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Lalique Perfume Bottles

  • Judith Miller
  • 13 Apr 2010

Lalique
perfume bottleIn the Victorian era, fragrance was generally sold in fairly plain packaging and then transferred into more attractive re-useable glass containers on the Dressing table at home. The potential for perfume bottles as a marketing tool was recognised in the early 20th century, when perfume manufacturers, such as Coty, began to offer fragrances in stylish Art Deco bottles that appealed to fashionable consumers wanting an affordable taste of glamor. These attractive bottles, dating from the first half of the 20th century, have become extremely desirable to collectors and can command astonishing prices at auction.

Lalique perfume bottlePerfume bottle collectors often limit themselves to a particular area of collecting, such as the bottles of a well-known brand or those made by a specific glassmaker. One of the top designers and producers of decorative perfume bottles was Lalique, the prestigious Art Deco glass manufacturer. René Lalique (1860-1945) founded his company in 1905 in Paris to produce a wide range of chic glass objects, from vases to car mascots, which have become greatly sought after today. Commissioned to produce more than 250 containers by over 60 perfumeries, including Coty and Guerlain, Lalique developed innovative techniques that allowed the mass-production of high quality glass. Decoration was often etched or stained, and ornately decorated stoppers, with oversized floral, figural or bird designs, were a speciality of the company.

Lalique perfume bottleAlthough constantly fluctuating, prices for Lalique bottles are generally extremely high because of the high quality craftsmanship and the fact that many were disposed of after use. Small bottles, such as the 1940s heart-shaped four inch high ‘Coeur Joie’ by Nina Ricci, start at around £150, depending on condition, while an 1910 'Ambre Antique' bottle for Coty can cost around £1,000 or more. Prices rise to thousands of pounds, particularly for the Fougeres range and even a 1980s limited
edition example can cost over £1,000.

Lalique perfume bottleWhen buying perfume bottles, check for damage and chips to vulnerable areas, such as the stopper and protruding decoration. Original stoppers may also have been lost and replaced so, as well as checking that any control numbers on the stopper and flask match, check that wear is in an appropriate place and the stopper fits snugly. Try to find bottles with additional packaging such as cardboard boxes, labels and tags, preferably in good condition, and look for unopened examples that contain the original ‘juice’ or perfume as these tend to command a premium.

David Rago Auctions in America holds specialist Lalique sales while dealers in the UK, such as Linda Bee in London, have a wide selection of perfume bottles to choose from.