Red is the hope diamond of sea glass and will make any beachcombers day, week or year.
Just why is red so hard to find? Why is it rare?
Red falls into 2 categories: Ruby Red and True Red . True red was glass made with gold. Ruby red was made using copper. Since copper is MUCH cheaper, the chance of finding it much better as it was used for more commercial items. It was mainly used for decorative wares and was much more expensive.
One of the most common sources for ruby red was made by the Anchor Hocking Corporation for both decorative household items and in the 1950's a beer bottle. During this period, Anchor Hocking manufactured many items including but not limited to vases, goblets, bowls, plates and decorative wares but the most likely source for found ruby red is the beer bottle, the most common sources for this glass was made by Anchor Hocking Corporation for both decorative household items and in the 1950's Schlitz Beer bottle.
Anchor Hocking discovered a way to use copper to turn glass a red hue instead of the traditional gold, making the cost of producing this much more commercially feasible. While Ruby Red has been made throughout history, Anchor hocking found a way to produce it much cheaper and available to the public.
True red made with gold instead of copper. Therefore this beach gem really is a treasure. This is the most coveted of colors. The most likely origins were lanterns, automobile lights and marine lights and channel markers. Since these wares were much more expensive, less of it was discarded into the seas.
Though Ruby Red dates back to the 1600's and later became known as the "Purple of Cassius." The exorbitant price which this reached and the efforts needed to produce it could hardly be justified by its beauty, but the enchantment connected with gold caused it's demand.
However, the Romans made gold ruby long before then. The famous Lycurgus Cup, made in the 4th Century AD., Contains both gold and silver. An perfect example of the glass-making skills of the Romans, it now can be seen in the British Museum in London.
Whether you find the True Red Sea Glass or its cousin Ruby Red Sea Glass, finding a piece can make a sea glass lovers day week or year. It has been assessed at 1 in 5,000 pieces of found sea glass, meaning, if you find 5,000 pieces, one may be red.