Tear Bottle History


Tear bottles are petit decorative glass bottles that express shared tears of love, joy, sympathy and remembrance. The captivating tear bottle tradition dates back nearly 3,000 years, when mourners were said to collect their tears in a tear bottle, also called a lachrymatory, and bury them with loved ones to express honor and devotion.


The tear bottle tradition has endured for more than 3,000 years. Tear bottles, or lachrymatory, were common in ancient middle Eastern societies. Even today they are still produced in that region. Tear bottles were prevalent in ancient Roman times, when mourners filled small glass vials or cups with tears and placed them in burial tombs as symbols of love and respect. Sometimes women were even paid to cry into "cups", as they walked along the mourning procession. Those crying the loudest and producing the most tears received the most compensation, or so the legend goes. The more anguish and tears produced, the more important and valued the deceased person was perceived to be.

In the Old Testament of the Bible, a reference to collecting tears in a bottle appears in Psalm 56:8 when David prays to God, "Thou tellest my wanderings, put thou my tears in Thy bottle; are they not in Thy Book?" David is referring to the belief that God keeps a record of human pain and suffering and always remembers our sorrows.

Tear bottles reappeared during the Victorian
period of the 19th century, when those mourning the loss of loved ones would collect their tears in bottles ornately decorated with silver and pewter. Special stoppers allowed the tears to evaporate. When the tears were gone, the mourning period would end.
In some American Civil War stories, women were said to have cried into tear bottles and saved them until their husbands returned. Their collected tears would show the men how much they were loved and missed.

Today, lachrymatory tear bottles are given on many occasions - to show joy and delight upon the wedding of a friend or the birth of a new child. To convey love and admiration between a mother and daughter, representing the tears that have been shed between them. To express sympathy upon the loss of a loved one. Tear bottles communicate feelings that few other gifts can. And what's so wonderful is that unlike flowers, a tear bottle will last for years and be a precious and powerful reminder of your love.

In current music and literature, tear bottles have once again been romanticized. References to the power of the tear bottle tradition occur in contemporary music videos, novels, and poetry. You can learn more about the history of lachrymatory tear bottles at

"Truth and tears clear the way to a deep and lasting friendship."

- Mariede Svign

Tear Catcher gifts is pleased to offer you this exquisite collection of tear bottles.


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