Guest Picks: A Cabinet of Curiosities
Pack your own wunderkammer with a few of these 20 exotic treasures
Cabinets of curiosities first appeared in the 16th century and became popular as men and women explored the world, discovering great wonders along the way. Part natural, part man-made, part fantastical, the collections were meant to awe, shock and impress. Should you decide to create your own, you certainly don't have to spend money — you only need to go outside and find things that fill you with wonder. — Brandi from Not Your Average Ordinary
This light would be perfect for a child who is fascinated with space. In the right spot, it would be an ideal nightlight — though it does look like it needs a name.
Simple but stunning, this blue coral would be a beautiful paperweight or accessory on a mantle.
Animal prints like the one on this tray may be a bit unusual, but they would make a fantastic addition to any formal library.
Whether it's from a mythical dragon or a long-extinct shark, a tooth like this on your coffee table would be an instant conversation piece.
Few objects are more rare or marvelous than a meteorite from space. And they're such a beautiful reminder that we're all made of stardust. I'd keep this one right on my desk.
This is an incredible art piece created from bugs. Your wall will never be the same. And if the real bugs bother you, a similar piece could be created from images of bugs.
Narwhals were the first unicorns, and their horns were popular pieces in people's cabinets. Luckily, this piece could be framed, hung on your wall and admired that way instead. Wouldn't it be cute for a bathroom?
The geometry and the colors in this mineral could hypnotize a guest all night. It's another great trinket for a coffee table.
A bowl of pearly shells like these would help make any seashore-inspired room complete.
This carved wooden antelope head is both a bit frightening and imposing. It would be an easy addition to a library or den.
Strange little pieces, these iron mice would be great Halloween decorations or trinkets for a bookshelf.
For a more expensive beach house or just for bringing some natural glamour into your home, these golden seashells would be the thing, especially on a table. They're also an easy DIY project.
You can have these delicate flower pieces on display without worrying about them wilting. This piece is so versatile; it'd be beautiful in an office, greenhouse, library or living room.
Butterflies display some of the most stunning and vivid colors in the world. Any image of one on a wall or a mantle would have visitors wondering about nature.
These unusual etched bell jars would be perfect for showcasing a collectible piece in a really unique way. You might need a special stand for them though.
A snow white owl is one of the loveliest animals. This faux one would be perfect in the room of any Harry Potter fan, or just as an unusual addition to a library or office.
Some of the most amazing creatures are also the smallest ones. These prints capture insects in intricate detail and would make a wonderful collection of framed images.
Automata were extremely popular with cabinet owners. In one case, an automata wrote out an entire poem. This sweet one, inspired by the Wizard of Oz, clicks its heels together three times and reminds you that there's no place like home.
While you can't capture those troublesome household monsters, you can show off an amazing book filled with hand-sewn images of them. This coffee table book is a real conversation piece.
Ideabook published on Oct. 22, 2011.
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