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History of Perfumes

Posted by sam on September 21, 2010 at 4:14 PM

The word perfume comes from Latin word ‘per fumus', which means through smoke. The art of perfume, or as it is called perfumery began in Egypt and later was refined by the Romans and Arabs. The oldest perfumery was discovered on the Cyprus Island that existed 4000 years ago as a perfume factory.

Due to Arabic influences and knowledge perfumery was familiar in Europe in the early 14th century. But Hungarians were the ones to introduce the first modern perfume. It was made of scented oils blended in alcohol solution in 1370 at the command of Queen Elizabeth of Hungary and was known through Europe as Hungary Water. Later Italian refinements were taken to France where France became the European center of perfume and cosmetic manufacture. During the Renaissance period, perfumes were used primarily by royalty and wealthy to mask body odors.

In 1656, perfume gloves became popular in France. Perfumes were also known to create poisons. A French duchess was murdered when a perfume, actually poison was rubbed into her gloves and was absorbed slowly into her skin.

During the reigns of Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth perfume reached its peak in England. Since Queen Elizabeth could not tolerate bad smells, all public places were scented during her rule. After Modern chemistry was developed, it led to the perfumery that we know today.

The first scents in America were colognes and scented water. A mixture of eau de cologne, Florida water, and dash of oil of cloves, cassia and lemongrass was popular.



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