Mermaids and Man-Made: the Mythology Behind Sea Glass

Posted by Lita Sea Glass Jewelry on 5th Dec 2016

Just eight miles north of Mendocino, California, there's a portion of coastline along Fort Bragg that's home to one of the largest treasure troves of sea glass in the world. However, there are a few different stories as to how it got there.

The Facts About Sea Glass

In truth, many of the beautiful sea glass beaches around the world are a result of human pollution. In the past, people would throw garbage -- mainly glass -- into the ocean, using it primarily as a dumping ground. What they didn't know was that after a few years out at sea, currents could bring that glass back in the form of tiny, frosted treasures.

Believe it or not, things like sea glass bracelets and authentic sea glass charms are actually a result of humans and nature working together, although humans may not have had the best intentions. Despite that, there is a more popular story as to how sea glass is formed, and it's one that is told to children all over the world.

The Mythology Behind Sea Glass

In many cultures, sea glass is also referred to as mermaid tears.

The mythology of mermaids is, of course, that they are half woman, half fish. While some tales focus on promiscuous, siren-like mermaids, this particular fairy tale focuses on a more Disney-esque version of the mythological creatures.

Folklore often refers to mermaids as guardians of sailors, saying that they would swim alongside a ship to guide its passage and protect the captain or sailor that they loved. However, Neptune, the Greek god of the sea, was jealous of the sailors because they received the mermaids' affection while he did not.

If a mermaid fell in love with a sailor or a ship's captain, Neptune would banish her to the depths of the sea where she would weep for her lost love. Her tears, a result of a broken heart, were said to crystallize and make their way to shore so that their love might find them and keep them as tokens.

Although it's simply mythology, it certainly is interesting to think that different types of sea glass charms and sea glass bracelets could have garnered such interesting folklore. So next time you're looking at sea glass rings or charms, you'll have something to think about.