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Seashells on the Beach | Collecting Sea Shells | Rare Seashells

What can you do when you're on the beach and you just aren't finding any sea glass?

Seashells on the Beach - The Wonderful World of Seashells

If you aren't finding sea glass, there's a lot of things you COULD do. Jog, throw the Frisbee, chase sea gulls, go to sleep...

However, if you're like us, you start looking for anything unusual or rare that's on the beach. It Doesn't really matter what it is; strange fish washed up on the beach, bits of driftwood, coral, and, of course, sea shells.

Collecting Sea Shells

cowries, ovulidae, triviidae

We started grouping by shapes - these are from 3 different families, Trividae, Cypraeidae and Ovulidae

That's how Lin and I started collecting sea shells.

Lin wrote a post about this in 2011. Here's the story she told then while living in Los Organos, Peru

I remember on one of our first treks on the beach here in Los Organos finding a large cowry shell in excellent condition between the rocks.

It's the largest shell I've ever found in my life.

I was flabbergasted because usually the shells here get broken up on all the rocks and don't make it intact to the beach, not that size anyway.

Even the locals said that was a pretty rare sea shell to find on the beach.

So, I was pretty proud of myself.

David and I are total amateurs in regard to conchology (the branch of zoology dealing with shells).

However, although we may not know the kind or class of shells, we do know that we're enthralled with the colors, sizes, and shapes that we find.

This has really been great where we are living now.

Seashells on the Beach - A Great Addition to Collecting Sea Glass

Punta Veleros, our local beach here in Peru, goes from one extreme to the other as far as beach glass collecting, ranging from pretty good to very poor.

In our first year here (2010), by March we had found around 50 pieces of really good beach glass, some of it pretty rare.

Even though we didn't consider it a good sea glass beach in general, it turned up many very good colors and quality plus some rare finds such as a first ever (for us) old glass trade bead.

However, this year (2011) we have found almost zip, zero, nada, as far as beach glass goes. Why?

Because of the "La Nina" weather pattern, there has been a lack of any strong waves or currents along the shore, and the sand has not washed away to expose the rocky floor (see What Makes a Good Seaglass Beach).

The seaglass has remained buried beneath tons of sand.

So collecting sea shells has been providing us with a lot of fun while still looking for the rare beach glass.

How we got started, progressively:
  • Looked for scarce seaglass and picked up interesting pebbles.

  • Picked up the larger intact shells.

  • Picked up medium and small shells.

  • Since we would just take them home and throw the smaller ones in a jar or baggy, we just assumed we were collecting many of the same type of shell within a few varieties.

It wasn't until we started spreading them out on the work table that we saw the incredible (to us) assortment found haphazardly during our walks.

There's such a variety of seashells on the beach here. I know there are other places with much more, including some rare seashells.

Collecting Sea Shells                      

One of our nice finds

So now, it doesn't matter too much if there isn't any seaglass that day; collecting sea shells on the beach keeps us entertained...and little crabs, seahorses, driftwood, coral, and the ever-growing mountain of pebbles.

Of course, sea glass is the main reason for our beach hikes but it is just so interesting to find other objects as well.

Collecting Sea Shells - Rare Seashells?

Have any of you ever looked up sea shells on the Internet?

We found a good site, Conchology.be, that deals mainly with shells from the Philippines, but the photos (over 100,000) are from different places and the photos and information are outstanding. You can get an idea there of the more rare seashells.

They've got a full-on encyclopedia with the kind, the class, and the families of sea shells broken down by marine, land, and water and best of all, with photos. If you get a chance, take a look.

Collecting Sea Shells

cowries, ovulidae, triviidae

Lin's nice Cowry shell find

For instance, we learned that our big cowry shell is from the family of Cypraeidae.

After that, we're lost. From the Family name, we can narrow it down to genus that looks like our cowry shell but the species is anybody's guess since they look a lot alike to us.

Could it be a Chelycypraea testudinaria Dark or a Chelycypraea testudinaria Giant or maybe even a Chelycypraea Staphylaea semiplota?

Don't know but we're sure having fun looking at the pictures, and we love the sound of those exotic names. 

Seashells on the Beach Near You?

Not near a beach right now?

Well, take a look at just a part of these shells we've picked up since being here. This is about 1/8 of the ones that we have found worth keeping.

collecting sea shells, collecting seashells, seashells on the beach

The variety would amaze you. I'm pretty sure we've got Conidae, Pectinidae, and Fasciolaridae, maybe even some Terebridae and other words I can't pronounce.

Seashells On The Beach                 
seashells on the beach ovulidae jenneria

Another of our favorites

By the way, are there any knowledgeable sea shell folks out there? We'd love to hear from you on the formal names of our finds.

 I wonder if they will ever come up with a scientific name for sea glass???


Lin Schneider of Odyssey's  linje designs

David and Lin Schneider

Here are some other links you may enjoy:

Return to Odyssey Sea Glass Home Page from Seashells on the Beach

Sea glass photo contest winner
Photo of the Month Winner
January 2015
"Italia Amore!"
Submit Your Photo to Odyssey's  February 2015 Sea Glass Photo Contest

Many thanks to you both for your time and insight!

I love your page. It's been a great resource in my hunting!

All Best, Amanda in Connecticut

Hi David,

I received your sea glass hearts and I LOVE them all.

Thank you so much for sending the extra hearts.

I was so touched by your thoughtfulness and I appreciate you sharing these special gifts from the sea! Hope to see more of your sea glass soon!

Thanks again,


Hi David,

Just wanted to tell you thank you for the monthly sea glass newsletter. I love it, and look forward to it.

Thanks again to you and your wife.


Hi David,

I just wanted to let you know I appreciate receiving my sea glass order so quickly.

Love the flowers, wave crest & rare pastels and the little extra surprise....you made my day!!


I am so fascinated by sea glass - I can’t believe at 70 I found a new hobby.

Thanks for the opportunity to search and read up on this!


Your site made me so happy tonight! Why?

Many happy memories swirled back into my mind when I saw your pictures. I spent my childhood on the beaches of Cape Cod and we spent many happy hours looking for sea glass."


It is a pleasure and refreshing to meet people in the sea glass community that are willing to share! I got some great tips from your site. It was wonderful not to spend my entire vacation looking for a beach. Thanks again!

Maryanne K.W.

Hi David and Lin.

Love your sea glass web site. I enjoy your picture of the month and intend on winning at least once.

I have been collecting and creating things from sea glass for over twenty years. I find my sea glass on the beautiful shores of Lake Erie in Cleveland Ohio.

Thank you for sharing your treasures with me. Yours truly,

Cathy Lincks

What an AWESOME site! I love reading about it, looking at all of your pictures, and planning my next vacation to the perfect beach.

Keep up the great work!


I’m a new subscriber to your newsletter and I love it!


Hi David,

Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your newsletters.

I never even knew about sea glass before 2 years ago, now of course I'm hooked, love it, just love it.


Hi David and Lin - I love your website! Thank you for sharing info...


Hi David. Its Bill and Joan Laverick, Durham City, North East of England. We love reading your posts. Keep up the good work!

Bill & Joan

I soo look forward to reading your blogs.

Jacqueline Giguere

Just wanted to let you know (since you were so helpful) that I won a blue ribbon (1st place) in Gifford Middle School Science Fair in the category of Environmental Science with my topic - Effect of a Florida Tidal Inlet on Wrack Line Sea Glass Volume.

Now, I will compete in the Regional Science Fair which will take place on Feb 2nd. My mom and dad and I had a lot of fun searching for sea glass.


Mary Hyde

I am beginning to be a typical sea glass hunter - always looking for fun places to find glass!

I think your site is great - very informative - thanks for the time and effort you put into it.


I am beginning to be a typical sea glass hunter - always looking for fun places to find glass!

I think your site is great - very informative - thanks for the time and effort you put into it.


I love your email newsletters. I am 77 and try to get "glassin" whenever anyone will take me to the beach!! :-))

P. Paul

Hi David

Just wanted to tell you thank you for the monthly sea glass newsletter. I love it, and look for ward to it.

Thanks again to you and your wife,

Judi Weber

Hi David and Lin!

I SO enjoy you newsletter! Please forward it to my sister. I've got her hooked on the beauty of sea glass!

Thanks in advance! Happy foraging.

Joan D

Hi David and Lin,

I have shared your website with my other sea glass fanatic friends over the last couple of years and they love it as much as I do.

Yours is my favourite website of all time and the very best website I've seen for everything sea glass.

I can lose myself for hours in your website. Dangerous place!

Anne O, Toronto

Thanks so much for the information.

I visited Carbon Beach today.

Very small and few people but a nice supply of glass just as you stated.



Hi Lin and David,

I have come to sea glass via my shell collecting and am finding it very addictive too. Last year I found a glass bottle stopper which was a thrill.

I really enjoy the newsletter and can easily spend an evening getting lost in the stories and comments.


Anne Cram

Just wanted to thank you for all of your helpful information.

The sea glass community is filled with people who guard their secret beaches so it is refreshing to see that there are people who are willing to share.

It's so useful for those of us that don't live near a beach and travel to find our glass.

The information posted here lets us spend more time enjoying our adventure rather than wasting time looking for a great spot

Thanks again,

Anonymous Viewer

Gee, my heart races when I hear about all these marvelous finds.

Kudos to this wonderful site and for those who share their finds.

You've got a friend in me,

Norma Myrphy

I love your site, thanks for all the wonderful info.

I'm looking forward to my new hobby and participating in your odyssey Seaglass forum.



David & Linda,

So wonderful to have crossed paths with you and thanks for sharing your expertise on sea glass along with your wonderful website.

Ann & I have caught your infectious seaglass fever! Hope to cross paths again soon.

Happy and safe traveling!

Richard C. Wong · Portland, Oregon

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