Case of curiosities

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The four lids on the case open to reveal 11 curious objects. These range from the pre-historic, through the ancient, to the futuristic. Some are literally from out of this world, some a record of creatures that have inhabited our earth in the distant past and others were created by natural phenomena. Some were created in an instant, and others evolved over millions of years.

Scroll down to see details of the objects.

Insect in amber

Insect in amber
Origin unknown. Probably from the Baltic Region.

Meteorite fragment

Meteorite fragment
Part of the Nantan meteorite that landed at Nandan in the county of Guangiu in 1516 during the Ming dynasty.

Pyritised Iguanodon Bone

Pyritised Iguanodon Bone
From the Jurassic period. Found in Utah, U.S.A.

Moldovite

Moldovite
Tektite, that formed from a meteorite that melted on impact with the earth 15 million years ago. Found, Czechoslovakia

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Electronically crystallized Bismuth

Electronically crystallized Bismuth
Laboratory grown in Europe in the 20th Century.

Malachite Nodules

Malachite Nodules
Copper Carbonate Hydroxide mined in the Congo.

Dyed blue coral.

Coral
Dyed blue and tumble polished.

Silver Roman coin

Silver Roman coin
Featuring bust of Gordian III. Reverse shows Laetitia, standing left holding wreath and anchor.
Minted about 240AD

Fossilised Shark’s tooth

Fossilised Shark’s tooth
Lamna Obliqua. Cretaceous period. Found Morocco,
North Africa.

Fulgurite

Fulgurite
Fused Quartz tube, formed by the action of lightning striking the earth and melting sand. Found in S. W. Egypt.

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With this piece, I wanted to assemble and display a group of objects that could have been collected on a lifetime’s journey. These have been bound into a whole. Held together in their own traveling case, which has a magical character all of its own. It could be thought of as some kind of toolkit, for a mystical traveler through history, or a treasure chest recording the story of a lifetime’s memories.

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Creating this grouping of objects has been a journey for me as well. I was taught how to stitch leather by my Great Uncle Albert whilst visiting him in Australia 25 years ago. I used the tools and materials that he gave me to stitch the salmon skin pouches that each object is held in. About the same time I came across the shagreen covered scientific instruments held in the Oxford science museum. I had imagined that the material would not be commercially available any more, but have eventually managed to source some, which I have used to line each compartment.

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Each of the objects is protected by a red salmon leather pouch. The pouches each fit in their own compartments which are lined with shagreen. The Salmon leather and shagreen, or stingray leather, are byproducts of the fishing industry and would otherwise be thrown away.

Salmon leatherShagreen lined compartment.

18ct gold maker's mark.

In the centre of the case is a recess that houses a 10X magnifying lens that is used to view the objects close up. I have signed the piece by punching my registered maker's mark into a disc of 18ct gold in the centre of the recess.

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