Just like accords and scents, the bottles that protect them have also undergone numerous evolutions since the beginning of perfumery. From a simple container to a real case, the little bottle that hold the precious essence has changed considerably over the centuries. Shapes, materials and uses: discover the history of the perfume bottle!
History of the bottle and the perfume
The beginnings of antiquity
As you know, the origins of perfume go back to ancient times. The first civilization that sought to capture essences in various containers were the Egyptians. At that time, the art of scenting was expressed mainly to honor the Gods and perfume was found in the form of ointments, salves or oils. All these products were stored and preserved in large amphorae or inside decorated terracotta vases. Some excavations have shown that the richest Egyptians were buried with their precious bottle… The perfume bottle was already part of everyday life thousands of years ago!
It was in the 15th century BC that the first glass bottle appeared. The Greeks and Romans worked this material with the help of molds or presses to make small vials. Much less austere, the containers were adorned with all sorts of bright colors, more or less precious stones, very elaborate decorations or even shells! The perfume bottle becomes a decorative object. At the same time in the East, mixtures of resins and spices impregnate earthen houses by being consumed in perfume burners. Made of bronze or brass, they are very often decorated with meticulous gold and silver threads.
From essence boxes to precious bottles
In the Middle Ages, the raw and animal smells of musk, civet or ambergris win the favor of all noses. These powerful scents are worn all day, secretly locked in amber apples (or pomander) that are worn on the belt or around the neck. Renowned craftsmen cut them directly from gold, silver or vermeil. These aromatic containers also exist in the form of small scent boxes made of glass, porcelain or even semi-precious stones for the more affluent.
In the 17th century, it was discovered that by mixing lead oxide with glass paste, a new material of great purity was obtained: crystal. The glassworks of Bohemia and Murano will seize this discovery to create the first bottles made of this material. The flasks became more and more sophisticated, evoking baroque allegories, romantic scenes or animal representations. These unique pieces were created to order and reserved for an elite that could afford these exceptional pieces. Moreover, the price of the bottle is often much more expensive than that of the perfume at the time!
From haute-couture bottles to futuristic containers
From the 19th century, perfume is democratized and industrialized. The first synthetic essences were created and almost everyone began to use fragrances. François Coty, visionary perfumer of the beginning of the XXth century, will be the first to associate with crystal factories, first Baccarat then René Lalique. With the latter, they work on the container in a much more sober way while remaining refined. It is also the beginning of the perfume label, affixed on the bottle in half-crystal. The bottle is no longer just an ornamental object, it conveys the message of the perfume.
Then, the great Parisian couturiers will be introduced to the art of perfumery. Their bottles will reflect the models they design, sometimes very chic and elegant, sometimes completely offbeat, dreamlike or futuristic! All fantasies are good to show because the container must now attract the eyes to make a place in the middle of the shelves of perfumeries more and more cluttered.
When the bottle matters
Whether you are a collector or not, the perfume bottle has long been more than just a container. First of all, it serves to protect your precious essence from external aggressions, like light or temperature variations. Besides, we give you a lot of simple advices to keep your bottle right here. Before tickling the nose, it is the eye that is attracted to one bottle rather than another. The bottle must convey the image of the brand, the perfumer or the fragrance’s scent. Some perfume bottles have thus become iconic. Recognizable among all, they are sometimes more famous than the scent of the fragrance itself!
Back to basics: the Carrément Belle bottle
At Carrément Belle, we have been betting for several years on the essential: the perfume! And it is on this primordial element that we focus since our beginnings, investing the major part of our budgets in the research of beautiful raw materials while collaborating with French partners. That’s why we favor elegantly and simply designed bottles, which highlight all the reflections of your favorite juices. The fantasy is very simple: a few golden drops on the eau de parfum ippi patchouli clair, a rose in full bloom and stylized on the label rose bottle or our eternal Baigneuse quietly splashing in your compositions!
How would you imagine the Carrément Belle perfume bottles of tomorrow?
Discover the fragrances mentioned in the article