La Perfumerie

Perfume and Perfume Bottles
What has brought me passion, joy and true love in my life? Well, not only are these words that describe some of my feelings about my interest in fragrance and related items, but names of some of the perfume bottles in my collection.
As a child I can remember being fascinated by the interesting shapes of bottles with colored water my mother had in clearstory. They were beautiful to me. When I was about ten years old I remember riding my bike to a yard sale and buying a bottle for a nickel. Perfumes even in the sixties were worn perhaps on Sunday when you were all dressed up going to church or for special occasions in the evening. Henceforth I associated wearing perfume with feeling pretty.
Sometime around the early 70's the first perfume advertised for daytime wear that I can remember was Charlie. As the years rolled by and I became an interior designer, I would sometimes use perfume bottles as a decorative accessory. Not knowing much about bottles I was thrilled when a lady had tables of perfume bottles at a flea market. She told me how to get in contact with a perfume club and that ignited my desire to collect.
Since then I have crossed continents, gone to dozens of perfume meetings, attended a number of conventions, sat through auctions, gone to flea markets read books, in persuit to my next find.
At any one time I have over one thousand bottles on display. 

Why do people collect?
For lots of reasons. Sometimes the items they enjoy gathering are ones that bring back pleasant memories. Have you ever noticed that people don't collect what they don't like? Others enjoy the pursuit of the hunt. Aaahhh yes, the journey can lead one to wonderful places and interesting people. Some find that, if collecting is a hobby for them, it can be very rewarding for them personally and ease their mind of other things going on in their lives. Some look at collecting as a way to make money and some find it fun to using their collection.
My passsion is perfume memorabilia. I had no idea how many facets there were to this area of collecting. My goal in the next issues is to help one either expand a collection, start collecting, add value to it or to show what diversity there is within a group of collectibles.
In the perfume bottles alone, there are people who collect by era, size, color, shape, style, material, condition. subject matter, manufacturer, and even origination, to name a few. People will even venture from bottles and look for what is callt scent or blotter cards - which perfume is prayed on. Another area is advertisements for perfumes. There are perfume lamps, jewelry, and buttons and earrings in which a favorite perfume is dabbed on a cotton ball and tucked in an opening in this special jewelry. Often when a perfume is launched, items might come out such as scarves, umbrellas, clocks, dolls, purses, and all sorts of jewelry.

Past International Perfume Bottles Association [IPBA] president,
Elizabeth Creech stories on her perfume bottles If you don't know what to start collecting, ask yourself what you like. How do the prices range? Is there much upkeep in what you want to collect? Do you have space to display or store your items? How available are the items? Are any clubs or conventions specialize in what you are interested in? One of the associations that I belong to is the International Perfume Bottles Association. This organization publishes magazine, holds annual conventions with wonderful lecturers and exhibitors from all over the world. This is a great way to buy, sell, network and gain knowledge about what you are interested in collecting.  

Is There Anything Good About a Dummy?

Tall Escada contemporary bottle.
When it comes to the fragrance industry a dummy is a good thing. They are more commonly known as a factice. Many wonder what they are. They are a representation of a commercial product that is generally mass produced sold in retail stores, and is used as a display item. They look identical to the actual product, except they don't carry actual perfume, but a colored water, and alcohol mixture instead. Most often they are giant bottles, but they also are made in miniatures sizes as well. Counter spaces in retail shops are at a premium to sell the stores merchandise. therefor some stores don't use any for display. Sometimes you will find they way up high, perhaps in an alcove, in a giant size so they can be seen from a distance, where smaller bottles up high would not be as visible.

When I am not selling real estate, I'm on the hunt for factices. They are highly collectible and designers find them to be a wonderful accessory in home furnishings. Years ago, when a fragrance was no longer carried in the store, they would break the bottle and then disposed of, thus making older factices very difficult to find. The ones today are mostly made in limited production, and often difficult to make for a number of reasons, thus making them costly to produce.

Cher - The top of the bottle is designed from one of Cher's earring. Here are several sizes of dummy bottles here along with a spray bottle. The fragrance was produced for a very short period of time, thus making it rare to come by.
Shalimar - A very classic bottle. This style of Guerlain factice is no longer produced, and one of the most sought after factice.  

Perry Ellis for man - Perry Ellis has done an outstanding job, on this man's bottle, combining a faux ivory and ebony look on the stopper.  
Gale Hayman - This factice comes in several different varieties on the cat. From a frosted look, to a black and gold, but one of the most stunning is this stunning green cat, with the emerald eyes.

Cindy Coleman will be speaking at the International Perfume Bottle Association National Convention from May 3, to May 6, 2007 at the Crown Plaza Ravinia in Atlanta, Ga for more information call 404-791-8488 or email It has been stated by Lenore Hiers, past president of the organization that Cindy's knowledge on bottles is world sought after.