Monday, July 18, 2011

Marie Antoinette's Secret: Black Jade

I've mentioned before that I have a weakness for beautiful perfume bottles. I can't imagine life without fragrance. There is rarely a day I don't wear perfume. The new scent out by Lubin, the French perfumer that was established in 1798, is my newest obsession.

The top is a beautiful aqua colored jade.
 Most of us from our history lessons (or perhaps the 2006 movie starring Kirsten Dunst, which I've yet to see in full ) will recall that Marie Antoinette was the charming and beautiful young woman born into Austrian royalty in 1755. She married married Louis XV in 1770 and became the Queen of France.

Kirsten Dunst as Marie Antoinette

History also records her as being decadent and most extravagant in her needs. One such area was her need for the best perfumes. The royal courts perfumer of the time, Jean-Louis Fargeon, created a scent just for her inspired by the roses from her garden at La Petit Trianon. Marie Antoinette kept the  perfume with her at all times in a black jade flask, including during her imprisonment in the Temple Tower. It is here, she secretly passed it to her closet confident just before her execution in 1793 at age 38.

Portrait of Marie Antoinette by Lebrun 1783. Notice the dress color she chose for this portrait, was it her favorite?
 However, during it's initial formulation a young apprentice of Fergeon named, Pierre Lubin, paid very close attention to the components needed to formulate this scent. Until now, it was a well kept secret know only as jardin secret in the House of Lubin.

The beautiful shape of the bottle reminds me of the corseted queen. I wonder if that was the intention?
It has been reinvented and made it's 21st century debut under the name Jade Noir or Black Jade and was released last week to select retailers and exclusively to Lily. I was fortunate enough to purchase a bottle last week at Lily in Charleston SC. They had their launch party on Bastille Day (July 14th) to unveil this intoxicating fragrance with it's rich history and opulent packaging that would surely have made the lavish queen smile.

Besides rose there are notes of Bergamont, Cardamon, Jasmine, Galbanum,
Cinnamon, Indian Sandlewood, Patchouli and a few others.
Lily is located in the antiques district on King Street in Charleston, South Carolina. The owners, Lin and Kevin relocated from New York over 20 years ago and have all the charm and friendliness this southern city is known for. Lily is always a must stop on visits to the city for me. It's the kind of shop that not only has wonderful merchandise, but just has great atmosphere. I fantasize about moving in....maybe turning it into my own private retreat complete with a large soaking tub and Recamier....something fit for a queen of course! Kevin always has a few minutes to chat and I just loved the story about how this perfume came to be.

I spent the major portion of my day running errands. It was the typical day after vacation: unpacking, stocking the fridge, picking up a over a weeks worth of mail and a dental appointment for my daughter. To save myself from the let down of "back to reality" mode, I sprayed myself with Black Jade just before I headed out the door. I had two ladies and one gentleman ask me what fragrance I was wearing. Even my teenagers mumbled a "you smell good Mom."  Perhaps, I will spritz some on while doing the mountains of laundry waiting for me tomorrow...

Oh, unless you will be in France anytime soon, contact Lily to purchase your own bottle of this beautiful and historic scent. It comes in 2 sizes. Be sure to mention that you are an A&A reader to receive free shipping in the US!!!


  1. Rebecca I am always intrigued by a beautiful scent. I just ordered a sample of this fragrance on Lucky scent. I know how fragrances change as they dry down so I got a sample and if it works you will have a new convert. It sounds absolutely lovely. they say if people ask you what you are wearing, that is your signature scent. It sounds as if you have found yours!! Kathysue
    PS thank you for sharing I am looking forward to getting my sample. KS

  2. I am so excited!! Thanks for the heads up, I too am a huge perfume fan but do get stuck on one or two and then switch up every now and again. However you have piqued my interest and I think I will be giving Lilly a call to treat myself to a bottle...anything with rose AND that is French gets my vote and then that packaging gets a boatload of bonus points....tres jolie!! Thank you!

  3. Lubin has always been a favourite of mine and virtually disappeared in the early eighties until relaunched a couple of years ago! One my all time favourite fragrances of theirs is "Gin Fizz" so light and summery. I will have to hunt this out!

  4. Rebecca this sounds really tempting!! The bottle is beautiful! Right now I wear either Angel or Chanel #5.


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  5. Oh sounds lovely!! And thank you for the little history lesson - you know how much I love that!! I adore the packaging - how beautiful. It's almost worth buying just to have on the shelf!!

  6. This sounds wonderful. I often wear the two rose scents by L'Occitane and enjoy a trip back to summer when the weather gets colder.

  7. I am not a big perfume wearer but this packaging could make me change my mind!

  8. Love that story....and the movie is fun, so I hope you get to see it sometime.

    You know you have a winner when multiple people give you a compliment about something on any given day! Might just have to splurge on this! :)

  9. Bonjour,
    This bottle looks so lovely!
    And We can only imagine the divine smell. We must order samples pronto! Thanks for the tip and thank you for the lovely comment on our blog.

    xoxo Jessica & Holly

  10. I am not a perfume wearer as I usually prefer scented lotion, funny enough VS Pink is my fave, I find it stays on longer. I may have to give yours a try!

    Put on some great music and enjoy laundry day!


  11. It's crazy, but I've never bought perfume for myself ever...just always think of it as a to receive it as a gift. Will have to put this on my list. Hope you are having a great Summer. Mona


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