Eggs

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Standard-Examiner
She is the egg woman
By Becky Cairns
Standard-Examiner staff
bcairns@standard.net
 
Don't worry about Toni Weight putting all of her eggs in one basket -- they won't fit.

Hundreds of eggs fill the shelves of Weight's Weber State University office and North Ogden home.

Stone eggs and wooden eggs, ceramic eggs, painted eggs, music box eggs, even a bouncy, rainbow-striped rubber egg. All in all, it looks like someone ran a tad amok with the Easter decorating.

Yet Easter has nothing to do with this egg-stravagant display. The eggs are here year-round because Weight is a collector of anything ovoid or egg-oid.

"I think the egg shape is pleasing," says the Weber State interim vice president of student affairs, surrounded by more than 120 eggs in her campus office.

Not only that, she says, "I like the feel of them."

That's evident as she picks one up and holds it in the palm of her hand, rubbing the smooth and shiny surface with her fingers. Her daughter jokes that Weight must get "acquainted with" every new egg this way before it joins her collection.

An amateur rockhound, Weight was first drawn to stone-shaped eggs. She bought a couple of polished onyx beauties during a visit to Tijuana, Mexico, about 15 years ago.

Later, she picked up another egg -- and then another. Pretty soon, eggs started scrambling into her life from friends, co-workers and family.

As Weight's collection swelled -- more than 300 now -- its meaning grew beyond the pleasing-to-look-at. Each one has a story.

Here's one a colleague brought back from England. Here's one a daughter picked up on a trip to Bryce Canyon. Here's one Weight found in a shop in Washing-ton, D.C.

"Each and every one means something and has memories tied into it," she says. Sunny side up

Weight's eggs range in size from tiny half-inch ellipticals to 7 inches tall.

They come from all over the world: Turkey, China, Israel, Africa, England, Iran. Most are displayed upright on stands; others are nestled together in bowls.

Look closely and you'll even spot a real egg or two in the mix, including two creamy ostrich eggs and a green emu egg.

A basket overflowing with marble eggs is proof of Weight's philosophy that "beauty is not dependent on cost."

This earth-tone assortment was a surprise find at a local dollar store, just a buck an egg.

"You can put these up against any of them," Weight says. "They just kind of each have their own beauty."

One of her most expensive eggs was $225, a red-and-black mottled eudialyte mineral from Russia.

Most of the priciest eggs were gifts, Weight admits.

"I usually stick to (paying) around $25 to $35," she says. "That's usually about all I can do in good conscience."

For the book

Two of the newest ovals -- a multicolored painted egg and a black-gold sheer obsidian -- rest on the topmost shelf of the bookcase in Weight's office.

Here they'll stay until Weight is ready to catalog them in one of two inches-thick binders.

Each egg has its own page, listing details about material, size, date of acquisition and origin. And there are color "portraits" of every egg, too, taken by Weight's husband Shirl.

The catalog seemed necessary as the collection grew and Weight realized, "I'm not going to remember where these all come from."

One entire binder is filled with nothing but stone eggs: amber, jasper, tiger's-eye, amethyst, chrysocolla, unakite.

Weight prefers stones with natural colors and avoids those that are dyed.

"You think a rock is a rock," she says, but it's fascinating to see the variety and brilliance of the colors, from sky-blue lapis to bright pink rhodochrosite.

Anyone who knows Weight likely knows about her egg obsession.

"We've all bought them for her; everybody buys her eggs," says daughter Julia Hall of Roy, one of Weight's four children.

Daughter Serena Weight says she and her siblings usually look for odd eggs, like the half-red, half-green one she once gave her mother.

"It's fun to find them for her," says the North Ogden resident, "and it's an easy gift."

One of Weight's favorites is a Russian-made egg that's deep red glass covered with metallic gold decorations. It was a gift from her staff when she received a student affairs award.

Her ugliest egg? That would be the ceramic quilted-looking thing she found on eBay. It was actually advertised as "The Ugly Egg."

No parting gifts

Weight says her only "failure" is a liquid-filled purple egg with pink polka dots. It won't stand up or hold its shape; it just slumps in a blob on the shelf.

She might even get rid of this one, although giving eggs away is something she never does.

She tried once. She had to make a gift basket that included things she liked, so she naturally added an egg -- but it ended up being one she bought especially for that purpose.

"I couldn't part with any of mine," she says.

And then she had to buy another one just like the gift egg, to keep for herself.

Amber is one material she'd like to have more of, Weight says.

"If I could find one with a bee in it, a nice preserved bee ... I'd go for that," she says.

Although Weight stumbles across eggs in gift shops, rock shops, children's stores or even music stores, she also has regular places she visits to look for eggs, like a certain shop in West Yellowstone.

"Whenever I'm up there, I have to go in and look at their eggs," she says. "The man knows me very well."

Memories by the dozen

The North Ogden native has never added up the value of her collection, although she says it's likely worth thousands of dollars.

One day, the eggs will be passed on to Weight's children. And she knows egg-xactly how she wants her son and daughters to divvy them up.

"I want them to all get together and sit around the table and put all of them on the table and take turns picking them," she says.

That way, they'll choose what they like, she says; "They don't get to study the book first."

For Weight, every egg has its appeal, be it her first Mexican onyx or an intri-cately carved African soapstone.

Well, "all except that squishy one," she quips.

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EGGS IN THE COLLECTION

Pewter, with a hinged lid

Snowflake obsidian

Waterford crystal

Black cat birdhouse

Kaleidoscope

Flute egg, from China

Pyrite, or fool's gold

Paper egg

"Gone With the Wind," with Scarlett and Tara

Petrified wood

Iranian glass egg, with design painted on inside

Olive wood, from the Holy Land

Jade

Faberge crystal

Mother-of-pearl

Septarium nodules (Utah stones)

Nesting eggs, decorated with old maps

Chinese writing rock

Eggs that turn into egg cups, from England

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Copyright 1996 - 2018 Shirl R Weight Thursday, 18 January 2018 12:56:06 PM