new-4Seaham England, a small hamlet on the North Eastern part of the United Kingdom yields some of the most sought after sea glass in the world. Collectors have traveled across the world to scour the beaches there in search of these naturally formed beach gems. What makes it so unique?

This is small coastal town in the North East of England not far from Sunderland and Newcastle in Durham County, famed for it’s art glass making history. Though glass making dates back to the Romans in this region, Victorian Era glass dating from the mid 1800’s is a more likely source for this amazing Sea Glass.

Seaham is the home of the now famed Multicolored sea glass (or Multi’s) and as far as we know, one of only three sources in the WORLD for mixed multicolor NATURAL Sea Glass.

There were many glass companies throughout this region but, due to tides, wind and geography, this small stretch of beach yields sea glass from these Victorian Glass factories. The art glass factories around the Tyne and Wear River practiced many forms of decorative glassware and this tiny nook of a beach in Seaham, right in the downtown off the promenade of this quiet village provides some of the finest pieces in the world.

The North Sea is as treacherous, turbulent and rocky. End Of Day Glass is heavily frosted sea gems of distinctive quality. There are several types of glass from this area. Large rounded single colors or Bubbles and boulders, Fisheyes, Marbles, Flash glass and Multi’s.

Seaham “End Of Day” Sea Glass (Art Sea Glass)

“End Of Day Glass” – (the term) came about while conversing with our Brit friend about the origins of this glass… She simply called it sea glass, but I knew it was unique and wanted to find out why this area produced such unusual pieces.

On a trip to the UK, I described it to an English friend as “Slag” Glass (a term I was familiar with having family in the NE Coal mining regions), I was quickly told that “SLAG” was a derogatory name in the UK. It took much research of glass making to find the term “End Of Day Sea Glass”.

Traditionally though, “End Of Day” glass in antique glass collecting is where glass frit (small bits of ground colored glass) is incorporated into and final end piece… producing a multi colored effect. English End Of Day sea glass is seldom like true “End Of Day Glass” in collecting.

Types Of English Sea Glass

slag glass

Modern Slag Glass

Boulders and Bubbles Usually single color pieces that started as huge lumps of slag glass. These were chipped out of vats and discarded whole to the sea.

The characteristics are that they are very round and usually very large (depending on how long they have been rolling around).

Modern slag glass can still be purchased today from modern glass companies and is often used in aquariums for display.


Glass in it’s raw form is a pale green. In most glass making, colorants are used make glass different hues. Blue glass is created from Cobalt (the mineral), Red glass using 14K gold and on and on…

Seaham Multis

Multi Color Sea Glass

In glass production, the colorant is added when the glass is molten or flowing. Raw silica and soda is an off color greenish white. The minerals added to glass when it is flowing are: Cobalt for blue, Gold for red, Copper for greens, and various mineral oxides

A crucible near the kiln is used for the mixing of the mineral and molten glass. These layers build up on the sides of the crucible cooling and hardening. This crucible is usually not cleaned in between batches, production types or even weeks. The various colors become layered on the sides of the crucible. When the crucible IS cleaned and the built up layers of glass discarded (in the case Seaham Sea glass case, in and around the North Sea) these fascinating sea glass gems result.

The best Multi’s are those with 3 or more colors, and our favorites are cross sectioned pieces where the colors are cross sectioned inside the glass instead of layered one on top of another.

The rarest Seaham Multis we have seen have a rainbow of hues and layers!

Pontil (or Fisheyes as they are called in Seaham)

Pink Pontil Sea Glass

Pink Pontil Sea Glass

A punty or pontil rod is a metal rod used to gather molten glass from the kiln. The gather is then worked as an art piece or pressed in a metal mold covered in a mineral called “release”. Colorized glass is then attached to the glass at the end of punty (normally with clear glass or uncolorized glass). Clear glass is the cheapest and therefore predominates the fisheyes found in this area, however, occasionally brightly colored fisheyes bases are found.

In a fisheye piece, you can see how the glass was pulled before being snapped off for final finishing. The Center of the glass remained hot and therefore stretched more as the outside cooled and was more stable. This creates an inside teardrop of color.

Most fisheye or pontil pieces from Seaham have this characteristic though many are just a hint of color on a tip of white. We have several in our personal collection where the bases are hues of aqua and blue, light blues and greens.

Another possibility is the result of a “stringer”. Stringers are used in decorative glass making to apply intricate glass designs. Just like a punty, stringer bases are cheap glasses fused to more colorful and expensive glass. The tips of the stringers would be melted and applied to the object at hand.

Though this is just a theory! They may have originated in a different way. I firmly though believe that due the thickness of most Fisheyes or Pontil pieces, that they were indeed punty tips. Unfortunately, the affirmation of this knowledge has passed with the generation of glass makers that produced these discards.

Flash Glass

Flash Glass – So popular in Victorian English windows Flash Glass is where one color of glass is layered on top of another, then carved to reveal a contrasting pattern. Flash sea glass in distinctly 2 colors (rarely 3). It is even and usually flat having been rolled glass made in large flat molds and used in windows. More unusually, Flash Glass was also used in decorative house wares such as vases and bowls. This glass took a master glass maker to achieve.

Other Pieces

Other fascinating specimens can be found there, items called Whimsies or Friggers in glass making were usually items made by workers at the end of the day to practice their trade.

Items such as glass canes and pipes (impractical but pretty), pitchy dobbers (flat pressed glass used in hop scotch) and glass dumps (paper weights with designs blown inside – our personal find of a sea glass flower dump right) as they were made with glass that would have been “dumped” into the sea. Pieces of failed attempts of these items can sometimes be found on the beaches in this area.


A Sea Glass marble is a rare rare find on most beaches. The marbles found in seaham originated mainly from Codd bottles. These bottles have an internal marble that was pushed to the top of the bottle by the carbonation, thus sealing the opening. These were also made locally, Villa Pop, a Sunderland company who started making soda in the late 1800’s, made Codd bottles from 1900 to 1912, which gives those marbles a direct date.

Though the wares that were made in this factories in and around Seaham varied throughout time.

Colors of Seaham Sea Glass

As a decorative or art glass factory which yielded incredible colors of glass in pinks, baby blues in the Deco Period to specimens of Victorian decorative artifacts can be seen at The National Glass Centre in Sunderland.

In later years, less glamorous objects such as New Castle Ale bottles (a vivid green unlike common green found in the states), Television Tubes, producing a thick gray blue sea glass, and more common colors such as olives and ambers that have distinct color unlike any found anywhere else in the world.

Though the bottle factory also produced the common colors of sea glass, the quality is far better than any we have every seen because of the conditions of the North Sea.