Tear bottles, also known as “tear catchers” or “lachrymatory bottles,” are blown glass bottles usually decorated with colorful enamel, pattern or gilding. These bottles were created to hold the tears of someone as they mourned. Tear bottles are symbols of sympathy, grief or deep emotional resonance, depending on the intention of the giver.

The Fascinating History of Tear Bottles

Antiquity: The origin of tear bottles is speculated to have begun in ancient Egypt and Rome when mourners collected their tears and buried the tear-full vials alongside their loved ones. This was seen as a sign of great love and enduring devotion.

Victorian Era: More commonly known, tear bottles also appeared in Victorian times, around the 19th century. Mourners would capture their tears upon the death of a loved one, stopping the end of the bottle with a special cork which allowed small bits of air through. When all of the tears had evaporated, their mourning period was over.

American Civil War: It is even said that during the American Civil War, women left at home cried into tear bottles and saved them, hoping for their husbands and sons to return home. The idea was that their amassed tears would signify how much they had missed their husband or son when they had been away. Full tear bottles were the highest sign of devotion.

Tear Bottles as a Modern Sympathy Gift

These days, tear bottles are exquisitely crafted expressions of deep sympathy. They are a sympathy gift you just don’t see every day. Tear bottles have three main qualities that make them a truly special sympathy gift.

Symbolism: While you may choose to fill the bottle with actual tears, salt water or tinted water, the meaning behind the tear bottle stays the same. This is an artifact representing the emotion that you’ve felt and spent for your loved one. They mean something to you and this is a physical representation of those caring feelings.

Beauty: There are many styles of tear bottles. Some are larger, while others are smaller. The two most popular styles currently are blown-glass tear bottles and Victorian-inspired tear bottles. While both have the same meaning, they look completely different.

  • Blown-Glass Tear Bottles: These bottles are hand-crafted, usually with clear glass. Colored glass is often added onto the bottom of the glass, giving each tear bottle its own unique coloration. These bottles also have a longer, more slender neck as compared to Victorian-inspired tear bottles. Blown-glass bottles sit higher and usually come on mirrored trays to display the gorgeous colors found along their base.
  • Victorian-Inspired Tear Bottles: These tear bottles have a vintage aesthetic, harkening back to their Victorian origins. Each glass bottle is encased in a mental band, ring or filigree design which crawls up or around the bottle. These beauties usually sit on metallic trays as they probably would have in Victorian times.

Unique: Each tear bottle has a very unique design, which means that this sympathy gift won’t just be stored away or forgotten. They are stunning and only get more beautiful in the light of day. Due to their glass design, they sparkle and gleam in the sun. Instead of being put away, they will be displayed fondly with great thanks to you for your truly memorable gift.

Find the Right Tear Bottle for Your Loved One

Finding the right sympathy gift for someone you love can be a difficult task. Is this right? Will they like it? Is this going to bring them some form of comfort or joy? Tear bottles are the perfect solution. They are a truly memorable sympathy gift, full of sympathy, thought and comfort, as well as beauty. Here at Comfort Company, we have many different tear bottles to choose from, so finding the perfect design for your loved one is just a click away.

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