Children–and some adults too–have enjoyed playing with marbles for thousands of years. According to Richard LaMotte author of Pure Sea Glass: Discovering Nature”s Vanishing Gems, marbles have been found with the remains of Egyptian children.
In the United States, clay marbles were mass produced in the 1880s: however, the popularity of marbles decreased in the latter half of the 20th century.
Today antique marble collecting is popular. There is even an organization named Marble Collectors Society of America. The site has a lot of pictures and information about the history of marbles.
Find Sea Glass Marbles
Sea glass marbles are rare. I haven’t found one yet, but I did see a woman find a pretty blue one on Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, California. She let me look at it in awe for a moment before she whisked it away and put it safely into her pouch.
Sea Glass Marbles Generally Decrease in Size
Like sea glass, sea glass marbles usually have a smooth frosting, but they also tend to decrease in size depending on the elements of the ocean and amount of time they’ve spent in the water.
Be Cautious About Buying Sea Glass Marbles
You can buy genuine surf-tumbled sea glass marbles online at sites like eBay and Etsy, but be careful. There are many sellers who use unethical advertising techniques to make it sound like the items they’re selling are genuine surf-tumbled marbles. Artificially tumbled sea glass marbles are more easily and more quickly tumbled because of their round shape.
If the marbles you’re thinking about buying are similar in size and the prices seem too good to be true, it’s possible they’re fake sea glass marbles. Always check sellers’ feedback before buying any sea glass online.
Where Do Sea Glass Marbles Come From and Why Are They So Rare?
It’s likely sea glass marbles are so rare because most children held on to them rather than throw or sling them somewhere. Like most sea glass on the shore, sea glass marbles were likely dumped into the ocean along with other trash. It’s also possible that children used marbles in slingshots on beaches to shoot at seagulls and other sea creatures.
Painters and Marbles
Some painters use marbles to shake and mix their paint. Before people became more concerned about the ecology, painters would dump their marbles in the trash after the paint was used and the marbles found their way to a dumpsite in or near the ocean.
Marbles for Ballast in Ships
One theory suggests that glass marbles were used for ballast in ships because they needed the extra weight for safely transporting goods. On a marble forum, one person said he found thousands of sea glass marbles on an island beach that used to be a busy port for the exportation of rum to Europe. The commenter didn’t disclose the exact location.
Nonetheless, most sea glass collectors cherish their rare sea glass marbles finds and tend to keep them.
Authentic Surf-Tumbled Sea Glass Marbles
Uses for Sea Glass Marbles
Some jewelers use sea glass marbles for earrings, bracelets, and necklaces. Sea glass marbles make nice earrings because they’re usually the same size and shape; however, it may be difficult to find authentic sea glass marble jewelry because of the rarity of finding real sea glass marbles.
Some craft creators use sea glass marbles for things like mosaics, vases, wind chimes, suncatchers, frames and other home decor.
Then there are collectors who just tuck their precious sea glass marbles safely somewhere to be cherished and looked at occasionally.