Robin Flies South...

A blog about decorating and tablescaping with an emphasis on creativity and smart shopping over cash!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Apothecary Jars are not created Equal!

apothecary jar

a small, covered jar, formerly used by druggists to hold pharmaceuticals, now chiefly in household use to hold spices, candies, cosmetics, etc., and sometimes decorated, as a lamp base or flower vase.
Who doesn't LOVE their AJ (apothecary jars)?  They have to be one of the most popular decorative accessory and I'd be willing to bet you have at least one!  They are available at price points under $10 to $100 or more.  I used to think there wasn't much difference from one to another so why not just buy the cheapest you can find?  Here's a quick sample of where you can find some and what you will pay...

We will start with every one's favorite store Pottery Barn.  These are hand blown in Poland and sell for $39 to $69.

Next I tried a quick search of Amazon and found this one from Terra Collections that sells for $49.99.

Kirkland's has these on sale 3 for $19.99 although they are on the smaller side.  The website suggests using them in a bathroom for holding cotton balls or bath salts.

The ones from Pier One have birds on the lids (so cute) and sell for $29.95 to $34.95.

Quite the difference in price but what about the quality?  If you read this blog, you probably know what a bargain shopper I am, but I think in this instance, the price doesn't always tell you the whole picture.

Here is my collection of jars bought at different times and at two different places.

This one came from Ross and I think it was around $11 and at the time I thought it was fine

This was the first one I bought,  It was also from Ross for around the same price

Recently I wanted a third in a different shape than the other two.  I found this one at Marshalls for $10 and brought it home.  That's when I discovered the difference (please refer to the text on the above picture)!

Now I know that thicker glass doesn't mean better quality but in this case you could just see and feel the difference between this new one and the other two. 

On closer inspection I found some little marks around the lid on one of the Ross jars.  Now with the top on you can't see these at all but sometimes you may want to use your jar open.

Of course I will conclude with giving my opinion regarding the whole AJ issue.  First off, if you only buy one thing to decorate your house, one or more of these jars is the perfect choice.  They are limitless in their possibilities, a staple of holiday decorating and you can even house a fish in them!
My second suggestion is that if you can afford one from Pottery Barn or another higher quality store, go for it, but make sure you see them in person and judge them carefully (like you're buying a diamond!).  I believer theses jars are what I refer to as a "classic" piece of decor.  So it will be a good investment for you and should never go out of style.  If you are on a more modest budget then check out all the discount stores.  I found my best buy at Marshall's but you may find one somewhere else.  Buy a few and then compare.  That's how I could really tell the difference. 

And by the way, that Amazon jar for $49.99...that's the same as the one I got at Ross for $11.  Told you I was the bargain shopper!

I will be joining the following parties...
Overflowing with Creativity at It's Overflowing
Seasonal Sundays at The Tablescaper
Spotlight Saturday at Classy Clutter
Show and Tell Saturday at Be Different, Act Normal
Saturday 7 at Positively Splendid
Masterpiece Monday at Boogieboard Cottage
Sunday Showcase at Under the Table and Dreaming
Met Monday at Between Naps on the Porch
Nifty Thrift Tuesday at Coastal Charm
Your Cozy Home Party at Cozy Home Scenes
You're Gonna Love it Tuesday at Kathe with an E
Transformation Thursday at Shabby Creek Cottage
Saturday Night Special at Funky Junk Interiors
Creative Blogger's Party at Homemaker on a Dime
Newbie Party at DebbieDoos
Tutes and Tips not to be Missed at Home Stories A to Z
DIY Project Parade at DIY Showoff
Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style
Show 'n Share at Southern Lovely
Rustic Restorations Party at Homespun Happenings


marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Yes, I do see the difference in some of mine too, and I also agree, they are classic accessories. Great post. Hugs, Marty

Elaine said...

No surprise, I have the two you got at Ross. I want a third, but I'm holding out for one at a thrift store. I have seen them. I can't spend more because things break in my house. Look up the definition of Eddie. :)

Maureen said...

I love apothecary jars. I randomly started picking them up about 2 years ago and well... the collection continues.

Cassidy said...

Yea I noticed the difference! I think these jars are so classic. I have four grouped together in different sizes all filled with decorative balls in them. Love them! Also love you sea theme.

Liz - Imageremix said...

Hi Robin, you are so right. Some of the glass items are so much less expensive but of course some are easily breakable too. They are so versatile, though, these jars. It's amazing all the ways people use them. Thanks for coming by Quirky Vistas to comment. So sweet. I'd like to see the picture you did in parts. I love breaking a picture up and spreading it across the wall. It makes it more so much more interesting. Hope you'll stop by again soon.

srpprcrftr said...

THanks so much for the info on aj's. I don't have any as yet as I'm a big klutx, my depth perception is awful and we have ceramic tile floors that break everything. They don't bounce, they break and shatter everywhere, ugh. We don't have Marshalls here doggone it but do have Pier One and stores that are very high end. There's supposed to be a T.J. Maxx sometime but who knows when. So maybe that's good, give me time to save up and with luck they'll have some I can afford. One can only hope. Thanks again, info very helpful.

AshTreeCottage said...

Thanks for the great tips!

Susan and Bentley

Diane said...

Thanks for the advice, Robin. I recently had a terrible experience with a large candle holder from a high-end catalog. It had a space below the candle for display and in the catalog, shells were displayed. I bought one for our beach condo. Fifteen minutes, after I added the shells, the thing practically exploded and a huge crack appeared in the bottom. I will be buying anything glass from a retail store in the future, so I can see the quality!!

Diann said...

Loe your AJ's. Yup, I notice big differences in them whenI am checking them out at stores. but, I can never figure out why some are so way over priced. Thank you for sharing with us at TTF this week! Have a great day.

Babs said...

I've had good luck finding nice pieces at Homegoods. I love the more expensive pieces from Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma, but I won't pay the price because, after all, glass does break and I've broken my share.
Great post! Thanks for the tips.

Debbiedoo's said...

Very pretty! What I love about these are you can change them up per season with all kinds of cute stuff inside. They server a purpose too, if you actually want to use them for bath salts, or cookies, whatever...but than again that seems boring in comparison to home decor. Thanks for sharing.

chateau chic said...

So many choices we have today. But if you're going for something that will always be a classic, I say go for quality, which doesn't always mean it's the most expensive, as you found out.
Mary Alice

ARod said...

thanks for the great tips i'm on the look out for a pretty & cheap one now i know what to look for 8-)

Little Susie Home Maker said...

Good shopping! I sure think it is pretty the way you use them to display your sea shells!

The Tablescaper said...

Neat comparison. Great accessory.Thanks so much for being a part of Seasonal Sundays.

- The Tablescaper

Shannon @ Cozy Home Scenes said...

I love apothecary jars and have to stop myself from buying them since I have a collection of them already. They are fun to fill with pretty things all over the house. I always buy the cheaper ones though since I tend to only put them in places where they aren't touched or moved too much.

Thanks for showing different ways to decorating them and joining me at Your Cozy Home Party this week.

Donna Wilkes said...

Thanks for doing all the hard work. I like the look of A.J.'s, but did not want to invest a lot of money in something to use seasonally. I appreciate your observations and will use them while shopping. Came over from Thrifty Thursday.

Distressed Donna Down Home

KCoake said...

I love AJ's, they are so fun. Thanks for the tips on what to look for.

Tammy said...

I love it that you have 3 different ones. They look great together. Thank you for all of the time you spent on searching out the difference in price and quality. I don't have one yet, so this is a big help to me. Thank you for sharing. I am your newest follower. I hope you can visit me sometime :)

Tammy said...

Thank you for sharing at Rustic Restorations Weekend! Love these!

Kathe said...

Great info! Others must agree because yours was the most viewed at the party this week!I too like the ones I find at Home Goods and Ross/ Marshall's. I won't pay much though so my collection had remained far :-) Thanks for linking up at the party this week! I can't wait to see what you share next!