Thursday, June 25, 2015

Tresor de la Mer by Lalique for Saks Fifth Avenue c1939

In 1939, Saks Fifth Avenue celebrated the 50th anniversary of the opening of their department store, which had opened in 1889. To herald this achievement, in 1936, they commissioned a special perfume bottle to be created by master craftsman, Rene Lalique.


Lalique answered the call with a fabulous perfume flacon in the shape of a pearl, hidden inside an giant sea shell box, called the Tresor de la Mer, or Treasure of the Sea.


The opalescent glass object was only made in a limited edition of just 100 examples. The original retail price of this flacon was $50. The clear and frosted opalescent crystal shell was made in hues of oceanic blues and fiery oranges which seemed to glow from within. The giant shell rested on molded aquatic plants and parting waves. Inside, is little spherical perfume flacon rested. The top and bottom of the shell are connected by metal hinges. The shell bottle was presented inside a red velvet presentation box that was lined in gold silk and blue velvet.


The gorgeous perfume presentation was to be shown at the Rene Lalique exhibit at the Saks Fifth Avenue store. Today fewer than three known complete presentations still exist, they are considered rare and holy grails of Lalique perfume bottle collecting.


The most recent example sold for a whopping $180,000 at David Rago Auctions in 2007 thru an eBay live auction.


The presentation is documented in the Marcilhac book on page 949, and in the book Lalique Perfume Bottles by Glenn & Mary Lou Utt.


In 1938, Stage magazine mentioned the flacon:
"Tresor de la Mer, an exclusive Saks V perfume, at $50 an ounce, seems a good idea. It comes in a round pearl- shaped Lalique phial, inside a large Lalique silver-hinged oyster, hurried in a plush container. Such goings-on!"



It is worth noting that an equally rarer bottle was also made for tresor de la Mer, this time it is an oval bottle made up of opalescent glass and molded with a scallop shell pattern. It is topped with a round, disk shaped, opalescent glass stopper molded with gadrooning. The bottle stands 6 1/2". and is fitted with a metallic label towards the bottom of the bottle. This bottle was not made by Lalique but may have been made by Sabino.



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