I love quirky museum-like displays; cabinets of curiosity, pinned specimens and terrariums all delight me. That means I also lust after giant antique bell jars. They are prohibitively expensive and I don't want to live in fear of breaking them, so I have been trying to come up with some kind of alternative solution.
I started poking around the glassware section of the GoodWill, discount stores and just about anywhere there's a large selection of vases. I kept thinking, "If I can find just the right shape, I'll flip it over and I'll have my bell jar!" Here you can see I found a ridiculous over-sized goblet that makes a wonderful bell jar. This was $9 and satisfies my requirements perfectly. I know it's not an antique, but it will hold an assortment of weird and wonderful plants for far less than the genuine article.
There are a lot of possibilities for interesting shapes: tall and thin, globes and cylinders. If you can find a large square or rectangle, it will look more like a museum vitrine. Crazy museum geeks (like me) could even print up wall labels.
For now, I've filled it with a palmistry hand, a maxillaria orchid, collected seashells and two little metal crickets.