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The Evolution of Perfume Bottles

The first perfume bottles emerged at the same time as the first perfumes. The earliest evidences of their production were found in the excavations ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. According to the clay tablet dating back to Mesopotamia, 2000 B.C. the first perfume manufacturer was a woman names Taputti. Her product was dramatically different compared to the modern perfume. The industry that began in Mesopotamia was continued by Romans and Persians. 

The perfume in its traditional sense was introduced in 1930. They were made the for the queen Elizabeth of Hungary. Briefly after that the art of the perfumery had spread to the entire Europe. Nowadays the French town of Grasse is the center of the European perfume industry. The age of perfumery began in the end of XIX century due to the advance in organic chemistry. However perfumery is still referred to as an art. 

«If the perfume is an art, the object, which contains it, must be a masterpiece, the masterpiece of a craftsman». These words belong to Robert Ricci but he only found a beautiful way to say what the  humanity knew all along. 

The perfume should be kept in a dedicated container. The perfume bottle making was an art since the ancient times. The perfume container was as precious as its contents. As the centuries went by the shape of the container evolved just like the choice of the material. Size and shape varied from one culture to another. Ancient Egyptians have made their vessels of clay and wood. Palestinians crafted glass bottles of different colors. Ancient Greeks had vases in the shape of different animals. Romans utilized hollowed out gemstones for keeping perfumes.

Europeans have used different materials like porcelain, gold, silver, sea shells, semiprecious stones and glass. Some European containers were beautifully shaped glass bottles designed by famous artists. 

The fashion for wearing perfume bottles alongside jewelry existed for quite a while. Most perfumes were sold in ordinary bottles and poured into beautiful costly vials or dispensers at home. 

In the beginning of XIX century the perfume bottle design has changed dramatically. The Art Nouveau style had entered the stage.

During that period all perfume bottles came boxed in the flower decorated packages. At the same time the crystal bottles with brass caps, golden tags and boxes were extremely popular.

In 1910 the bottles have achieved the form of flowers, beacons, teapots and many other unusual shapes. Famous artists were hired to work on the design. For example, the iconic perfume manufacturer François Coty had invited famous glassware brand Lalique to do the bottle design.

In 1920s the perfume industry had expanded to the USA. Cowboys and Indians began using perfumes. Many new companies were founded. The fashion designers started hiring chemists for the creation of their own brand fragrances. The bottles by the high-end French crystalware manufacturer Baccarat were famous for their quality and craftsmanship. And they still are. Most  perfume manufacturers chose them for their products.

During the Great Depression the bottles became more simple and suitable for the mass production. However many still were made by hand.

After the WWII the new perfumers, like Christian Dior, Nina Ricci began creating their own designs. Perfume bottles became sophisticated and chic again. In 1950 Salvador Dali tried his hand at designing a perfume bottle for Marquay Perfumes. In 1950 Lancome had introduced the Magie in a beautiful Baccarat bottle with stars. Even now Lalique and Baccarat create upscale bottles for the perfume manufacturers all across the world. The art of perfume bottle design is still a challenge to a handful of designers.

Decorative and Commercial Perfume Bottles

There are two types of perfume bottles. 

  1. Commercial
  2. Decorative 

Most perfumes are sold in commercial bottles, which also are often stylish and beautiful. But it's only decorative bottles that are sold without perfumes.

Before the commercial containers were there people used decorative bottles for their favorite perfumes. They were typically bought at drugstores. Although the name designers are being frequently hired for the creation of the commercial bottles, the decorative ones are still available in greater variety of designs and styles. Only they can be truly exclusive and unique.

Types of Bottles

It takes a certain amount of expertise to pick out the right perfume bottle. Understanding their types is very important for choosing the one that suits you most, the one that will help you express your individuality. 

The basic types are as follows:

  1. Dispenser aka atomizer 
  2. Miniature
  3. Figural aka Novelty bottles

The dispenser, as the name implies, equally dispenses or sprays the perfume across the skin surface. However it cannot be used with any kind of scented oil. Vintage dispensers typically comprise pump bulb, plastic or glass tube and tall and thin flask. This shape was specifically popular in 1920s. 

Miniature perfume bottles are just what they sound like. They are intended to travel with the owner in a purse just as miniature without stretching it out of shape. They commonly are paired with the bigger bottles of which they are scaled replicas. 

Figural bottles come in variety of shapes and forms. For example, the shape of human body, an animal or a plant. In 1920s – 1940s the perfume or fragrance lamps were very popular. Perfume  was poured into the hollow above the lamp and the heat made it circulate across the room. The most popular shapes were dancers and animals. 

Our online store features some of the most popular perfume bottle manufacturers. 

  1. Cristal de Paris — the high-end French crystalware brand.
  2. Jay Strongwater — the world famous American jeweler and designer.