Seeing value in bottles and sand

2013-07-13 00:00

TWO Midlands people have started collecting items that others might throw away without a second thought, but to them these common items have uncommon value.

Sandi Edwards started her perfume bottle collection after going on a cruise in the Icelandic fjords with her mother. On board the cruise, they attended a talk about antiques presented by the people from The Antiques Roadshow. The presenter told them to look out for a few items that could be collected and may later have value.

One of the things he mentioned was perfume bottles that are often thrown away when the perfume is finished. The manufacturers often go to great trouble to design the bottle.

In previous years, the bottle was as important as the scent. Sandi Edwards’ interest was piqued and she began by buying an old Red Door perfume bottle and then she would keep an eye out when she entered an antique shop or second hand store. Soon her collection became quite substantial.

She has over 2 000 bottles and she keeps the nicest ones dusted and beautifully displayed in her home.

“My friends all know about my hobby and they also keep giving me bottles. The range of shapes is varied and also the names of the perfumes are creative and also tell a story. It’s only in recent years that the whole celebrity phenomenon has come into the perfume world.”

A famous French glassmaker, Lalique, designed a range of bottles in the twenties, which are sought after these days.

Today, perfume is linked with fashion, class and success and the perfume bottles reflect this.

Another collector’s passion is kept inside spice bottles. Julie-Ann Har­mer collects sand samples from all over the world. She keeps her samples in empty spice bottles. For her, it is a link to sacred and exotic places she may never get to travel to.

The sand ranges in coarseness and has a range of colours. Her favourite sand sample comes from the island of Glory, which is north of the Comores.

“A friend went there on a yachting holiday and the beach sand is tinged with a pale pink hue from the tiny shells; it looks exotic. I love the texture and the look of my collected sand. In a way, it makes me feel connected to nature and also makes me feel linked to the rest of the world.”

Her unusual collection of sand comes from far-flung places like the Arizona desert and beneath the Egyptian pyramids. When she hears that a person to going to a very unusual destination, she asks them to fill a spice bottle with sand.

A person who collects sand is called an arenophile. Each collector has their own reasons for collecting sand. Some are interested in geology. Others like to learn about the area of the world each sample has come from. Others trade their sand with fellow collectors.

Harmer hopes to travel to Mongolia one day to get a sand sample from the Gobi desert.

“I would love to get a sample of sand from the Moon. Some people have moon rocks … why not sand?”

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