Friday, January 9, 2015

Stone Flower by New Dawn c1955

This is my first entry into the world of the Russian perfume industry. Many of my readers hail from that part of the world, and I know they might enjoy these blog posts. If you have anything to add, please feel free to share your memories, comments or info with me.

A popular legend in Russia revolves around the creation of a famous perfume, Stone Flower, a perfume that was said to be born from the revival of the country to civilian life. Stone Flower was very successful and won a Grand Prix medal at the Brussels industrial exhibition in 1958.



Fleur En Pierre (Kamennyi Tsvetok)

Scent "Kamenny Tsvetok" (Stone Flower)

Evening scent for solemn occasions. Exquisite and composite bouquet musk, oak moss, and bergamot flowers. Figured glass bottle packed in an original box resembling the color of  malachite, an invariable element in ancient Ural legends.

Духи КАМЕННЫЙ ЦВЕТОК

Вечерние парадные  духи Изысканный и сложный запах мускуса дубового мха и цветов бергамота Флакон из фигурного стекла вложен в оригинальную коробку по цвету напоминающую уральский малахит - неизменный спутник древних уральских сказов



Stone Flower was purported to have been created in 1949, but based on the chemical makeup of the fragrance and the ingredients used, it actually occurred only a few years later in 1955 when it created by Pavel Ivanov.

Stone Flower, classified as a spicy floral amber perfume, made use of one the synthetic musks known as pentadecanolide. This chemical has a powerful musky scent that has facets of sweetness, woodiness and powderiness with a slight herbal angelica root accent. It acts as a fixative and enhances skin acceptance and radiance to amber, animalic chypre, and herbal compositions. It is typically used .4% to 32% in perfume compounds- with an average use of 2%, Stone Flower employs this chemical in a concentration of 5.5% as noted by chemists Voitkevich and Kheifitsin the book "From ancient to modern incense perfumes and cosmetics."The fact that the musk used in the perfume was, in fact, a synthetic and not natural may surprise many people, but this type of musk is characterized as being "nature identical", which is why some people may have been confused..

After WWII, many opportunities had opened up in the world of domestic perfumery and that meant the acquisition of different and innovative fragrance chemicals was possible. The chemists as Novaya Zarya certainly knew that these new chemicals could pave the way for beautiful fragrances of the future and wasted no time in composing them.

National Review Bulletin - Volume 9, 1960"
"Communist jingoism doesn't step aside for Russian perfume. Soviet perfumes, unlike Western counterparts ("My Sin," "Temptation") are called "Red Moscow," "Sputnik," "Stone Flower," etc."

However, it is said that when Stone Flower was first released, it was not immediately favored due to two factors: cost and the vintage style name. Many of the citizens of the new era of Soviet Russia wanted modernism, not old fashioned granny perfumes that were too costly. Stone Flower had romantic connotations as a fantasy film of the same name that debuted in 1946, which was the first Russian movie to use color film shot on Agfacolor negative film which was seized in Germany during the war. The film was based on a Ural folktale by Pavel Bazhov and was also adapted into a ballet, The Tale of the Stone Flower (Prokofiev) in 1954.

Saturday Review, 1960:
"Most expensive of all is the new scent called Stone Flower, named after the recent ballet. It comes in a box that that unfolds like flower petals and costs a flat 100 rubles."

The actual name "stone flower" refers to the Parmelia perlata a light green lichen that grows on rocks in running streams or rivers. It has a mossy, earthy, damp scent which is musty, and slightly herbal/woody with a minty essence. A curious note: this ingredient finds itself included in ayurvedic preparations to help with sexual dysfunction.

Russia in the Thaw, 1964:
"The perfumes on sale "are all made from French oils". The most coveted perfume is called Kamenyi Zvetok (Stone Flower). It has the scent of gardenias: moist, hot, somewhat putrefied. Other sought-after brands are Pezdravlyayu ( Congratulations), Vecher (Evening), and Zolotoy Kaskad (cascade of Gold)."

So we figured where the name of the perfume originated, but what made Stone Flower so irresistible despite its price and traditional name? Simple, it was its beautiful packaging. The perfume was housed inside of a delightful crystal flacon,  its stylized floral shape, which certainly did not look cheaply made, had the high style of the Golden Age of perfumery, very 1920s-1930s. A richly colored, green marbled heavy cardstock presentation box, which looked like an Imperial egg and when opened, would reveal it's gleaming gilded foil interior and its precious cargo within, the stately crystal flacon, in all of its glory. It was this design that made it an ideal gift, one that denoted luxury. The dark green and black of the printed box recalled that of the malachite vase from the Copper Mountain featured in the ballet.

The View from No. 13 People's Street, 1962:
"The scents are packaged with tassels, colored paper printed with Russian scenery, and in bottles shaped like the Kremlin towers. ... In this land of strict morality the perfumes are staidly named "Red Moscow," "Evening," and "Stone Flower."


Fragrance Composition:


So what does it smell like? It is classified as a chypre fragrance for women.
  • Top notes: bergamot, galbanum, and honey
  • Middle notes: gardenia, iris, oregano, sage, marjoram
  • Base notes: benzoin, patchouli, ambergris, orris, musk, sandalwood, oak moss, vetiver

This perfume was presented by Nikita Khrushchev, Premier of the USSR, to First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy during the Vienna Conference on June 3-4, 1961.

Fate of the Fragrance:


Stone Flower sold consistently up until its last day in 1993, though the quality of the perfume and its bottle declined as the price of manual labor increased. By the mid 1980s, the bottle no longer had its highly polished surface and it's exquisite look. One simple look at the stopper of an older bottle and one of the newer ones showed that on the older stopper, the top was cut and polished and resembles a flat disk, however, on the newer, lower quality bottle, there exists a crude mold line, a seam which looks very cheap and not at all refined. So if you are looking for the older vintage and cannot tell if it is the older or newer version ask the seller for a photo of the top of the stopper.

Also wanted to mention that the bottle was also used for another perfume, Ural Gems (Sverdlovsk. Group A) in 1989 and used the crude style bottle.


Foreign Trade, 1994:
"Spontaneous Productions, Inc, ... A full line of designer fragrance imitations is available at a production capacity of 150M bottles a day as well as Russia's finest fragrances, such as Red Moscow, Black Box, Kremlin, Stone Flower, Red Rose, Nordique and Moscow Lights with a very limited production with 20M bottles each per month."





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