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The History of Perfume Bottles
Aug 10, 2018


Perfume bottles, with their elegant curves and light-refracting facets, are subtle reminders of more elegant and luxurious eras. From ancient Egypt to recent history, perfume bottles have played a role in documenting beauty throughout the ages.

Today perfume bottles serve as artifacts of luxury, a reminder that in bygone eras the powder room was a place of bespoke beauty where form met function in refined style. Antique perfume bottles are also highly coveted collectibles.

Here we explore several popular styles, how to find the perfect accent for your own vanity table or powder room, and how to source these objects as thoughtful gifts for a loved one.

The Basics

Perfume bottles are typically constructed of glass (but can also be metal or plastic) and feature a rounded base with a stopper that are most often constructed of the same materials. The bottle is filled with a fragrant liquid (perfume), then tipped to deposit the perfume onto the stopper, the stopper is then removed and dabbed on the skin to apply the fragrance. Later perfume bottles employed atomizers, allowing the liquid contents to be sprayed onto the skin.

Starting in the 19th century, perfume bottles were largely commissioned by perfume manufacturers to house their olfactory wares, the bottles themselves have become as sought after as the fragrances they were designed to hold. Eventually, perfume bottles were sold empty, allowing those who purchased them to fill them with the scent of their choosing.

Perfume bottles weren’t only intended to be set on powder room table, some were also designed to be worn. Perfume bottle necklaces were popular in the early 20th century with well-known perfume manufacturers, like Chanel, getting in on the game and designing decorative jewelry pieces that also held their signature scents.

The Manufacturers

While historically perfume bottles were bespoke items handcrafted individually in small quantities, the dawn of the Industrial Revolution gave way to the manufacturing of perfume bottles by established glass makers. In England, both Thomas Webb & Sons and Stevens & Williams Glass Company were known for cameo perfume bottles as well as smaller purse-sized bottles meant to discretely fit in a lady’s bag.


In the United States, the Steuben glass company employed its trademark Verre de Soie technique, wrapping glass threads around the perfume bottles it produced to and match the color of its iridescent base. Tiffany also got in on the perfume bottle manufacturing action, adorning their glass bottles with silver caps that often covered the bottle’s crystal stopper. René Lalique was perhaps the most well-known manufacturer of French perfume bottles. Lalique was a jeweler and he used a jewelry-casting process called cire perdue, to create a jewel-like finish on his bottles. In ChinaInsco provide the unique perfume bottle for you. 


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