Thursday, December 3, 2015

Collections of Shells & Minerals

For those who have collections this tidbit comes from The Detroit Free Press ©1881

Many of you have doubtless collected beautiful shells, pebbles, am! other marine treasures, which all would be glad to preserve. A handsome cabinet filled with shells is no mean or inconspicuous article of adornment in a tasteful home.

A cabinet for shells or minerals should never be deep; and if more than one row is to be accommodated, it should be arranged with sloping shelves, furnished with narrow ledges, in order to preclude the possibility of the shells sliding down.

A beautiful cabinet of this kind is made as follows: Side pieces, ei^ht inches deep, of half-inch pine, three feet long (or high) united by shelves four feet long—two feet for each half, and the shelves edged with a border of dark pinked leather.

The amateur conchologist should be guided in the style and size of case or cabinet by the nature of his collection. A set of small shallow cases made of thin board will be found an excellent mode of arranging shells, as they may be easily removed and cleansed. These cases, placed upon the receding shelves, are arranged so that the lowest one projects two or three inches in front of the one next above it. They may be lined with velveteen, silk, satin, or even tinted muslin. For those lovely shells which have tints of unusual beauty and curious markings, pieces of looking-glass placed behind and beneath the specimens will be found especially effective, as by this means the entire shell is reflected and exposed; for delicate white or tinted varieties, black, purple; or crimson velvet linings will be found most desirable. Another pretty arrangement for certain specimens is to cut a series of shield-shaped or rather fanciful tablets, covered with a layer of cotton flannel, glued to the surface, with velvet on the top in the same manner, the edges covered with narrow velvet ribbon glued on the under side—or chenille is pretty, and imparts a soft effect to the delicate shell which it surrounds. A row of such tablets adds materially to the beauty of the cabinet.

The case may be supported on a pair of carved brackets, varnished and bronzed; and in lieu of glass doors, soft silk or wool curtains, furnished with rings and running on a rod hung on small brackets at the top of the case, will shield the shells from dust. These curtains may be embroidered or hand-pointed.
The shells should be fastened in place with the following cement: Take one ounce of gum tragacanth and half an ounce of white gum arabic; dissolve each in sufficient water to form a thick mucilage, to which add a few drops of alcohol to prevent moulding.

Cards cuts in some tasteful form, marked with the name of the shells and any incident desired to be remembered, should be fastened to the sides of each case or tablet.

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