Friday, January 3, 2014

Modern Egyptian Perfume Bottles

This guide introduces you to the gilded, thin blown glass perfume bottles one can commonly find on ebay. I wrote this guide with one idea in mind-- to help educate buyers on what these actually are, where they come from, the age of these, and how they are made. Sometimes there is confusion and some sellers will try to pass these off as antique Victorian era scent bottles. Please note that the bottles shown on this guide are NOT antiques!!! Hopefully, you will find my guide to helpful in your shopping.





These quality bottles are generally made in Egypt as a tourist souvenir and imported gift item. I have also seen some that were made in other areas of the Middle East as well. These mouth blown perfume bottles are easily identified by their very thin,delicate and fragile nature, their hand painted designs, etched motifs and lavishly decorated with 24kt gold paint. Sometimes perfume oils are sold in these unique handmade bottles.



These bottles have been actively made for about 25 years for the tourist trade. Lately these have been produced in Pyrex glass, which makes them very durable and unbreakable. You can find these bottles sold on ebay in the hundreds, as well as on the internet and in gift shops. They would look beautiful displayed on a vanity and filled with your favorite perfumes.

Although, some of them might have the appearance of looking antique and from the Victorian era, true Victorian perfumes were very different than these Egyptian examples. There are many fine reference books devoted to perfume bottle collecting available to the collector and dealer alike. You can also find these on ebay as well.


Glassmaking in Egypt has its roots in Pharaonic times where it was discovered in Asia, and introduced by the 18th Dynasty (1558 BC).. At first glass was more precious than jewels, and was used in making royal jewelry. It was very likely that the glassmaking process was brought into Egypt by Syrian prisoners of war.



Craftsmen in Egypt learned to create glass vessels by forming a core of mud and sand and pull the molten glass across it like taffy.Once the form was covered, the sides were worked smooth and the container was heated again for toughening in an annealing oven. The core was then scraped out, cleaned, and sent to the "labs" in the temples, where perfumed oils were manufactured.

The Egyptians also knew how to create the beautiful millefiori glass by pulling various colored strands of molten glass and working them into a cable. This cable was then cut up and each piece put together against the walls of the mold, producing the effect of a thousand flowers. This technique was used again centuries later by the Venetian glassmakers of Murano, and it was likewise used for flacons.



Although glassmaking seems to have deteriorated after the 20th Dynasty (1200-1085 BC) and the decline of royal Egyptian power, it flared to unexcelled brilliance after the founding of Alexandria in 332 Bc. The Romans,Arabs and eventually the Italians were to benefit from this tradition.



The revolutionary invention of glass-blowing took place, probably in Syria during the 1st century BC,though the technique did not reach Alexandria until the latter half of the century when it was introduced by the Romans.The new discovery widely increased production and glass then ceased to be either a rarity or upper-class possession.



Blown glass vessels were created by sticking a piece of molten glass onto one end of a blowpipe and through the other by introducing pressurized air into the pipe, this was done by mouth-blowing. At that stage, the art of transformation into attractive shapes began. It was then cut with a copper wheel and ground with emery powder.After the vessel took its shape, decorations were added by pinching the hot glass, adding handles or other features to it,changing simple straight patterns into more intricate ones. After the coloring and hand painting process was completed, the bottles were then put into a furnace with a very high temperature to set the color on the glass so that it is permanent.Afterwards, the bottles are taken out to cool. Then they are ready for sale.

Today's glassmaking has come a long way since the times of the Pharaoh's with new machines and advancements in technology, but the Egyptian craftsmen proudly create their lovely works of art using the same historic techniques and primitive tools as their ancestors for you to enjoy. To look for Egyptian perfume bottles search on ebay for the best prices.

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International Perfume Bottle Association

IPBA Annual Convention

Annual IPBA Perfume Bottles Auction

Annual IPBA Perfume Bottles Auction