What is Perfume?
Individuals have been using perfumes for pretty well all of recorded history. While hygiene standards have varied over hundreds of years (Queen Isabella of Spain, the 1400s, boasts that she'd only had 2 baths in her entire life), people have always had an urge to smell nice. And they have turned to perfume.
So what precisely is perfume? Have individuals always understood it to be scented fluids in small glass bottles, as we understand it these days? Well, oddly sufficient, some of the earliest perfumes were kept in small glass bottles.... As the French say, the more things change, the more things stay the same. So let us check perfume via the ages, and see what we come across.
We see perfume now as fluids, which we can dab or mist on ourselves to give an agreeable scent. The word modern word perfume, all the same, derives from the Latin phrase per fumus, meaning 'through smoke,' and that gives a hint to the source of perfume. The earliest perfumes had been the smokes given off by burning incense.
Incense and Ancient History
Incense is 1 of humanities oldest inventions; records of it can return to ancient Egypt, much more than 3500 years ago. It was utilized to scent the air, and was mainly a 'luxury' product: the wealthy used it in their homes, and also the priests utilized it in religious rituals. Ordinary folks had to deal with smells of ordinary life.
Incense was a luxury item as a consequence of the tremendous effort that went into producing it. Then, as now, the more challenging it is to make some thing, the more it'll cost. To get a thought of ancient incense preparation, just try to powder various barks, twigs, leaves, and flowers with a mortar and pestle. Now do it enough to make a barrel of incense.
And this takes us to an additional point: just where to perfumes come from? Largely, perfumes and incenses are manufactured from plant products. Numerous woods, such as cedar or mesquite, are fairly aromatic, and we all know that flowers give off scent, as to many leaves. Other substances, like oils and wines, can be added to these in various combinations, to create the desired scent. In general, in the present terminology, if the source of the scent is really a solid, than it is an incense; if the source is really a liquid, it's a perfume.
The ancient Egyptians has knowledge of liquid scents, as well. They used various oils and flower extracts on themselves, and the use of fragrances spread via their whole society. Perfuming was part of bathing, and bathing was frequent. As a side note, the public baths of Greece and Rome most likely owe some thing of their nature to Egyptian precursors.
The Egyptians also paid attention to the bottles and jars the utilized to maintain perfumes. By and large, these were ceramic or pottery, but they also used glass, just as we do these days.
Bringing Perfume to the West
Egyptian culture can have vanished, but the practice of perfuming lived on. The Greeks and Romans did not use incense as extensively, but they did take up the practice of using scented oils as component of bathing. Olive oil was frequently employed a base for men's fragrances. These perfumed oils actually served a dual purpose. They smelled good, obviously, but in the hot Mediterranean climate they also protected the skin from the sun.
So, for significantly of history, perfumes had been produced by crushing flowers, barks, woods, or leaves, and then infusing them into different oils or burning them as incense. Things began to change within the Middle Ages, when Arab chemists developed a process to extract oils from flowers. Today we call these oils essential oils, not as they are necessary to the perfume business ( they are), but because they are the 'essence' of the fragrance.
Perfume Enters Modern History
Arab traders introduced volatile oils to Europe in the Renaissance period, and perfume makers quickly recognized them as superior for the output of scented perfumes, especially liquid ones.
Perfume, as a way of masking the unpleasant odors of life, quickly became well-liked throughout Europe. In France it became particularly popular, in part by royal imprimatur... The court of Louis XV was known as the 'perfumed court' as a result of the prevalence of scent. It was in France that the practice of daubing women's fragrance on the wrist joints originated.
It wasn't just the royal courtiers who had been perfumed, though. The gloves and wigs that had been the type of the day had been often perfumed. If you've ever seen portraits from colonial the US, notice the wigs that Washington and also the other gentlemen are wearing; they're white, not from age, but from the perfumed powder that was related to them.
Heading Toward the 20th Century
The practice of producing perfumes from volatile oils, primarily from floral sources, remains with us these days. The biggest difference between women's fragrances now, and also the women's fragrances available in the 1700s, is the bottles.
Modern glass perfume bottles, as little bits of artwork, were the brainchild of Francois Coty, the French-Corsican perfume maker, who, in the 1890s and 1900s, developed a fantastic reputation as parfumier, or perfume maker. He also had an eye for advertising, and recognized that not everybody had the 'nose of Coty.' His insight was to trade his perfumes in small, attractive glass bottles. He partnered with a glass maker, and the rest is history....
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