Melted Bliss: Bonfire Sea Glass

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WHERE DOES BONFIRE SEA GLASS COME FROM?

Most bonfire sea glass comes from three main sources: beach bonfires, building fires, and controlled land-fill fires.

When sea glass or glass burns at high temperatures–usually around 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit–it melts and blends or fuses with other glass and other materials nearby such as metal and inorganic materials. It also fuses with sand and rocks.

Bonfire Sea Glass

FUSED IN HEAT AND TUMBLED BY THE SEA: THE JOURNEY OF BONFIRE SEA GLASS

After the glass or sea glass has melted or fused together, it begins or continues its journey along the shore into the water where it tumbles and moves around pushed and polished by the movement of the tides against the sand and rocks until one day it makes its way back onto the shore for some lucky person to find it.

Like most sea glass, bonfire glass goes through the same process of hydration where the elements of the water cause it to change and become thicker. If it’s in the water long enough, the chemicals, pH levels, and movement of the water also help it develop a frosty patina that glistens in the sun when its dry.

White and Blue Bonfire Sea Glass

 

BEAUTIFUL OR UGLY?

Some sea glass collectors feel many bonfire sea glass shards gnarled and unattractive, but many others find it quite beautiful and unique. While some shards may have bent and curled edges with embedded sand, rocks, and metals that may make it unattractive, many see bonfire glass as something that adds to the historical significance and beauty of sea glass. Moreover, bonfire sea glass is quite rare.

My sea glass collection consists of thousands of shards, yet I’ve only found five pieces of bonfire sea glass.

 

WHERE TO FIND BONFIRE GLASS

Most bonfire sea glass shards are found along beaches where cities and settlements incinerated their trash on the seashore.

White and Amber Bonfire Sea Glass

 

Have you found any bonfire sea glass? If so, tell us about it in the comment section below.

 

6 Comments

  • Darby Horgan

    I live in Green Bay Wisconsin and know of a place on the Fox River that has more “bonfire sea glass”, or beach glass in this case, than anyone could carry. Ranging in size from small pieces to chunks too heavy and large to pick up. This is no joke. I will try to post some photos later of some of the stuff I’ve gotten from there. And once it warms up a bit more I can post some pictures of the area itself.

  • Rebecca Di Donna

    I have hundreds of pieces of bonfire sea glass. They are beautiful to me.
    I collected them back in the 90’s at Glass Beach, Ft.Bragg, CA. This beach had large cliffs were garbage/tin/glass, etc were dumped then set on fire. 1920’s to I believe 1970’s.
    I have about 30 green, clear with seaweed inside, great bubbles, pieces that are clear and brown, etc

  • Putty Shutt

    I’ve found 81 pieces of bonfire glass here on Topsail Island, N.C. over the last 4 years…love them all

  • Becky

    We live at the mouth of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and have found several pieces of melted sea glass. Maybe they came from bonfires, but since fires on the beach are prohibited in Hawaii, I wonder if these could possibly be glass pieces that burned on the ships stranded in the channel after the attack on Pearl Harbor. There is no way for me to know, but it makes the pieces all the more significant to me…

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