My Collection of Sand

I had the notion in the Sahara desert. Julie and I were sitting on a sand dune at sunset, and I had the notion to collect some of the fine, red sand in a pill bottle.

I was probably inspired by this scene in The West Wing. President Bartlet visits the home of a former, recently-deceased president. In his retirement, the former president travelled the world, collecting dirt from battlefields where Americans fought and died.

I had no such high-minded ideas–I just thought I’d collect some sand.

Since then, I’ve tried to remember to gather sand from beaches and river beds whenever I’m travelling. I’ve been keeping the sand in random bottles and jars, but I recently bought some old miniature gin bottles from an antique store in Quebec City.

Today I transferred the sand into my new bottles. Here’s the result (click to enlarge):

Here, from left to right, are the sources of the sand:

  • A beach on Cortes Island.
  • A beach near Bocas Del Toro in Panama.
  • A beach in Pacific Rim National Park on Vancouver Island
  • A beach just outside the Old Town of Dubrovnik, Croatia
  • The shore of the Pedernales River in Texas
  • The shore of the L’Orbeau River in Lagrasse, France
  • The Sahara Desert

I need to find some little rubber or cork stoppers for them, and eventually a box or rack to hold them.

An odd thing to collect, I suppose, but cheaper than watches or, I don’t know, Hummel figurines.


  1. Not such an odd thing at least to me as I have been collecting sand for about 7-8 years and have a dozen or so containers of sand from all the places I have traveled. Only problem is I have never found a suitable container to store and display them. I like your bottles where did you get them?

    1. I got them at an antique shop in Quebec City. I cleaned them out of the gin bottles in that size, though.

  2. You need to go to Cape Disappointment, the southwesternmost tip of Washington, and collect some of their black sand. It’s matte black, and magnetic. Very cool collection, BTW.

  3. Not such an odd collection.

    Hour glasses are filled with the sands of time … the grains slip, slip, slipping away until the visit of the eternal sandman.

  4. Hey Sandman, you should use Johnny Cash’s NIN cover Dirt as the theme for a video of the sand bottles image slideshow.

  5. Very Nice Your Collection of Sand !!

    I have been collecting sand for about 4 years. I currently have sand 33 in my country and 18 the rest of the world (America, Brazil, Africa, Europe)
    I wish good sequel to his collection of sand.
    (sorry my english).

  6. Hi!I can give sand from Benin, burkina- fasso , côte d’ivoir ,Lomé and ghana.
    Mail me if you need it.

    1. Hello,

      Can you send me sand from these parts of Africa ?Frank J., Spitz
      1639 Clemens Road
      Darien, Illinois 60561-3510

      Thank you I am just starting out collecting sand and any is appreciated.

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