Collector’s Spotlight: Sand

February 21, 2014


I’m really thrilled to introduce another very unique and special collection to you today, in the latest edition of Collector’s Spotlight. After brooches, bones, action figures and airline spoons, travel and lifestyle writer Alison talks to us about her collection of sand!

sand collection 03

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hi Everyone. I am a travel and lifestyle writer with a focus on sustainable shades of Green. I live in the Boston area and when I’m not searching out the best artisans and growers that make an area unique, you can find me creating content for my blog – Green With Renvy.

What do you collect?

I always bring back a little packet of sand from every place I visit. I am almost always visiting a body of water, and sometimes the coast is nothing more that small pebbles. Dirt will suffice if there is no water around.

Since when have you been collecting and how did your collection start?

I’m not sure I can say exactly. I always had sand in my room from the Jersey shore growing up, as I lived quite close to Seabright Beach. It wasn’t per se a collection then, but I enjoyed having it in my room, and it was probably the initial inspiration.

sand collection 01

Where do you keep your collection?

At home on a shelf in my office. It is housed in vintage bottles I have gathered from the flea markets I frequent.

Do you use your collection?

Not physically, but it constantly gives me inspiration by reminding me of trips I’ve taken to different parts of the world. Picking up a bottle can transport me to the earth quake ravaged streets of Gujarat India or the calming beach of Nantucket.

What was the most recent addition to your collection?

My family spent the holidays in St. Martin and we visited the nearby island of Saba. Unlike other beaches in the Caribbean, the shore there is rocky and volcanic. Of course there’s some of the pure, soft sand from St. Martin in the group now also.

How big is your collection and is it still growing?

I have about 40 bottles right now. I still have a few bagggies not yet displayed. I need to find some additional bottles. Since the collection is growing so large, I now look for smaller cases. I scored a collection of tiny vials from a watch maker on ebay a while back, but those are now used up and I need to go on the hunt. I just have sand from my own travels.

sand collection 02

Do any of the pieces in your collection have interesting stories associated with them?

When I travelled to India we stayed in the Gujarat area. It is quite different from other areas, some of it desert. The streets were a mess with rubble from the 2001 earthquake, but the people were amazingly carrying on their lives and trying to make do with what they had. It was very inspirational. My bottle from there is filled with bits of dirt and ephemera from the streets. Shards of scattered lives.

What is your favourite piece in your collection?

It would have to be the black sand from a beach in Santorini, Greece. I was traveling with my family and that morning had been a harrowing experience of driving very dangerous roads. We found this wonderful spot to pull over and relax for a bit. It’s a really nice memory.

(all photographs by Alison Abbott)


Thank you so much to Alison for sharing her wonderful collection!  If you want to ask Alison more questions about her collection, you can find him on Twitter under @GreenWithRenvy. And if you have an interesting, unusual or unique collection you’d like featured on Museum Diary, please get in touch!


  1. Guest Post on ‘Green With Renvy’ | Museum Diary - March 4, 2014

    […] weeks ago, the latest edition of Collector’s Spotlight featured Alison Abbott’s amazing collection of sand from around the world. Today, you can […]

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