While yellow sea glass is a cheerful, sunny color and a rare and lucky find, it’s not as cherished by most collectors and sea glass jewelers as much as red and turquoise.
Odds of Finding Yellow Sea Glass
Like red and turquoise sea glass, few yellow glass shards have found their way onto the shore, making yellow sea glass extremely rare. Approximately 1 in every 3,000 to 4,000 sea glass shards found along the shore are yellow.
Why is Yellow Sea Glass Extremely Rare
Because most yellow glass has been made into specialty, ornamental, and Vaseline glass, most people have hang on to it instead of throwing it away. Another reason for the scarcity of yellow sea glass is not too much yellow glass was mass produced over the last few centuries.
Where Does Yellow Sea Glass Come From
Most yellow sea glass has come from from Depression tableware, specialty glass, pale yellow milk glass, and vaseline glass.
Patrician Spoke Sunshine Amber Depression Glass: Photo courtesy of Catlady Kate’s Elegant and Depression Glass
Yellow Depression Glass
In the United States, translucent yellow Depression glass was popular for the home during the economic Depression and up until the 1940s because it was relatively inexpensive to produce. Many companies manufactured machine pressed tinted Depression glass for tableware. Besides yellow, the tableware also came in different colors such as pink, blue, green, lavender, red, clear, amber, and even black. Depression glass also came in several different patterns.
During the economic downturn in the 1930s, complete Depression tableware settings including salt and pepper shakers, sugar bowls, creamers, butter dishes, platters, and even vases could be purchased at reasonable prices.
Depression glassware was also given away by business to attract customers. Some retail companies that produced products like cereal, flour, and detergent put Depression glass in the containers of their products to increase sales.
Some Victorian stained glass and art glass pieces have been made with yellow glass. Some antique decorative glass products like glass frames, knobs, candle holders, ashtrays, jewelry, and ink bottles were made from yellow glass.
Few drinking bottles have been produced in yellow, which explains why yellow sea glass is so rare as most sea glass found today comes from beer, wine, and soda bottles.
Pale Yellow Milk Glass
Pale yellow milk glass sea glass also known as Custard sea glass is extremely rare. It’s different from yellow sea glass in that it’s opaque and sometimes has gold trim. The main production years were from the 1890s until the early 1900s. During its run, it was not as quite popular as white milk glass.
Vaseline Sea Glass
Some yellow/green glass was produced with small amounts uranium dioxide that caused the glass to glow a bright neon green under a black light. Sea glass collectors refer to these shards as UV sea glass, uranium sea glass, or Vaseline sea glass. The uranium levels in UV or Vaseline glass is so low that it’s not considered harmful to humans.
The peak production years of UV or Vaseline glass were from the late 1800s to the 1900s. UV glass is made today, but it’s rare because it’s expensive to make.
Some light green/yellow Depression glass contains uranium, but it doesn’t glow as brightly under a black light as Vaseline glass. The glow from Depression glass is also usually more yellow than green.
How to Find Yellow Sea Glass
The best way to find yellow sea glass in the United States is to search along beaches where there were large populations of people in the late 1800s and 1900s and where there was a lot of marine traffic and/or dumping of trash near the shore.