Antique Perfume Bottles

Terry Hurley
perfume bottles on a dresser tray

A popular collectible, antique perfume bottles range from delicate miniature decorative bottles to large commercial perfume bottles from companies such as Guerlain, Coty and Bourjois.

Collecting Antique or Vintage Perfume Bottles

Whether you are thinking of starting a collection of antique perfume bottles, are a newcomer to the hobby or have been collecting for many years, each time you find a special treasure to add to your collection you may find yourself wondering about its past. For many collectors, there is a sense of mystery surrounding perfume bottles from yesteryear. Some may wonder about the life of the vessel's owner. Others may imagine the boudoir where the beautiful bottle held its magical liquid as the lady of the house dabbed just a drop behind her ear and on her inner wrist.

Perfume Bottles from the 1800s and 1900s

Since ancient times perfume and essence jars and bottles, regardless of their size, shape, color or design, kept their fragrant treasures safely inside. Although it is highly unlikely that today's collectors are going to find an Etruscan Albaster perfume bottle dating from 500 B.C. to add to their collection, there are many exquisite antique and vintage perfume bottles from the 1800 and 1900s available both on and off line.

While many collectors limit their collection of perfume bottles to pieces that fall into specific guidelines, there are many others that add to their collections simply because they like a piece. The following are examples of some of the ways that perfume bottle collectors limit their collections:

  • Era, such as Victorian, Edwardian or Art Nouveau
  • Decorative perfume bottles or commercial perfume bottles
  • Perfume bottles with spray atomizers or glass stoppers ( Perfume bottles manufactured in 1963 and after have plastic ends on the stoppers)
  • Speciality bottle types including chatelaines, double ended scent bottles and laydown bottles
  • Color
  • Material such as cut glass, hand blown glass or porcelain
  • Details such as sterling silver overlay, gold trim or hand painted designs
  • Design
  • Style such as those replicating the perfume bottles of the ancient Egyptians or Romans
  • Figural perfume bottles
  • Size ranging from miniatures to giant sized store display bottles called factice bottles
  • Shape
  • Bottles made in specific countries such as Germany, Czechoslovakia and Italy
  • Bottles made during a specific span of years
  • Bottles made by a specific perfumer such as Prince Matchabelli, Guerlain or Caron
  • Bottles designed by famous designers such as Schiaparelli, Chanel or Paul Poiret
  • Manufacturers of decorative bottles such as Steuben, Lalique, Moser or Baccarat
  • Manufacturer or brand of commercial perfume bottles such as Elizabeth Arden, Dior or Avon
  • The scent contained within commercial perfume bottles such as Ambre Antique, Diorissomo or Evening in Paris

Examples of Antique Perfume Bottles

Click on the following links to view several beautiful perfume bottles from years past:

  • Among the images provided by Antique Trader are a Crown Milano perfume atomizer circa 1893, a porcelain perfume bottle from the 1800s with a scroll molded design from Royal Worchester and a gorgeous heavily gold trimmed cranberry glass bottle from Moser made in the 1900s.
  • A beautiful hand painted Austrian perfume bottle, circa 1890s is offered at Antiques Off Broadway

Resources for Antique and Vintage Perfume Bottles

The following links provide more useful information to anyone interested in antique or vintage perfume bottles:

Price and Identification Guides

The following price and identification guides are available from Amazon and at bookstores nationwide:

With thousands of different styles and designs of vintage and antique perfume bottles available, there is sure to be one, or a dozen, that would look lovely on your dresser tray.

Antique Perfume Bottles