Along with grainy woods, metallics and other textural elements, rock and mineral-themed decor is part of a fall trend toward nature and natural elements. In many cases, real rocks and minerals are integrated into the decorative items.
Los Angeles interior and product designer Hillary Thomas says she responds to the divergent qualities of primitiveness and sophistication in rocks and minerals. "I find that using pieces like petrified wood and malachite helps a space look more collected and layered," she says.
And the range of colors — the bright agates, the neutrals — is fun to play with. "You can be color-shy and still tie a room together or make a big statement with a finial," she says.
Thomas creates lamp finials out of slivers of malachite, left, howlite and agate, as well as unusual specimens like inky iridescent labradorite, creamy blue-tinged chrysophase and petrified wood. The colors range from intense purple, turquoise and cranberry to light sunny yellow, snowy white and a range of striated hues. (hillarythomas.com)
Besides aesthetics, some stones have been endowed by various cultures with special properties. The Chinese view jade as a protective stone, and it features prominently in feng shui, the ancient art of harmonizing individuals with their environment. The Vikings carried calcite, believing it aided in navigation. Native Americans considered chalcedony — the family of minerals that includes jasper, onyx and agate — capable of imparting strength and courage.
"I have a client who keeps a pyramid of lapis lazuli under her bed to ward off bad vibrations," Toronto-based mineral and bead dealer David McDonald says.
Examples of Brazilian agate and onyx cut into bookends can be found at therockshed.com. Some have the crystalline characteristics of geodes, while others come in vibrant pink, teal and red hues.
Target's fall collection includes the Threshold agate bookend, bottom right, sleekly honed on one end to show the swirling layers, and left in its natural state on the other.
A trimmed mirror, top right, adds marble to the wall. And a glass-topped accent table, left, comes in a faux finish with an agate pattern. (target.com)
The convergence of modern manufacturing techniques and the intricate, timeless forms of nature are what intrigue New York-based product designer Anna Rabinowicz. She gives a collection of amethyst and citrine table objects a mantle of liquid gold or silver. Her Cielo amethyst lamp, right, combines sleek chrome with the crystal forms, each finished piece unique. And she embeds little chunks of colorful agate — considered long ago to bring owners a peaceful slumber — with small clock faces, above, ready for the bedside. (rablabs.com)