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The tears that you spill, the sorrowful, are sweeter than the laughter of snobs and the guffaws of scoffers.
-Kahlil Gibran

From "The Extraordinary Healing Power of Ordinary Things: Fourteen Natural Steps to Health and Happiness," by Larry Dossey:

Tears are so highly valued as an expression of love and caring they have often been collected and stored in bottlelike containers called lachrymatories. The practice is ancient. Ten centuries before the birth of Christ, in Psalms 56:8, David prays to God, 'Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?' In the Roman era, mourners filled small tear bottles or cups with tears and placed them in tombs as a symbol of respect for the departed. The volume of tears attested to the status of the deceased individual; thus mourners were sometimes recruited and paid for the specific purpose of producing and collecting tears for these containers. Lachrymatories from the Roman period can be found today in museums around the world.

Tear bottles made a comeback during the Victorian era. During this time, bottles were made with special openings that permitted the tears of mourners to evaporate, and when they had done so the period of mourning was considered over. During the American Civil War, women collected their tears in small bottles as a sign of love for their men at war.

A lachrymatory renaissance is underway in the United States. For a modest price, skilled glassblowers will design and craft your personal tear bottle. You can even send in your tears to one glass artist, who will encase them in a glass teardrop that can be worn as a necklace, 'so your tears can be close to your heart.'

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