Maine beachcombers all have experienced the thrill of stumbling upon a piece of glass or pottery made smooth by the ocean’s waves.
To some people, seeking out these small treasures is a serious hobby, bordering on addiction. They take on the name “seaglunker” with pride. C.S. Lambert of Owls Head has been a writer, editor and expert seaglunker for more than 30 years.
In her “Sea Glass Hunter’s Handbook,” she combines advice and trivia about sea glass hunting with personal stories and photographs from people around the world.
One of the first things that comes to mind after discovering a piece of wave-beaten glass or pottery is: “Where did this come from?”
Though there usually is no way of knowing, Lambert offers possibilities of sea glass origins based on history and geography. The creation of a piece of sea glass could be simple: a waiter tossing a bottle from the balcony of a waterfront restaurant. But it also could be a shipwreck relic — and the possibility is more likely than most people imagine. Lambert inserts a map of shipwrecks in one Massachusetts harbor as evidence of the treasures littering the ocean floor.
Like any profession or hobby, sea glass hunting has its own terms and jargon. Lambert’s lexicon defining these terms at the end of the book is humorous and informative.
Summer is defined as “too many tourists on the beach” and debris simply is “not sea glass.” “Clinkers” or “dunkers” are “fragments that need to be thrown back into the ocean,” while a “Holy Grail” is an orange piece of sea glass.
People who use these terms hunt for sea glass and ceramics for various reasons. Many are artists or jewelry craftspeople who use the material in their creations. Dozens of websites and international conventions dedicated to the activity are proof of its popularity.
If you’re a seaglunker, this book is informative and may give your imagination some new material to work with the next time you spy a piece of glass glittering in the sun. For those who don’t hunt for sea glass, the book might inspire you to take a trip to the beach. Maine, with 3,478 miles of tidally influenced shoreline, has plenty of beaches to search.
C.S. Lambert is author of “A Passion for Sea Glass” and “Sea Glass Chronicles.”