History of Perfumes
The history of perfumes is shrouded in mystery as there are multiple records regarding origins of perfume. The usage of scents and fragrances as aromatic herbs and incense began thousands of years ago.
The concept of bottling perfume in attractive bottles was created by the Egyptians after they acquired the ability to create glass bottles. As early as 2700 BC, people regularly used herbs and scented oils for concocting scented medication. Did you know that perfumes were used in Biblical times? The technique for creating anointing oils was shared by Moses in the Book of Exodus. References to perfumes are found in the New Testament as well. Slowly, the use of perfumes became popular in other civilizations like the Arabic, Indian, Chinese, Greek and Roman. Hundreds of perfume shops were running successfully in Athens, Greece during the 7th century BC.
Global trade opened up new avenues for perfume to move across the known world. Frankincense and Myrrh were introduced to the Mediterranean by travelling Persian traders around 3000 BC. By the First century AD, more than 550 tons of myrrh and over 2,800 tons of frankincense were brought into Rome annually. It is said that the Roman emperor Nero spend today’s equivalent of US$ 100,000 for purchasing perfume for a single event!
It is important to understand that perfumes were not used only for their fragrance but also as an effective form of medicine. Connoisseurs of fine perfume were as respected as a doctor or a pharmacist today.
Aromatherapy as an art was created and refined by the Chinese around 1100 BC. During the Middle Ages, the use of scents and perfume grew tremendously in Arabia. For some time, Italy became the center of the perfume industry. However, by the 1800s, the focus of this trade shifted to France. In 1867, the pharmacy section of the Paris International Exhibition displayed a wide array of scents and perfumes. Today, Paris is the headquarters of the perfume and fragrance industry. There are over 30,000 different types of perfume and fragrance produced worldwide and perfume lovers are spoilt for choice.