Abstract: Quantity or Expensiveness? Fabrication of a Luxury Industry, the Parisian Perfumery in the Nineteenth Century

Eugenie Briot


The industrialization of the production of perfumery articles in the nineteenth century and their broader social diffusion invite us to question the relevance of the identification of perfume as a luxury product at that time. The innovations generated or adopted by perfumers, be they new extracting methods of raw materials or the use of smelling compounds from a synthetic origin, if they bring new creative possibilities to perfumers also allow wider margins on the sale of products whose prices remain stable. The switch from an artisanal fabrication to an industry of perfume manufacturing thus seems to go hand in hand with a relative price increase of these articles. I study the marketing strategies developed by perfumers of the nineteenth century to build the value of their products and to position them among the luxury goods triumphing on a large scale right from the Second Empire.