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Perfume Bottles

A perfume bottle is more than just a container for fragrance; it can be a piece of history and culture, too. The design and material of such containers tell us about their origins and about society at that time, making even empty perfume bottles worth something as art pieces.


Just as there are collectable perfumes, so, too, are there collectable perfume bottles. Most bottles go above and beyond the mundane task of holding fragrant liquids; many are beautiful in their own right. The most common kinds are glass perfume bottles, but engraved silver ones exist, along with some using other metals. Porcelain, semi-precious stones, rock crystal and more have gone into the manufacture of fragrance vials, and decorative stoppers or cameo settings can make these objects into noteworthy historical artifacts.


Perfume is an old idea, which makes the way people create, store and apply it of significant interest. The ancient Egyptians didn’t keep their fragrances in quite the same way as the ladies of Victorian England, so having these articles to study gives us insight into civilisations of past eras. This is one of the things that makes perfume bottles a fascinating subject and a target for collectability.


Perfume bottles are also collectable because they remind us not only of the ancient past, but also of recent history. Only a couple of generations ago, women who are now grandmothers and great-grandmothers often had vials and accompanying crystal stoppers or atomisers on their vanities. Some of these bottles represent distinctive movements in culture and fashion, such as art nouveau or art deco.


Much like Tiffany lamps, there are also Tiffany perfume bottles; both are collectable as well as valuable. The turn of the twentieth century brought us uranium glass perfume bottles. A far cry from the often simpler glass vials of today, these pieces are no longer in production, making them relics of a bygone time. When museums and anthropologists are interested in them, you can be sure they have collectability!

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