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Do you have as much trouble sorting your green sea glass as I do? There are probably more different shades of green sea glass than any other color. These colors have been used to describe green sea glass: blue-green, peacock green, jade, apple green, kelly, lime, emerald, grass, citron, olive, teal, mint, soft green, sea foam, moss, etc. No wonder it is so difficult to sort the green glass into my containers or to try to match green sea glass for earrings.
The abundance of green colored bottles is due to the natural ingredients used in making the glass (sand, soda ash, and lime), which generally contains iron impurities. Iron added to the glass-making process produces the green color. The depth of green in the bottle glass depends on the amount of iron found naturally in the sand being used. In fact, to get pure clear glass, the iron impurities would have to be removed.
The most common green color is kelly green. Most of this glass comes from bottles made after 1950. Many modern beer and soda bottles are still being made in this color. If you find a piece of kelly green sea glass on the beach, it is probably from a Heineken, Molson, Rolling Rock, or Sprite bottle.
Although much of the green glass we find on the beach is from 20th century bottles, historical pieces can be found and are considered a treasure. My favorite sea glass find is the piece of teal glass in the photo below. It has been identified as a piece of glass from an 18th century flask.
Darker shades of green were commonly used for red wine bottles. The flavor of red wine is compromised when exposed to UV light. (White wine does not contain tannins, which break down this way, so it does not need to be protected). Another reason red wine is stored in green bottles is that it has more natural sediment, and it is thought that the dark green bottles hide the sediment.
Sea foam or soft green sea glass is another favorite find for the sea glass enthusiast. In the past this color has been found in abundance because the majority of it was derived from Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola bottles. The first Coca-Cola bottle dates back to 1915. By 1920 there were about 1,000 bottlers making the shapely bottle in various shades of green, from soft green to a soft blue-green tint. Some sea glass colors from Coca-Cola bottles can be somewhere between blue and green. You may find it difficult to say which it is.
I think there is a solution to sorting green sea glass. We are using too few containers to do the job correctly. In the future we are going to need 50 containers to sort the “50 Shades”. This should get the job done right!