Metaphors similar to this one?
February 23, 2015 9:08 PM   Subscribe

I'm working on a project and I'm looking for metaphors that describe the relationship between a secret and the covering it is embedded in. I'm looking at examples from nature--like a pearl in an oyster for example. It's a loose metaphor really, as long as that which is embedded is precious and sought after, and the covering which envelops it doesn't really signal that there is anything of value inside. Ideas?
posted by omar.a to Writing & Language (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Diamond in the rough
Chicken and an egg
mighty oak/acorn
posted by HuronBob at 9:12 PM on February 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

snake venom
posted by marimeko at 9:23 PM on February 23, 2015

Butterfly in a cocoon?
posted by lollusc at 9:23 PM on February 23, 2015

Geodes are a good visual one.

Don't judge a book by its cover is a more literal metaphor. Obviously not from nature so much.

Clouds/silver lining

I like the acorn/oak suggestion above.
posted by phunniemee at 9:35 PM on February 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

I came to say geodes too...
posted by AnOrigamiLife at 9:56 PM on February 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

Coffee bean in the civet poop
posted by Sophont at 9:56 PM on February 23, 2015 [2 favorites]

A book I'm reading has a character who swears herself to celibacy and the priesthood, and the man who loves her makes the same vow of celibacy. The female character feels "like a woman who has been using an old, tarnished pot in her kitchen, only to discover while polishing it one day that it's made of purest silver".
posted by Solomon at 12:37 AM on February 24, 2015

Nightingales are just these drab little brown birds until they start singing.
posted by fshgrl at 12:49 AM on February 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

A wolf on a scent.
posted by Flood at 3:49 AM on February 24, 2015

A peacock that has yet to raise its feathers.
posted by mr. digits at 4:01 AM on February 24, 2015

Agates covered by beach sand.
posted by mr. digits at 4:38 AM on February 24, 2015

On preview, some of these are not from the natural world:
A wrapped present, or a really nice bottle of wine in a brown paper bag; a fossil embedded in rock; an unpolished diamond ("diamond in the rough"); anything architecturally beautiful that's rusted over, painted over, or boarded up; a scruffy dog before and after a good bath and haircut; unpolished petrified wood; cashmere wool or silk cocoons before and after cleaning and spinning; an overcast day hiding the sun or vista. Oh, and an inverse one would be a ballet dancer's foot in pointe shoes.
posted by Yellow Silver Maple at 5:10 AM on February 24, 2015

"A box without hinges, key, or lid, yet golden treasure inside is hid." -- riddle from The Hobbit.

Spoiler alert: It's an egg.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:18 AM on February 24, 2015

a ruby in a burlap sack
a truffle under the leaf litter
posted by acm at 10:05 AM on February 24, 2015

a phoenix rising from the ashes
the ugly duckling who turns into a swan
posted by Shanda at 10:23 AM on February 24, 2015

Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;
(W. Shakespeare)
posted by smugly rowan at 1:06 PM on February 24, 2015

Not a metaphor as such, but I immediately thought of the Hope Diamond being sent via US Mail.
posted by matsho at 7:02 AM on February 26, 2015

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