Glass dome display pieces can beautifully display memorabilia, collections and your own art pieces. They protect and house these items in a striking domed glass cover that sets into a base. They can be set up as solitary units or on shelves in a collection.
The glass display dome or bell jar originates from apothecary and medical displays. They were used in the mid to late 19th century for specimen domes. Apothecaries stored items needed to make medications in glass containers in their work areas and on counters. You can find domes in many museums housing collections of insects and other oddities. The antique glass would have been made by glass blowers and artisans. The 1889 Natural History Museum in Vienna, Austria, houses a collection of glass domes that protects a collection of bird bones. Domes have been used to allow museum visitors to see items of rarity and keep them from being able to touch and damage them.
The glass dome is still a means of protection today. The glass allows items such as collectibles to be seen by the owner or others while it keeps anyone from being able to touch them. This keeps the natural oil from hands from permeating the surface of valuables or fine pieces. The glass also protects items from the need to be dusted and the chance for damage as a result. The heavy base is attractive and keeps the glass from being easily tipped over and broken. The base has a ridge cut and smoothed into it to give an even surface for the dome to be set into it.
Glass display domes come in round, oval and rectangular shapes. They are in many different sizes from a few inches tall to 20 inches high or more. The bases are nearly an inch tall and half an inch to an inch wider than the dome. There are bell shaped domes and rare domes with characters or a cloche, which is like a knob at the top of the glass piece. There is a variety of small domes that have knobs on the outside with a hook on the top of the glass interior. The hook will hold items such as a pocket watch or ornament up for display. These more specialised domes will be found at online sites for collector display and storage.
You can purchase glass display domes at jewellers, craft, hobby and collector stores. You can find a large variety of bell jars or glass display domes for sale on the Internet on speciality sites and auctions. You can choose from walnut, pewter, brass and oak bases for the glass piece to set into. There are some glass makers that will custom make a dome in the proportions that you need. There are sellers who supply glass domes that are made by European glassblowers. Prices can range from just under £6 for a tiny dome up to hundreds of dollars for the larger pieces. A base will be a separate purchase unless stated otherwise.
It is important to find good quality glass domes for your prized collectibles and displays. Check for them at your favourite craft and hobby stores. You should ask if they carry them in inventory or if they have to special order them. One of the better resources will be the stores that specialise in collectibles and sports memorabilia. Fine home furnishing stores and sites will be another source for good quality glass display domes and bases.