Auctions for ancient pieces of natural history have seen a surge in popularity in the last year. Why? Because interior designers and home lovers alike have fallen for the charms of natural minerals, rocks, fossils and shells. ‘They are beautiful things,’ says dealer Errol Fuller. ‘They are millions of years old and, in the case of fossils, were once living. The more you collect, the more interesting the subject becomes.’
Not only do they have a fascinating history but the patina of age that accompanies them lends an unexplicable charm to the mood of wherever they are displayed. Often inexpensive to pick up at flea markets and fairs, you could equally indulge in some of the rarer specimens at auctions.
Wherever you choose to go fossil-hunting, try these simple ideas to make the greatest impact with their display.
Soft blues with rich tones, warm woods and glistening marble fabrics combined with natural stones and fossils create a calm and sophisticated scheme
Agate bookends keep books neatly in place as well as bring a shimmering statement and unusual texture to shelves
Display treasures on rich velvets. The indigo tone and opulence of this backdrop is the perfect foil to the natural texture and intricate detail of the minerals
Create a tablescape of petrified wood, fossils and minerals that can evolve as your collection grows. Keep it under glass to avoid it becoming a dust trap!
Add a splash of vibrant colour to the bathroom or a WC with this metallic marble-effect wallpaper. Don’t be afraid to mix contrasting tiles and some smaller objects into the scheme to create interest
Keep collections on display or neatly organised in a study filled with drawers and beautiful antique storage that has a patina to complement the age of the rocks
The full feature on fossils and minerals appeared in the March 2016 issue of Homes & Antiques.