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What Are the Different Types of Cologne Bottles?

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  • Written By: Britt Archer
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2016
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Cologne bottles, or perfume bottles, have been made for centuries to hold scented liquids. These containers and flasks can be plain and utilitarian or highly ornamental, varying from modern designer cologne bottles to vintage cologne bottles. Their shape can vary, and the more unique or unusual types are usually considered more valuable when collecting cologne bottles. A gemel, for example, is a unique and highly prized design with two necks on a single bottle. In addition to the tradition bottle shape, other types have been crafted from silvery mercury glass to resemble a seahorse, or even in a tubular shape that is curved in the shape of a bracelet.

These special containers can be shaped like a small, slim ampule or vial, or even shaped like a teardrop, such as the type of container known as a lachrymatory. Many antique or vintage bottles were crafted from blown glass in the 19th century in France, Britain, Germany and Bohemia, in what today is the Czech Republic. Glass blowers also created cologne bottles during this period in the United States. Prominent American manufacturers at this time included the Boston & Sandwich Glass Company and the New England Glass Company.

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Different types of cologne bottles were abundant in the past, and today there are hexagonal, oval, and other various shapes of bottles, often with all sorts of artistic additions and touches to set them apart in numerous colors. The bottle stoppers, too, are sometimes a feature of great interest, with some resembling birds in flight and others shaped like a pineapple, for example. Quite interesting to collectors are the elaborate and elegant Art Deco cologne bottles, which craftsmen began producing about 1890, frequently from crystal. These containers sported silver accents, hinges, collars and stoppers, and some were decorated with a gilt floral pattern. Others were designed as intricate intaglio carvings. Designer perfume and cologne bottles took a dramatic turn in France prior to the 1940s, becoming highly stylized.

Cameo bottles are elegant with their often red or pink backgrounds framing white designs. Sometimes other colors were used for the background, such as yellow or blue, when the cameo bottles were created in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These scent bottles, can even have corset waists, meaning their midpoint is narrower than their tops and bottoms, like a woman’s corseted waist.

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