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Four Things You Didn’t Know About Perfume

August 16th, 2022 |

Whether you prefer the sweet smell of jasmine or the fresh zest of citrus, fragrance has a transformative quality that awakens something in each and every one of us. It can bring back memories. It can elicit an emotional response. It can put people at ease.

At its very core, fragrance is mysterious. Here are four things you probably didn’t know about perfume.

The first known individual perfumer was a female Chemist named Tapputi
Much like glass, the precise origins of perfume is shrouded in mystery. That said, the first known individual perfume maker is thought to be a female Mesopotamian chemist named Tapputi, who created the first perfume with flowers, oils, and myrrh nearly 3,000 years ago.

HENNY FAIRE Co. Lucida, Mala and Junipera

The ancient Egyptians used perfume in religious ceremonies and burials.
In ancient Egypt, fragrance was regarded as a holy attribute, and perfumes had many uses. During religious ceremonies, aromatics were burnt to honor the gods, and priests used perfumes to invoke and appease them. In addition, during the mummification process, scents were applied to a body to ensure a sweet smell and a peaceful welcome in the afterlife.

How a perfume vessel looks can alter its scent
While at its core, a perfume bottle serves a pretty basic function, how it looks can positively or negatively alter the olfactory perception of the buyer or wearer. The shape, size, color, and texture of a perfume vessel can influence our olfactory senses, to the point that a poorly made perfume in an intricately designed artisan bottle might smell worse than a decadent smelling perfume in a poorly designed bottle.

Reminiscence, kiln-cast glass, Anna Boothe, on view at the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts

The first modern perfume was made in Hungary
While scents were used as far back as Ancient Egypt, the first modern wearable scent wasn’t introduced until the mid-to-late 1300s. Made in Hungary at the behest of Queen Elizabeth of Poland, the first modern perfume was comprised of a blend of scented oils in an alcohol solution. It became known throughout Europe as Hungary Water.

Want to learn more about perfume? Join Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites (HBMS) for a foray into the wonderful world of scent on August 25th, 2022 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. HBMS is delighted to welcome artisan perfumer Erica Vinskie and glass artist Anna Boothe to lead this lecture and workshop on the history of perfume and the making of art glass perfume bottles. This not-to-be missed Schneider Lecture will take place at the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts – Pennsylvania’s only museum dedicated completely to the Decorative Arts.

During the course of the evening, visitors will have the chance to converse with Erica and Anna, and sample select fragrances from HENNY FAIRE Co. Light fare and wine will be served during the lecture, and guests will have time to peruse the Glimpse Through Glass exhibition with curator-led tours before it closes on September 11. The event will also feature a pop-up from HENNY FAIRE Co.

A Glimpse Through Glass showcases the work of seven regional contemporary glass artists, including the world-renowned Anna Boothe!

Admission is $35 for current HBMS members, and $45 for future members. Tickets may be purchased online in advance, or by calling 610.882.0450 ext. 25. To learn more, visit The Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts (part of Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites) is located at 427 N. New St. in Bethlehem and can be reached at 610-868-6868.

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