Treasures of the Dunes

March 9, 2015

IMG_4852One of the wonderful things about Lake Michigan beaches are all the treasures that can be found.

The sand is covered with snow now, but the weather has been warming up and soon the snow will melt away to reveal all sorts of beautiful stones, beach glass and crinoids. (otherwise known as Indian Beads).

IMG_2226One of my favorite activities is to walk the beach and look for these gems that I can use later for jewelry or simply to put into a glass jar and admire. A couple years ago, I took a class offered by the Indiana Dunes State park and learned how simple it was to wire wrap pieces of beach glass. I was able to create necklaces, which made wonderful handmade gifts to give to friends and family.

IMG_7476Another favorite for me are the rocks with holes in them. They are plentiful along the shores of Lake Michigan and you can easily get all shapes and sizes. These can be turned into a necklace (I have several) by simply wrapping a small wire hoop through the hole and then adding a cord. Sometimes I will take a sharpie and create designs on the rock, other times I just leave them plain. You will find that over time, the oils from your skin will really shine the rock up. I love them and always get compliments on them. Something about wearing a rock around my neck helps make me feel grounded!

So where are the best places to find these treasures? Well I will let you in on a little secret. (but don’t tell too many people!). Just to the east of Portage Riverwalk is a small beach. It is accessible only by boat (my preference is to take my paddle board there!). The beach is only about 1/2 mile long, but it is full of all sorts of crinoids and beach glass.

Central Avenue beach also is wonderful for scavenging, however I am not sure when it will open. It closes for the winter, and should open in the spring, but I know there was a lot of erosion from the storm last fall and I’m not sure what shape it is in right now. I will be sure to let you know as soon as it opens.


Would you like to learn how to make jewelry from your beach glass?

On Sunday, March 15 the Indiana Dunes State Park will be offering two classes. They fill up fast, so if you are interested, reserve your spot soon! You can call 219-926-1390.

Also, Chesterton Art Center is offering a class on March 31. Here are the details…
Beach Glass Wrap Jewelry Class, March 31 at 7:00, $30 ($5 discount if you are a member of the Art Center). Bring your own beach glass or found object to wrap into a pendant! If you don’t have anything, no worries! There will be lots to choose from at the class. Call the Chesterton Art Center at 219-926-4711 to register.

Not sure you can make one yourself? Be sure to stop by Beach Bum Jewels in Michigan City and see all the jewelry they have to offer.

Now let’s get that snow melting so we can head on out and find some fun stuff.

Keep digging those dunes, guys!

~ Eve


Here is a link that covers most of the rocks you can find in Lake Michigan.

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  1. Reply


    March 9, 2015

    Great post. I love the rocks with the holes in them, too! I haven’t made a pendant but I’ve strung them into garland and strung little stacks of them to hang as ornaments. I’ve always wondered why they have holes, though. Any info or theories?

  2. Reply


    March 9, 2015

    How nice of you Eve to share your secrets and talents with those of us who want to attempt to make those great necklaces ourselves.
    They really are lovely and extra special because of the time and care put into making them. Keep digging the dunes.


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Dig the Dunes uncovers all the secrets of the dunes! From trails and beaches, to people, places, events and even the history and geology. Visit our page frequently for fun facts and new adventures for you to embark upon!

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