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Rockin’ My Rock Collection + How To Get the Look for Less

I was (and still am) that nerdy kid who had a rock collection.  Who spent a day at the beach stuffing her pockets full of rocks.  Who had a rock tumbler (like Ross).   Who, as a married adult, realized she could bring home twice as many beach stones if she made her Hubby stuff all of his pockets full of rocks too.

With passion like this you can imagine my delight when, every few years, rocks pop up as hot design elements.  Right now, there’s lots for me to ogle: 

Viva Terra: $59-65


Swank Lighting: $4250 (yikes)


Rablas: $152


Om Decor: $825 (yikes)

Rocks are definitely hot right now, but have you noticed that some stone accessories are really expensive?   With some of the most coveted pieces out of my reach, I recently unearthed part of my childhood rock collection:

They’re small, but they sure add sparkle!  I haven’t decided on a spot, but for now I thought they look nice in the guest room, where large-scale abstracts demand more subtle accessories.

Want some rocks of your own? Get the look for less!

Think Outside the Decor Stores:

One tip is to avoid home decor stores and head to museum gift shops, science stores and stores for kids.  The prices will likely be more reasonable (I’m pretty sure my trio is from a science-themed gift shop).  You could also contact a lapidary or mineral club in your city, as many host lapidary sales and know of good sources.  I even found a box of amethyst at a yard sale – another item I need to bring back from my childhood home.

Mine Your Own Stones:

Some cities, like Thunder Bay – my hometown – have active mines, like the Panorama Amethyst Mine, where you can spend a day and collect a bag full of stones (in this case, amethyst) for a fraction of the cost ($8.00 entry fee and only $3.00 per lb.).  As an added bonus, mining amethyst is something fun and different to do! 

Photo of Amethyst (middle) from Canada-Photos; Photos of Mine from Panorama Amethyst Mine

Group a Collection of Smaller Stones for Bigger Visual Impact:

Much of my rock collection consists of smaller specimens (chips, really) which are less expensive but also make less of an impact, visually.  But I saw this photo and thought that perhaps smaller pieces could be affixed to an all-white shadow box, or inside an inexpensive Ikea frame (like my DIY needle-felted wool abstracts), to create a scientific-looking grouping with a more impressive “wow” factor.  Next time I visit my childhood home, I’m going to find the rest of my rock collection and whip up a stylish DIY display.

Etsy Cori Kindred: $62


DIY Your Own Faux Rocks:

I think making some faux rocks would be a fun DIY project.  I’ve seen faux specimens crafted from wood, fimo bead clay, and some materials you might not think of.

This fimo clay tutorial is fabulous and I think a giant version could easily be made as a decor piece, using the same technique applied for making jewellery-sized faux stones.

Fimo Clay Tutorial by Aesthetic Outbust

These faux faceted rocks, made from reclaimed wood, look so organic but also really modern – like an art installation.  Someone handy with wood could craft stones of various sizes from wood scraps and then paint the finished products white or maybe a saturated, gemstone-inspired hue.

Post 27: $16

Begging for a rock-paper-scissors pun or joke, these faux gemstones made from just paper are one of the hippest paper crafts I have ever seen.  Can you imagine how much kids would love these?  Forget kids – I love these.

Paper Rock Tutorial by Mini Eco

And the crowning glory of DIY rocks: a tutorial to grow your own crystals on an egg.  From Martha Stewart, unsurprisingly.

Grow Your Own Rocks by Martha Stewart via Mini Eco

Do you have any rocks on display?




  1. Martina
    February 13, 2012 / 1:47 pm

    These are some great ideas to add colour and form to any decor. We have a very large piece of Amethyst That my husband collected when he was a kid from the Thunder Bay mine being used as a doorstop (it is huge). Eventually it will probably make it's way out to the cabin, as most things with no real home do.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      February 13, 2012 / 1:54 pm

      Really?!? That is awesome. When anyone has been to my far-flung home town (city, really), I'm blown away. Haha. And this is proof-positive my tips rock, lol.Put that rock on display, somewhere prominent, so I can drool from over here.

  2. Nette @ This Dusty House
    February 13, 2012 / 2:51 pm

    The crystal eggs are kind of amazing. I'm sure you could grow those in other things too! Might have to consider that one… My grandparents have a whole whack of amethyst and other rocks picked up on their various travels. I always loved them when I was a kid and, turns out, I still think rock collections are beautiful!

  3. Sudha
    February 13, 2012 / 3:43 pm

    i have a small amethyst and its a priced possession of mine…my parents bought it on our trip to a place called Ellora, in india. I have been having it since i was 12:)

  4. Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
    February 13, 2012 / 3:56 pm

    It's so nice to hear how sentimental rocks can be – I love that!

  5. kilbournegrove
    February 13, 2012 / 4:01 pm

    I love rocks as well. I just spotted an amazing mirror in Barbados, agate and turquoise, gorgeous, and only $10,000.00, lol. Your stands for rocks are sweet, where ever did you find those?

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      February 13, 2012 / 6:11 pm

      Only $10,000? Lol. The stands were bought with the rocks – so I think lapidary stores, kids' stores, etc. might be the best bet for similar styles.

  6. Carol@TheDesignPages
    February 13, 2012 / 6:09 pm

    I love them as well. I totally agree that kids stores are a much cheaper place to pick up some beauties. I LOVE the framed rock idea.

  7. Beth
    February 13, 2012 / 7:13 pm

    I have an agate collection, mostly because of summer trips to Lake Superior. In our kitchen, I have a chunk of amethyst because the Feng Shui book told me to. I complied because I love amethyst.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      February 14, 2012 / 3:47 am

      Awwww, many of my rocks are from Lake Superior too – but from "our" side (Tbay, woot, woot). I miss the lake.

  8. Amelia @ House Pretty
    February 13, 2012 / 7:24 pm

    I totally had a rock tumble as a kid! I have a beautiful piece of agate my husband and I picked up on a trip to Bermuda and I have always wanted some bookends!

  9. Dana@Mid2Mod
    February 13, 2012 / 7:30 pm

    So many beautiful images! This is a wonderful post.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      February 14, 2012 / 3:47 am

      Thanks Dana! It took me a really long time to compile this post, so it is so nice to hear that you enjoyed it.

  10. Jenny @ Simcoe Street
    February 13, 2012 / 8:51 pm

    Just this past weekend I found my own childhood rock collection at my parents' house. Now you've inspired me to do something with it!

  11. Sherry
    February 13, 2012 / 8:54 pm

    Oh wow, your rocks Rock! I never imagined doing so much with rocks. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Maggie {Okay, now what?}
    February 13, 2012 / 10:57 pm

    I was that kid as well. Great idea to bring the rocks out of storage and into our decor. I may just pick up my collection the next time I am at my parents house.

  13. Kirsti Craig
    February 14, 2012 / 12:04 am

    I'm also one of those rock-loving kids turned adult. And I proudly display them too. But I never thought it was to crazy because I come by the love naturally. My parents have a huge split stone fireplace (dad split all the stones himself) natural stone coasters, stone bookends and more. Mom has even bought beautiful rocks on ebay! Ha. Takes one to know one!

  14. Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
    February 14, 2012 / 3:48 am

    So nice to hear I have so many rock-loving friends who were also rock-loving kids!

  15. Anita
    February 14, 2012 / 12:42 pm

    I still collect rocks from the beach.Well not rocks, more like pebbles and now I look for heart shaped ones. I also collect beach glass. I have vases full of glass I have picked up on the beach along Lake Huron. I also have made little shadow boxes for my nieces. A heart shape filled in with pretty glass & stones from the beach.

  16. gemma@thesweetestdigs
    February 15, 2012 / 5:07 am

    Lovely post!! As the daughter of two geologists, I can totally appreciate your affinity for beautiful rocks 🙂

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