These antique bottles have been referred to throughout history, but made a reappearance during the Victorian era (1837-1901) when people became a bit obsessed with death, and mourning rituals. From lachrymatorydotcom....."During Victorian funerals, men and women alike would shed tears for the deceased. A more upscale ceremony would distribute lachrymatory for the guests to capture their tears and aid in their mourning". From the reference book: "Mourning Art & Jewelry" by Maureen DeLorme on page 224. According to DeLorme these tears bottles are called "weeping bottle" or "tear catchers". She states that the concept is based on a verse from Psalm 56:8, where David returns from losing a battle and cries out to God, "Hast Thou not saved my tears in Thy bottle?" This idea of God saving his tears appealed to the Victorians sense beliefs, and thus women would hold these vials up to their eyes to save their tears, and then keep them on their vanity table. Some traditional accounts, states DeLorme, hold that the weeping bottles would then be emptied over the grave on the first anniversary of the death.
These bottles were produced in various sizes. This one measures 6&3/4 inches. No stopper, or wax seal. This one has an etched design on 2 sides, and the other 2 sides are smooth. The design is accented with gold leaf paint, as is the top, around the opening. On those two sides, are indents in the glass, for your fingers. Some bottles had no stoppers, but were sealed with wax. It is in excellent condition, with no chips, or scratches. Just very minor paint loss to the gold accent paint. Circa 1840-1900. As I write this, I have another, almost identical tear bottle in my shop that has its original stopper.
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