If you are like me, you do not step out of your house without using your favourite perfume. I will tell you my favourite one later. Ensure you read to the end. However, as I held the bottle yesterday while buying it, I wondered to myself; when was perfume invented? So, I did a little research.
The first modern perfume, made of scented oils blended in an alcohol solution, was made in 1370 at the command of Queen Elizabeth of Hungary and was known throughout Europe as Hungary Water.
What is the oldest perfume?
The world’s oldest perfumes have been found on Cyprus by a team of archaeologists. The perfumes were scented with extracts of lavender, bay, rosemary, pine or coriander and kept in tiny translucent alabaster bottles.
Where did perfume originally come from?
The word perfume derives from the Latin perfumare, meaning “to smoke through”.
Perfumery, as the art of making perfumes, began in ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Indus Valley Civilization and maybe Ancient China.
It was further refined by the Romans and the Arabs.
Perfume usage goes back thousands of years, as examples of fragrances have been discovered in ancient Egypt, the Roman Empire, Mesopotamia and the Persian Empire. Perfumes were used for hygiene and cleanliness, as well as ceremonially and as a symbol of nobility.
Here we’ll explore the history of perfume in cultures around the world as well as its early creation and uses.
People have used perfume in many different ways throughout the years. Before it was a staple in the fashion industry, perfume was used to distinguish nobility. In many cultures, only the upper classes had access to perfumed products as they were expensive and hard to come by.
The first perfume maker on record was a woman chemist named Tapputi. Stories about her have been found on a clay tablet from Mesopotamia, dating back to the second millennium BC. Throughout the ages, different civilizations used fragrances and perfumes in many interesting ways.
How Perfume Was Originally Made
Early perfume was made using natural materials such as bark, wood, roots, leaves, flowers and seeds. The first evidence of perfume making began in Egypt and Mesopotamia and was then picked up by the Persians and the Romans.
These ancient civilizations often turned fragrant materials into balms to use in religious ceremonies or to anoint their bodies. Myrrh and frankincense were extracted from trees and made into incense while other plants like rose and peppermint were infused in oils.
As trade routes spread, a wider variety of scents could be used such as exotic spices and herbs. These items were often stilled in water and made into aromatherapy products.
Perfume bottles began as containers made of wood and clay and graduated to beautifully colored glass bottles over the years. Hand-painted vases and even hollowed-out precious stones were also used to transport perfume and fragrance.