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Uranium Seaglass

Natalie Nebilak

I was recently gifted a handheld blacklight for purposes of finding uranium seaglass, so I thought I would take this time to share a little bit about these glowing beauties!

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Grateful

Natalie Nebilak

This year seems to be slipping past me at a speed I can’t keep up with. In some way, I feel as though time has been stolen from me. Two surgeries and a cumulative few months recovering, and the countless days spent in bed, in pain, unable to participate in my own life. I miss wandering for hours in the sand and the rocks, searching for sea glass, searching for peace…

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Desert Glass - Mojave

Natalie Nebilak

Ahhhhh, the desert. So quiet, so open. Being in the desert allows us the rare opportunity to simultaneously feel as if we understand the bigger picture of the universe, and at the same time feel so small and insignificant. I spent a decent amount of time in the deserts of California and Nevada as I worked my way through a B.S. in Geology. Even though I received my degree from a Northern California University, we always traveled to the desert for our field research. It's just easier to see the rocks when there is little to no vegetation covering it. 

My most recent trip to the Mojave was compliments of an invitation by one of my past professors. It's a place I have been a few times before, a special little retreat nestled between two rocky outcrops. For purposes of preservation of this beautiful land, I won't divulge the exact location. But I can tell you it is in the Mojave desert near some old mining camps (yeah, I know this could be anywhere, that's the point of being vague). 

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While on my past trips to this location I had been consumed with mapping and rock/mineral identification in the interest of scholastic advancement, this time I was free to roam. And I new exactly where I wanted to go.

I'm a treasure hunter. Usually my treasure is found in the surf and on the beach. I'm talking, of course, about seaglass! But there is treasure to be had in the desert as well. Back in the early 1900s, parts of the Mojave were mined for silver ore and talc (among a few others). And with mining and mining camps comes trash... really old trash. And that's what I was after. I love finding old poison bottles and coke bottles. Unfortunately we didn't find any intact. But we did find lots of broken pieces and shards.

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One such pile of glass looked as if all the pieces might still be there, a shattered array of cobalt blues. I collected them all in the hopes of maybe putting this puzzle back together. Alas, I was missing several pieces but I did have enough to make a possible comparison with a bottle I found on the internet. The pieces I found were most likely that of an old cobalt poison bottle that might have stood about four inches tall and had ribbing on the back with a flat surface on the front for a paper label. 

To my delight I also found a abundance of purple glass! As mentioned in a previous blog about seaglass color rarity, the purpling of older glass is the result of the magnesium dioxide added to the glass when it is made. Exposure to sunlight and ultraviolet rays over a long period of time causes the magnesium dioxide to turn the glass purple (via chemistry I don't understand). 

One of the larger purples I found looks like it might have been an insulator at one point. Either that or the base of a large bottle. But my money is on insulator. Smaller pieces of purple that were found had ornate embellishments. I haven't yet been able to identify what type of container they may have come from. 

Large seafoam pieces were also found, and man are they thick! A few pieces had more detail on them; decoration for the bottle. But the pièce de résistance were the two bottle stoppers that we found! Go figure! I've been trying to find a bottle stopper for years, and I had to go all the way out to the middle of nowhere to find them! One even had old lettering on it; Lea & Perrins. Turns out this company is still in business making worcestershire sauce, lol. But the stoppers we found are probably from the late 1800s - early 1900s. Here's a fun fact: Lea & Perrins is the is the oldest commercially bottled condiment in the U.S. 

It was such a wonderful getaway, and I can't wait to go back. The desert has always been a refuge for me. I used to call it my ocean of sand. The detritus that comes off the mountains creates a sea of alluvium, and I just love getting swept away in it. 

Seaglass Origin and Rarity

Natalie Nebilak

Have you ever wondered where your seaglass came from? I mean, ok, yeah it's coming from the beach. I mean farther back, like what was it before it was actually seaglass? And why do you find more of some colors and less of others? Todays post will help answer some of those questions. So pull out your collection and see if you can match up any of your favorites to the colors we're talking about today! 

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Glass Beach - Kauai

Natalie Nebilak

Now this is a beach I'm particularly excited to share with you. Reason being, I've actually been there! Kauai is one of my most favorite places on earth, and I have been fortunate to visit a handful of times over the years. But my love for all things seaglass didn't really start until a few years ago, so I never even knew about it until quite recently. And in fact, if you didn't know Kauai had a glass beach, you'd never find it. 

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Glass Beach - Fort Bragg

Natalie Nebilak

There are several "glass beaches" in the world, and I've decided to dedicate blog posts to some of the more notable ones. Pretty much without fail, at least two or three folks at each event I attend will ask, "Have you been to that glass beach up there in Fort Bragg?" In short, no, I haven't. But since this particular glass beach has received so much attention from my fans, I thought this would be a perfect place to start my "Glass Beaches Around the World" blog series. Also, I was born and raised in California. So, it just makes sense. 

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The Jolly Rancher

Natalie Nebilak

We don't always have good hunting days here in my little beach town. For whatever reasons, be it the tide or too many hunters, sometimes you just have to go home with a few pieces in your pocket. Of course I'm always thankful for whatever I find, even if it just the sunset or a morning walk on the beach. But most of the time, I leave feeling like I've left a seaglass friend out there because I just could find them. 

And then there are days where I'm just about to head back, and I find this...

A beautiful ruby just waiting to be discovered! Red is so uncommon around here it's like finding a unicorn! I was so happy I almost peed my pants (k, not really). This piece has earned the nickname "The Jolly Rancher". And I find this nickname to be completely appropriate given that every time I see this beautiful baby I feel downright jolly! 

So yeah, some days suck, and some days you feel like you've struck seaglass gold. Life is all about balance. We have to give along with the take. In the end I'm thankful for anytime I get to spend on our beautiful coastline. And for all you hunters out there, can you do me a favor?? While you're hunting, please bring an extra bag with you to collect trash. Let's keep these beaches clean for our children and our children's children. 

Happy Hunting! 

A Foggy Saturday Morning

Natalie Nebilak

It's been two weeks since I've been able to get my toes in the sand. This morning the tide bowed out and the hunt was on. I was greeted by an empty beach with endless piles of pebbles to search through. And my seaglass friends came out to play in droves. 



I have been so grateful for these quite mornings, and it never for a moment escapes my notice that I am blessed to live among such beauty. When I was a little girl, I dreamed of the beach. I longed for the soft sand and the blue water. Originally from the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, I some how knew that my destiny was here, at the edge of the world, looking out over a vast expanse of slate blue gray. The sky and the sea become one in the distance as the world holds its breath.  "Remember this moment", it whispers.