. Sea glass, beach glass and creek glass can be best described as broken bits of glass that have been tumbling about in either the surf of an ocean, or the meandering ways of a creek, until any sharp edges have been made smooth by the repetitive motion of the water. This type of glass can be very old. A magazine article I read recently told about a mother who took her daughters to the beach in search of sea glass, and as they looked for these little treasures, she explained to the girls that the country of France lay on the other side of the ocean from where they played in the sand, and in some fishing villages, people used to throw their trash into the harbors. From the trash being disposed of in that manner, the tide coaxed bits and pieces of glass that were thrown away miles from where they ended up, and deposited them along the seacoast. This same thing has happened along creek banks probably as long as the human race has used glass bottles, pottery, and other types of dishes. Broken remains got into creeks and streams, and over the years, the glass and pottery pieces were made smooth as silk by the constant movement of the stream.


Alexis McKenzie Sells on a recent treasure hunt for creek glass.


The first time Alexis was introduced to this type of entertainment, I really thought her interest in finding pieces of creek glass wouldn’t last as that old saying goes "till the water got hot," but she surprised me, and at the end of our search, we had collected more than 100 pieces. It isn’t easy to see these little gems, and most of the time, they are hiding in the creek gravel, which can sometimes be discouraging, especially to someone just learning how these treasure hunts work. Green creek glass is quite common, and there seems to be quite a bit of white and clear glass as well. Deep cobalt blue is much harder to come by. I consider a creek glass treasure hunt very successful if more than one piece of cobalt blue is found. Amber is another color that there seems to be quite a bit of, and pale amethyst and pink are on the rare side too. We’ve even found pale green that probably came from a piece of Jadite saucer or coffee cup. Glass will take on a frosted look when it has been in a creek for a very long time.

If you look on the internet, you’ll find lots of sea glass and beach glass for sale, and every person who has a listing for these just declare it came off some exotic beach and was handpicked by the person selling it. I was intrigued enough to buy a small amount once, and when it came in the mail, I wondered if it wasn’t really the product of one of those tumbling machines that can be bought for the purpose of making glass to be used in mosaic tiles or craft projects.


A sample of the collection of creek glass found on a recent treasure hunt


Alexis and I now have a jar completely full of creek glass, and we’re ready to start on another one. She and I aren’t nearly as good at finding these little hidden treasures as her Pappaw is. He can find a handful before we can even get started.

Treasure hunting for creek glass is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. All you need is a rocky, sandy creek bank or creek bed, something to put your treasures in, and you’re all set. After you’ve gathered a jar full of these little bits of the past, you’ll probably have a favorite one that you especially like, and more than likely will be able to remember where you were when you found it. Try it sometime, and I believe you’ll be surprised at just how much fun you’ll have.