The History of Apothecary Jars


The humble tools of the apothecary have evolved considerably since the days of the mortar and pestle and glass jars. Now seen as a stylish accessory or valuable antique, we rarely see them behind the counter at the pharmacy anymore.


  • The apothecary of the ancient world was a purveyor of spices, wine and other luxury items. It was not until the 16th century that the apothecary began to resemble a modern pharmacist. The opaque or translucent glass jars that lined these 16th century apothecaries had already been in use by people across the globe for centuries.


  • There could be as many as three main types of storage that the vintage apothecary jar was used for in a single shop: to store medication in the form of pills, creams or elixirs: to store herbs and other basic ingredients needed for making medication; or for botany. Shapes and sizes varied, but most authentic antique apothecary jars are made of glass and still retain the original label.


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  • Photo Credit ANTICA BOCCETTA DA FARMACIA image by Little sisters from four wine glasses with white wine image by Arkady Ten from vase of stones image by Liz from pill bottle image by msw from
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