Mermaids’ Tears

For the past four years, we – a family of four, have been collecting Mermaid’s Tears from various beaches, e.g. Virginia beach/U.S.A, Croatia, Baltic Sea, during our annual summer holidays.

It all started in 2003 while we were on Virginia beach, where I read a nice little story in which Mermaid’s Tears were mentioned. Up until that time I had never thought of glass shards, washed up on the beach, as an object of beauty.

But they are – the way they travelled starting with people polluting the ocean and the beach by dumping trash into the water or just leaving the party remnants behind.

Then nature run its course by using wind, water and sand to do its part in refining the trash: it turns the shards into the beautiful gems we then find washed up on the shore. The average time it takes for an angular glass shard to reach its final smooth stage takes between 15 and 60 years (depending on the level of erosion).

Looking for Mermaids Tears keeps our family busy by scouting for good spots and digging in the sand. My children like to look for them while I may sit lazily in a beachside café and they run up to show their little treasures. More often though I go hunting with them.

We have found the most beautiful pieces and they come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and colors with green, light-blue, and white being the more prominent colors.

At home we put them in a glass jar and label it with the date and location. You may also add a couple of stones or shells for variety. It is very decorative, a nice souvenir, and free. And you help the environment by keeping the beach a bit cleaner.

But there are other reports calling any kind of beach trash Mermaids’ Tears. How could you label dented water bottles Mermaids’ Tears? This term only applies to glass shards and nothing else. After all, glass is made from sand.

Poisoning the world’s seas with other waste is a different story.

Sturdy and durable plastic does not bio-degrade, it only breaks down physically, and so persists in the environment for possibly hundreds of years.

To read more on this BBC report click here

Mermaids’ Tears


  1. Hi Maria,

    I just read your tag about the mermaids ‘ tears. I have a bunch, too,
    and i call it beach glass. The term mermaids tears was new to me. For
    a while I incorporated them into the earrings, or made pendants from
    them. I really like them. Better than shells even.

    so long,



  1. […] first post is about collecting Mermaid’s tears – pieces of glass washed up on beaches around the […]

  2. […] and a strong appreciation for all recycled material, man-made and natural. Nowadays I only collect mermaids’ tears on beach […]

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