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May 292009

8. A hand-carved jewelry box from India: This piece (above) is made of walnut, by M. Ayub, an artist who uses seasoned wood dried for several years. He rubs it with agate stone and then hand-carves reliefs. It’s lined with velvet. Ayub’s work began in Kashmir, but militancy there forced them to move part of their operation to New Delhi. It’s $228 from Novica.

9. A cork stool: Vitra makes these in three styles, for use as side tables or stools (below, left). They’re strong and stable, made by artisan Jasper Morrison from cork harvested from trees in the Mediterranean basin of Spain and Portugal. The cork comes only from mature trees that are harvested in 9-year cycles. It’s $405 from Design Public.

10. Sculptural steel book stands from the Andes: Peruvian artisan Marco Florindez combines Inca symbols for mother, Earth, sun and moon in the “Ancient Wisdom” stand (above, right), made of discarded materials. Each piece is unique. This is $90 from Novica (search for “steel book stand”).