Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Allure of Underwater Vases

Last summer I was on the hunt for oversize, giant brandy snifters, both of my grandmothers would use them as "rose-bowls" and float a single cut rose in them. I looked at flea markets, thrift stores, garage sales and then finally resorted to eBay. While I was perusing eBay, I stumbled upon a listing for an underwater vase. I’d never even heard of an underwater vase. I decided to bid on it and won it for 5 bucks. That same weekend, we ventured over to the East Bay to the Alameda Flea Market, and through serendipity I found two more underwater vases from two different vendors. I guess I never noticed underwater vases before, or I just didn’t know what they were used for.

The underwater vase looks like a big, clear glass bowling ball with a flat lid and comes in various sizes.

The lid has a built in frog that holds the flower stems in place. The lids can be plastic, metal (almost like a mayonnaise jar lid), or rubber. The frogs can be metal spikes or simple rubber holes. After you attach the flower to the frog, you carefully place it into the water filled glass globe and screw the lid on. My first try at placing a flower in the underwater vase was a disaster. After I flipped the vase onto its flat lid, the flowers became detached and floated to the top. I also didn’t fill the water to the brim and a large air pocket rose to the top. After some practice, I became an expert at underwater flower arranging, without any air bubbles or detached flowers. I used these underwater vases at a couple of dinner parties and people are always fascinated by the simplicity of a flower submerged under water in a glass globe. It’s very surreal and reminds me of a giant snow globe. Over time, the flower doesn’t discolor that much either, it just fades a little. I left one arrangement for 3 weeks and it still looked good, and the water wasn’t even sour when I opened the lid— I guess because it airtight. After I got bored with the novelty of the water, I began using the vases to display other things. Here’s some examples of what you can use them for—besides just as an underwater vase.

I like to put just leaves in them, without any flowers at all. I think the autumn leaves look really striking.

Seashells look beautiful in the underwater vase too. I bet you have a jar of seashells stashed away, this is a great way to display them.

It's also a great way to store all the buttons and memorabilia on your dresser! Keep your eyes peeled and maybe you’ll spot one at your local thrift store or flea market—or maybe we’ll be bidding against each other on eBay!

10 comments:

Uncle Beefy said...

LOVE this!

jezebel said...

Oh, I've LOVE the first photo, of the giant white flower. It's like a wee little Esther Williams synchronized swimming number in there.

ayem8y said...

Okay I have spent my life in the flea market and I don’t recall ever noticing an underwater flower bowl. I’m sure I have run across one before I just didn’t now what it was without it being filled with flowers and water. I’m now feeling the urge to discover the charm of underwater flower arranging. Is the lid/base made of bakelite?

jezebel said...

Mr Peacock, look what I found!
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=270354902365&ssPageName=ADME:B:WNARL:US:1123

katie said...

hi i've been looking for one of these vases for a long time and have finally had a break through but how do i get my hands on one of these beauties!!!

ayem8y said...

Guess who is the proud new owner of the underwater flower bowl that Jezebel linked us to? Thank you Jezebel and thanks to Mr. Peacock, I have been enjoying it with all of my Spring flowers.

Kay said...

I would love one of these vases, but can't find one anywhere.
Can anyone help me out please?

Kay said...

Great News! I have found one on EBay in australia Kay

Anonymous said...

These are called Flower Aquariums and many places are selling new ones. If you look you can find them for less then $20.

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