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Perfume is one of those wonderful gifts of nature that women can truly enjoy. There are so many scents and unique bottle shapes. If you took a moment to glance at your dresser or bathroom counter, your favorites are likely located within easy reach. I keep a variety of perfumes displayed on my dressing table. Each morning, I select the scent that fits my mood or perhaps the outfit I will wear for the day. One thing I do know I just do not feel fully dressed without a spray of perfume.

Being a voracious reader, I frequent the bargain shelves at bookstores. On such a day, I discovered a most interesting book entitled, "Perfume: The Ultimate Guide to the Worlds Finest Fragrances," by Nigel Groom. Within its pages, the history of creating perfume, details about perfumes consistency, and a directory of the finest perfumes of the world opened my eyes to the marvel of natures gift. With each splash of the fragrant liquid, I more fully appreciate this marvelous benefit of being a woman.

Perfume & Ancient Times

The Greeks and the Romans created perfume by "steeping fragrant plants in oil and wringing out the liquid through a cloth." Another option was to soak the petals of flowers in fat, which would absorb the scent of the flower. The idea of aromatherapy is certainly nothing new today. The Romans used perfume to scent their floors and walls.

The sophistication of perfume creation came in the Middle Ages. The Arabs discovered the procedure for distilling plants on a large scale. As such, the meticulous process was now more efficient. Europeans introduction to perfumery occurred in the sixteenth century. It was Catherine de Medici, coming from Italy to marry the king, who made perfume fashionable in Paris.

The Perfume Bottle

It was the ancient Egyptians in the fourth millennium BC who learned the craft of manufacturing glass. By the year 1500 BC, glass perfume containers were widely used. The colors varied from dark-blue, opaque, and translucent glass. As the years passed, the designs became more elaborate and sophisticated, particularly during the Greek and Roman periods.

In 50BC, the Syrians developed the technique of glass blowing. This fine craftsmanship resulted in unique shapes and designs. Only wealthy citizens could afford such beautiful containers for their perfume. The average person kept their scents in shell-shaped earthenware. Although the Chinese later introduced the delicate designs made of porcelain, glass would remain the favored container type to hold perfume.

Until the end of the nineteenth century, plain containers holding perfume were sold and a customer purchased a scent bottle separately. With the arrival of factory produced bottled perfume, sensitivity to bottle design for sales appeal was born.

In the early days of the contemporary perfume industry, several influential perfumers, including Francois Coty, would set the high standards of bottle design today.


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