The Great Exhibition of 1851 saw a new way of storing perfume, namely, the glass perfume bottle. A popular form was a glass cylinder, clear or coloured with ornate lids on each end. One half of the bottle contained perfume, the other half smelling salts. Some were meant to sit on a dressing table while smaller ones had bales and loops and so could be worn either as a pendant or attached to a belt or chatelaine.

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Victorian perfume and vinaigrette red glass bottle with brass ends

The popularity of glass did not mean that no other containers were used. The picture below show two egg shaped porcelain perfume bottles with silver lids,ย  meant to be carried in a handbag or pocket.

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Two antique perfume bottles shaped like eggs, small enough to slip in a pocket.

In the early 20th century, perfume bottle pendants remained popular, like the Bohemian glass bottle below, with gold enamelling, and the small antique gold bottle set with turquoise beads designed to be worn as a pendant which is the photo at the top of the post.

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Vintage ruby glass and gold decorated bottle and chain

The big change, though, with perfume was its commercialisation. Up until the late 1800s, perfumes were created by craftsmen from naturally occurring ingredients, specially designed for a wealthy client. Special perfumes were created, available only to the royal families or nobility. One exception was eau d’cologne which was invented in 1709 in Cologne to a formula which has still not been disclosed. Although extremely expensive, other versions of eau d’cologne were created and the prices for these began to fall. By the end of the 1800s, modern chemistry enabled the use of synthetic ingredients for perfumes and the ability to standardise and commercial the industry. Perfume houses were established and iconic perfumes were created, such as Chanel No 5. The perfumes were packaged in mass produced bottles and made available to anyone to purchase.