Articles Of Interest
What Is IT?
“It” has been around since 3300 B.C. and today, that same “it” generates sales in excess of $53 billion per year–and growing. “It” has been described by many as intoxicating, exotic, mesmerizing, sensual. Okay—just what is “it?”
Perfume, or as some like to call it, fragrance. Once used primarily by royalty and the well-to-do, over time the allure of these exotic scents reached the masses worldwide in one form or fashion–perfume, rosewater, eau-de-toilette or perfumed bath oils.
To hold this fragrant elixir, some sort of vessel was needed–enter the perfume or scent bottle. The earliest known examples date back to the 15th century B.C. when terracotta jars were etched with hieroglyphics and illustrations. From the 6th century B.C. on, figural bottles were created that represented animals, mermaids and mythical Gods. By the 1st century B.C. glass blowers began creating vials and ampules to hold the prized liquid. But it was the early 18th century that saw an explosion of decorated bottles with jewelers, glassmakers and pottery designers of the day all vying for their share of the perfume pie.
With time, the creation of perfume bottles themselves became an art form in their own right and art museums worldwide recognized them as such. Many of the world’s best known designers in other art mediums contributed to bottle designs-Lalique, Steuben, Moser, Georg Jensen, Schiaparelli, Salvador Dali and Baccarat to name a few.
The appeal for perfume and their bottles remains strong even today. Collectors can and do open their pocketbooks wide to claim ownership of rare examples. Such was the case in 2006 at a Rago Arts auction that featured a highly sought-after bottle of “Tresor de la Mer” that reached a staggering hammer price of $216,000—the highest recorded auction price for a perfume bottle at that time.