I never ever thought that a bottle could be historical or really valuable, well the Guerlain Bee Bottle is ! It is covered with raised bees that have been painted in 24- carat gold and is valued by collectors worldwide. Guerlain happens to be one of the oldest Perfume Houses in France, in fact it is the oldest.
I have such a bottle. To say I have, is not quite correct, it belonged originally to Ray Jackson my late partner for 40 years. It was bought for him by his lady friend Norma Berzin, who told him that her late husband, “ Always used the Guerlain Imperiale Eau de Cologne, and used to walk around in a cloud of it”. (Maybe she wanted Ray to smell like the late Mr. Berzin?)
However when Ray died I inherited among many other things the Bee Bottle, (of course it was empty by the time I got it!). Although if one were to uncork the stopper, there still remains a slight musky, pungent smell. Could it be that of the late Mr.Berzin? (One will never know!)
But I digress, having read an article about The House of Guerlain, I became intrigued about their Bee Bottle so I Googled it and found an interesting but small article in Wikipedia which told the whole story, and which I am including in this blog with some photos.
Portrait of Napoleon III by Francois Gerard 1853 Bee Bottle of Guerlain Imperiale presented to Napolean and the Empress Eugenie.
The Emperor Napoleon III loved to have his portrait painted in a luxurious robe covered with bees, a symbal of monarchy in France. In 1853, Pierre-Francois Pascal Guerlain created the now famous bee bottle for Eau De Cologne Imperiale (composed in 1830) for the Empress Eugenie who wore the perfume to her wedding to Napolean III. Because of the Bee Bottle, M. Guerlain was appointed the official perfumer to her Royal Majesty and the legacy of this design lives on in Guerlain’s perfumery -from bee designs to honeycomb topped flacons.
An advertisement which said.
Guerlain revives its “Jar of Bees” perfume in 24-carat gold to celebrate its legendary history.
If you ever wondered what it was like to live like a queen, here’s your chance to find out. Guerlain’s legendary “Jar of Bees” is back to make you feel like an Empress, Eugenie to be specific. Originally created for her, the wife of Napoleon III, the emblematic bottle has been revived in all its golden glory to celebrate its 160th anniversary.
A limited range of the Guerlain exclusive fragrances have been bottled in the 24-carat ‘Golden Bee’. In addition, Guerlain in collaboration with the Institut National des Métiers d’ Art has commissioned nine Masters artisans to recreate perfume history. Nine works of art inspired by the signature bottle have been designed to denote the supreme symbol of French luxury.
This bottle that was originally made for Napoleon III
Eau de Cologne Impériale, 1853
They evoke an era when Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain, founder of Guerlain, fell captive to Eugénie de Montijo’s beauty and crafted what came to be known as a true technical feat. In recognition for it, he received the highest imperial title, “His Imperial Majesty’s Official Perfume Maker”, which catapulted him to the top of perfume-making peak.
An exceptional exhibition will display the celebratory artworks from December 10 to February 14 at La Maison Guerlain 68 Champs Elysées in Paris. (That was in 2013) Their inimitable designs will pay haute homage to Guerlain’s sensory story.
The Bees are each painted in 24-carat gold
Guerlain (French pronunciation: [ɡɛʁlɛ̃]) is a French perfume house, among the oldest in the world. It has a large customer following, and has traditionally been held in high esteem in the perfume industry. Perfumes by Guerlain are often said to be characterized by a common olfactory accord known as the “Guerlinade”. A perfume by the same name was launched by Guerlain in 1921.
The Guerlain Bee Bottle is described as “a symbol of Guerlain DNA and savoir-faire”
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Guerlain S.A.Founded 1828
Founder Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain
Headquarters Levallois-Perret, France
Products Perfumes and cosmetics
So whenever I reminisce, and think about Ray and maybe the Bee Bottle. I go to the bottle, uncork the stopper and have a sniff of, could it be…………. the late Mr.Berzin ?