Given the nature of perfume, from the confidence it gives its wearer to the indescribable effect it sometimes has on its very targeted audience, it’s not surprising that perfume has long been kept in bottles whose shapes seem to echo the mysterious properties of the fluids inside them. Whether it’s a slender phial, a tiny tear-shaped lachrymatory, or a round, flat-sided ampullae, perfume bottles are designed to contain magic, which is only unleashed when the bottle is opened and a drop or two of the precious liquid is discreetly applied.

Glassblowers in Britain, Bohemia, Germany, and France made perfume bottles throughout the 19th century. U.S. glass manufacturers such as the New England Glass Company and the Boston & Sandwich Glass Company also made perfume bottles during the 1800s. Some of these were hexagonal and opaque (white, blue, and green were common colors), with knobby, pineapple-shaped stoppers. Others were known gemel bottles, in which two flattened oval bottles were joined in the furnace, their necks pointing in opposite directions. Gemel bottles, especially standing ones in bright colors, are especially sought after.

For collectors, a sweet spot for antique perfume bottles is Art Nouveau. Beginning around 1890, artisans and glass factories alike produced elaborate cut or blown glass perfume bottles with ornate caps, some of which had hinged silver stoppers and collars. Purse-sized conical bottles with very short necks and round stoppers were often decorated with gilt flower-and-leaf patterns; manufacturers included Thomas Webb & Sons and Stevens & Williams Glass Company, both from Staffordshire, England.

The same companies also produced perfume bottles in cameo glass. Again, leaves and flowers were popular motifs, in colors that ranged from pink to purple to green, all of which were encased in white. In the United States, Steuben manufactured bulb-shaped perfume bottles using the company’s Verre de Soie technique, with glass threads wrapping the piece and matching the color of its iridescent base. Tiffany’s bottles included short, stumpy crystal cylinders with hob-nail bottoms and ornately engraved silver caps that covered the bottle’s crystal stopper.

In France, René Lalique was a giant when it came to small perfume bottles, which he produced in a series of ever-larger factories outside of Paris for François Coty and other perfume makers. Lalique brought his jeweler’s eye to perfume bottles—he even used a jewelry-casting process called cire perdue, also known as lost wax.

Unlike a lot of his contemporaries, Lalique did not add lead to his crystal. Instead, he preferred a demi-crystal because it was inexpensive, easy to work with, and imbued his perfume bottles with what became his trademark milky opalescence.

During Lalique’s collaboration with Coty, which lasted through the 1930s, he also made perfume bottles for d’Orsay and Roger et Gallet. One such bottle for Roger et Gallet was crowned by an elaborate tiara stopper, one of Lalique’s most copied designs. Another was an opaque green circular bottle with a bird on one side and the words "LE JADE" at the bottom...

Later, as Lalique’s name became as synonymous with perfume bottles as Coty’s, he would make empty vessels so that customers could transfer their perfumes into Lalique’s more elegant containers. Tantot and Amphitrite are just two examples of unfilled Lalique perfume bottles.

During the 1920s and ’30s, glass perfume bottles inspired by the Art Deco movement were all the rage. Natural forms and motifs gave way to geometric shapes and bold, streamlined designs. In Czechoslovakia, perfume bottles from this era are routinely made of blown and meticulously cut crystal. For some of these bottles, the diameters of the stoppers were a great as those of the bottles beneath them, giving these otherwise simple containers the look of a Vegas showgirl wearing an impossibly top-heavy headdress.

But between the wars, Paris was the place for perfume and perfume bottles. Signature shapes for Chanel No. 5 and Shalimar by Guerlain were codified, and beautiful collaborations took place between Baccarat, the legendary maker of fine crystal, and everyone from Guerlain to fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli. For Guerlain, Baccarat created the Japanese-influenced Liu bottle, with its square-sided black body adorned gold labels. For Schiaparelli, Baccarat produced a bottle in the shape of a candle in a candlestick, with a gilt-metal flame for a stopper.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

California Perfume Company

California Perfume Company

The California Perfume Company, as well as the famous brand it became, Avon, is the focus of Rusty Mills’ compreh… [read review or visit site]

Museu Del Perfum

Museu Del Perfum

This site, from the Museu Del Perfum (Perfume Museum) in Barcelona, hosts a fantastic collection of almost 300 beau… [read review or visit site]

Historic Glass Bottle Identification

Historic Glass Bottle Identification

Bill Lindsey's fantastic bottle identification and information site. Loaded with detailed descriptions and diagrams… [read review or visit site]

Antique Bottle Collector's Haven

Antique Bottle Collector's Haven

There's a ton of information here, but as with bottles, you have to dig to find the best stuff. Start with the famo… [read review or visit site]

Bottle Cap Index

Bottle Cap Index

Assembled by Gunther Rademacher with the help of several other contributors, this collection of over half a million… [read review or visit site]

Plopsite.de

Plopsite.de

Norbert Lamping's collection of 600+ ceramic bottle stoppers, Hutter stoppers, swingtops, swivel stoppers, and ligh… [read review or visit site]

Old Spice Collectibles

Old Spice Collectibles

Lather up with Creighton Fricek's complete chronology of collectible Old Spice shaving products. Start with the bot… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Charlotte Olympia Perfume Bottle Blue Perspex Clutch Purse Bag New $1295 Hqr034Victorian Solid Silver Mounted Glass Scent Perfume Bottle2x Bottles Of Estee Lauder Beautiful Perfume Edp .5 Oz EachLarge Antique Bohemian Bristol Blue & Gilt Perfume Scent Bottle C18602x Bottles Of Estee Lauder Beautiful Perfume Edp .5 Oz Each2x Bottles Of Estee Lauder Beautiful Perfume Edp .5 Oz Each2x Bottles Of Estee Lauder Beautiful Perfume Edp .5 Oz Each2x Bottles Of Estee Lauder Beautiful Perfume Edp .5 Oz EachAntique Vintage Victorian Art Nouveau Czech Glass Enamel Scent Perfume Bottle Old Perfume Bottle +original Box Le Triomphe Gueldy Paris France Art Deco 1920s Antique Brass Ormolu Sleigh W/ Glass Egg Dresser Caddy Perfume Bottle TrinketNwob Abercrombie And Fitch Women's 1.7 Fl Oz Fragrance Perfume No 1 Spray BottleNwob Fossil 1954 For Her Fragrance 1.7 Fl. Oz. For Women Perfume Spray BottleVictorian Solid Silver Mounted Blue Overlay Cut Glass Scent Perfume BottleBeautiful Large Victorian George Watts Solid Silver Scent-perfume Bottle Tiffany & Co. Signed Sterling Silver Fine Perfume Bottle W/ Dabber Heart ShapeVintage Bourjois Evening In Paris Perfume/bakelite Owl Novelty Bottle/registeredAntique Victorian Cut Yellow Uranium Vaseline Glass Perfume Bottle W/ Silver TopVictorian Solid Silver Mounted Ruby Glass Scent Perfume BottlePair Vintage Italian Murano Art Glass Millefiori Paperweight Perfume BottlesVictorian Solid Silver Mounted Obelisk Shape Green Glass Scent Perfume BottleVintage Lenk Austria Perfume Bottle Set Guilloche Enamel Holder & LidsAntique French Opaline Glass Portrait Scent Cologne Perfume Bottle Nr 7Lalique Dahlia French Frosted Crystal And Enamel Perfume Bottle Antique Victorian Blue Cut Glass Perfume Bottle With Brass Crown Cap & StopperDevilbiss Perfume Bottle, Imperial Jewel Series, GiltedAntique Mother Of Pearl Shell Snuff Perfume Scent Bottle Pendant Charm Brass VtgCristal Lalique "enfants" Perfume Bottle5” Scott Bayless Lotton Studios Art Glass Perfume Bottle No Rsv Bc5 CollectionVintage 1920s Aristo Perfume Atomizer Pink Cut Glass BottleEstate $1200 Natural 300ct Amethyst Gem Perfume Bottle RareLadies Fashion Vintage Corday Perfume Bottle Street Light Form Paris France 1961Fine Antique French Gilt Metal Enameled Perfume Scent Bottle ChatelaineAuth Vintage Chanel Perfume Bottle Gold Color Chain Necklace Pendant R1767Antique Ruby Red Perfume Scent Bottle Sterling Silver Lid Circa 1880Vintage 1960's Yellow Glass Perfume Bottle Guerlain Chamade Made In France YqzClinique Womens Aromatic Elixir Perfume Spray Limited Ed Bottle 3.4 Oz NewSterling Silver And Yellow Enamel Perfume BottleJoy Extrait 1 Oz. Parfum Sealed Bottle Baccarat??? Nib Vtg. New Vintage Perfume 1 Vintage Bottle Coty Perfume Vintage Miniature Bug Sprayer Fogger Perfume Bottle Atomizer Pump Spray BrassAuthentic Chanel Perfume Bottle Gold Earrings Vintage RareMon Cheri Gabilla Baccarat Perfume Bottle Paris FranceHuge Lot Of 133 Perfume Miniatures Bottles Samples Givenchy Revlon Tabu Avon +++Frosted Etched Flower Form Perfume Bottle1920's Frosted Glass Perfume Bottle--'vouline's Ja Fleur'--buddha Stopper~ L'aimant~ De Coty Vintage Perfume Bottle, Almost Full With Glass Top!!Lalique Clairfontaine Vintage Perfume Bottle For Nina Ricci~signedVintage Guerlain Shalimar Parfum Perfume 1/2 Oz Bottle W/ Box$1000 Natural White Quartz Gem 300ct Perfume BottleAntique Czech Style Art Black Jet Glass W/ Stones Brass Ormolu Perfume BottlesEarly Antique French Gold Gilded Cut Glass Silver Scent Perfume BottleTom Ford Black Orchid Large Perfume Factice Large Torquay Longpark "hills Devon Violets" Scent/perfume Bottle2 Full Vintage Mini Lancome Perfume Bottles - Envol And FlCollection Miniature French Glass Perfume Bottles Applied Porcelain Flowers AiVictoria Secret Noir Tease Eau De Parfum 3.4 Oz Spay Bottle Perfume New In BoxGuerlain " Chant D'aromes "vintage Bottle Pure Perfume 15cm 60ml Still More 30mlVintage 7" Tall Art Deco Art Glass Atomizer Perfume Bottle6.5" Fenton Rosaline Perfume Bottle And 5" Powder Jar Pink Roses Perfect!

Recent News: Perfume Bottles

Source: Google News

Give gifts to look and feel great this Christmas
Bury Times, December 12th

The Florence Anne Fragrance Accessories Cosmetic Purse (£6) has enough room for essential make up tools, so loved ones can look and feel beautiful on the go. Florence Anne Boot was born in 1863 in St Helier, Jersey. Married to Jesse Boot in 1886, she ...Read more

Who has free tastings this weekend? PLCB stores regionally running five
PennLive.com (blog), December 12th

Suavia, the antique name of the city of Soave and the surrounding area, is the name they decide to give their new winery to underline the profound connection with the tradition and culture of the territory. They dedicated 30 acres to the ... 12 months...Read more

How I built the Blessings brand–Belinda Brown, perfumer
Daily Sun, December 7th

Belinda Brown, though not a celebrity, has built from scratch, her own perfume brand known as Blessings, which is sold in one of the most exclusive perfume shops in the world, the Roja Dove Heute Parfumerie, at Harrods Department Store, London...Read more

Animal-Approved Gifts
Salt Lake City Weekly, December 5th

Candy Everything sells charmingly old-fashioned clear toy candy made from antique molds in a variety of sizes and elaborate shapes. Intricate perfume bottles, cute squirrels and owls will make a fun, colorful and tasty contribution to anyone's stocking...Read more

West London's queen of perfume creates her own bit of magic in Acton
getwestlondon, November 27th

I leave the 4160 Tuesdays perfumery clutching my Cuban boyfriend in a bottle, smelling not unlike a Tart's Knicker Draw with my head swimming with pictures and my poor old olfactory bulb close to collapse. The book is yet to be published but the...Read more

Five Staten Island stores off the beaten path for holiday shopping
SILive.com, November 25th

From jeweled picture frames and antique pewter candle sticks, to plush Boyds teddy bears and high-end costume jewelry, this small eclectic store -- with items that start at $5 -- resembles a gift shop more commonly found in places like New Hope, Pa...Read more

Gifts for Her
STLtoday.com, November 23rd

It's a Girl's Night Out wine bottle charm and magnet. This charm slips over a wine ... Peacock Parfumerie's vintage-inspired perfume pendant necklace ($37) comes in four faceted gem-like pendants — champagne, onyx, gray and turquoise. Each holds a...Read more

Jean McClelland: Antiques perfume bottles can be interesting, affordable to ...
Huntington Herald Dispatch, October 4th

This is quite a popular collectible as is evidenced by the number of books published on the topic, magazines devoted to it and the number of members in perfume bottle collector's organizations. All of these sources are available online and one should...Read more