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How to Stylishly Display a Small Rock Collection

I’ve mooned over rocks before, even listing some thrifty places to score a gem or too and showing off a few on display, but it never dawned on me to display this childhood rock collection.  There was a major inhibitor: these are my favorite rocks, in their original, handy-dandy box:

What a silly way to store pretty shiny things.  I can’t play with them (one of the f-ers gave me a sliver) so the only way they’re of any use is if I can look with my eyes.  A new storage solution was needed.

Small Rock Collection

As a side note, how hilarious is it I was given asbestos?  My Dad always jokingly told me every family had one more child than they wanted.  I’m an only child.  

Luckily, the asbestos wasn’t my fancy.  My favorite rock was the amethyst from Thunder Bay because it made me feel like a celebrity.  Nerdy child version of me thought that a rock from my home town was the coolest thing.

While still home in Canada, I tracked down a glass box with the same dimensions as the cardboard box, but with fewer compartments.  It was pricey (I paid $60.00) but it was worth it because these rocks are sentimental and sparkly.  Plus, the box is nice quality.

How to Stylishly Display a Small Rock Collection

I didn’t want to lose track of which rock is which, so I grabbed some double sided tape and affixed the labels to the bottom of the glass.  How cute is it they were typed on a typewriter?

Next up: some needle punched cotton felt batting to line the bottoms.  I didn’t want the rocks to slide around or scratch up the glass.

With the labels and felt in place, I arranged my rocks by colour.  Oh, the nerdiness.  This post is so saturated in nerdiness, all you cool kids are going to leave a wee bit more awkward. 

How to Stylishly Display a Small Rock Collection

How to Stylishly Display a Small Rock Collection

How to Stylishly Display a Small Rock Collection

With the rocks displayed in their (secretly) labelled new box, the desk we built Hubby has some sparkle.  The office has a lot of eye candy, from my silhouette wall to artful Expedit hack (tour the office here), plus we’re adding a more colourful piece of art above the desk, so I like the simple ornamentation.  So does Hubs, who plonks his laptop here in the evenings and enjoys some computer time uninhibited by tchotchkes. 

How to Stylishly Display a Small Rock Collection

How to Stylishly Display a Small Rock Collection

How to Stylishly Display a Small Rock Collection

P.S. don’t have a childhood rock collection?  Dig another collection out of the attic to display:

How to display collections
Via Off Beat Home; Lisa Congdon, a Little Sussy; Apartment Therapy




  1. Designwali
    November 2, 2012 / 11:35 am

    How fabulous does your collection look?

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      November 3, 2012 / 7:11 am

      Awww, thanks! I'm so excited to finally have this collection on display. It's a childhood dream, lol.

  2. AnnabelVita
    November 2, 2012 / 11:42 am

    OMG I love this. I was never a rock nerd, but I was a total, utter nerd. I found a packing list I wrote for a weekend trip and I keep meaning to post it, it's so unbelievably nerdy (I packed about 15 books for a three day trip!)I'd be so scared that someone would mess with my rocks and put them in the wrong slots!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      November 3, 2012 / 7:12 am

      Haha! I used to pack waaaay too many books too!! I'd love to see you post that packing list, I bet it's super cute.I am hoping nobody touches the rocks! One really does give slivers, so I hope that's a deterrent!

  3. Amelia @ House Pretty
    November 2, 2012 / 3:50 pm

    I love this! If you want to feel better about your nerdiness, one of the items on my childhood wish list was a rock tumbler, which I then used to tumble rocks from, among other places, our DRIVEWAY. Haha, at least you were working with pretty rocks!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      November 3, 2012 / 7:14 am

      I DID THE SAME THING!! I also had a rock tumbler and used rocks from the driveway, among other rocks. I have sacks and sacks of polished rocks at home. They are next on my to be displayed list 🙂

    November 2, 2012 / 5:22 pm

    I love this! It looks so classy in the glass case! I "collected" rocks as a child too–however they were just selected favorites from the river rock in the backyard and nothing special or fancy. And every so often I'm pretty sure my mom would steal my stash and pour them back out into the yard. Ha!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      November 3, 2012 / 7:14 am

      Awww, but backyard rocks are the best – I have lots of those too. Your mom is so cute!!

  5. erica | wicked bride
    November 2, 2012 / 7:03 pm

    I love this too! I've always been a little into rocks – but never had a collection. If you ever head to the US, and the Outer Banks in North Carolina in particular – I've got a store you need to go to. Actually, when we're there next year, I should just stream their inventory live to you – you'd love it!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      November 3, 2012 / 7:15 am

      I'm intrigued!! Let's start you a rock collection!!

  6. Dana@Mid2Mod
    November 2, 2012 / 7:22 pm

    I loved rocks when I was a kid, but my collection has been long gone for decades. My favorite was pink quartz. You're so lucky you held onto yours.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      November 3, 2012 / 7:16 am

      Awww, what a shame. Hubby's mom's hubby found me a huge piece of pink quartz from his cottage. I'm using it as part of the rock edging on my pathetic excuse for a "garden". The rock is the best part!

  7. Michelle @ AM Dolce Vita
    November 2, 2012 / 7:37 pm

    Yay to nerdiness. I also collect rocks and display them in glass boxes.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      November 3, 2012 / 7:16 am

      Yay! I know, you've got gorgeous rocks!

  8. cred
    November 3, 2012 / 3:33 pm

    I think this is amazing- was this purchased for you as a set? Or did someone actually collect these? I assumed that since they're similar in size and such that they may have been a set. But they appear to be all Canadian and the labels hand-typed- looks as though a dedicated rock hound sought each one and lovingly typed up the information. Either way, very cool! I never had a rock collection as a kid but how about the nerd in me that buys little polished stones in new agey gift shops, as an adult. I was given a lovely piece of raw amethyst that I keep on my worktable. I love that you know the origin of all your rocks.Beautiful display!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      November 3, 2012 / 7:15 pm

      This was purchased as a set for me as a child, and all the rocks are from Canada (good eye)! I have other collections I assembled, but they aren't as gorgeous as this. Oooo, a hunk of raw amethyst?? I LOVE amethyst – that must be so gorgeous to look at when you're working at the table.

  9. Sheila @sZinteriors
    November 3, 2012 / 7:03 pm

    I have a thing for rocks, and don't sense nerdy here at all! Your collection is colourful and oh, so pretty 🙂 What I really like is the connection to the provinces – how awesome is that? Love your ingenuity in the display box – it's perfect! Lucky hubs to have them on his desk!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      November 3, 2012 / 7:16 pm

      He IS lucky, isn't he?? I think other Hubbies would be jealous he gets a rock collection to look at and not a vase or stack of books on fashion, lol. I also love the Canadian origin of all these rocks. Happy to hear I'm 100% nerd-free, lol 😉

    November 4, 2012 / 12:10 pm

    My husband still has his childhood rock collection but I never thought about displaying them. Hmmmm? TY!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      November 4, 2012 / 7:44 pm

      Oooo, I'm already curious what those rocks look like 🙂

  11. How2home
    November 6, 2012 / 3:18 pm

    Love the glass display box and the painting of the tree! So striking!

  12. Ann
    December 31, 2014 / 7:33 pm

    I collect/collected rocks too. I was just down at the beach and picked up a rock. I don't watch where I'm walking because my nose is always to the ground. I hate missing interesting rocks! My kids have picked up the habit too. We have a huge slab of rock from Yellowstone Park. I did have a rock polisher but when we moved to a smaller house, some things just had to go. Dishes full of polished rocks abound!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      January 1, 2015 / 5:36 am

      That's so neat!! I love that your kids picked up the interest too, that's so sweet. Yup, sometimes I wonder what I missed as a kid with my eyes always looking downward…

  13. Vi
    August 1, 2018 / 11:58 pm

    Can you link where you got the box from? Thanks in advance.

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      August 4, 2018 / 2:21 pm

      I wish! I bought it on Amazon and they sold out years ago. I broke this one a couple years ago and couldn’t find a replacement. If I find one I’ll let you know! Sorry I can’t be of more help.

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