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Facts and Fancies: Perfume

Nov 23, 2010

by IlluminatedPerfume

Roxana Villa’s passion for the planet, its resources and gifts, is evident in her life as an artist — both in the visual and aromatic arenas. She creates whole, vital, organic perfumes with stories, which can be found in her Etsy shop, Illuminated Perfume. You may find her on any given day harvesting plant materials, saving local oaks and honey bees or sitting in her woodland studio inhaling precious essences. Much of her passion is shared at her Illuminated Perfume Journal.

Fragrance has deep roots throughout the ancient world. Where do we begin with the history of fragrance? Perhaps with the first nose? My favorite stories come out of Egypt, where aromatics were used for ceremony, pleasure and cosmetics. Perfume most likely originated in Arabia and/or Egypt, refined later by the alchemists and Europeans. A key figure was Cleopatra, with her attention to scenting all aspects of her life including the sails of her barge.

Harold Roth, a.k.a. AlchemyWorks shares: “The Zohar says that scent is the only spiritual food to be found on the material plane, and that when incense is burned, its sweet smoke not only nourishes the human soul but attracts the attention of the angels, for whom it is food. When I make incense, I work with the intention of honoring and strengthening the connection between the spiritual and the sensual.”

Ancient perfumers used whole ingredients found in the natural world, primarily animals and plants. The animal ingredients consisted of ambergris (from whales), musk pods, civet and castoreum. Plant aromatics included essential oils and extracts produced by maceration, infusion and tinctured materials. “Ambergris is a very important component in my romantic perfume, For Always,” says VictoriaJess. “I use only ethically harvested ambergris, found washed up on the beach. While it is traditionally thought to provide long lasting power, to me, it softens and yet strengthens a perfume base, and provides a wonderful ribbon-like quality throughout the perfume.”

FF_Perfume_1.jpgThe raw matter used to create perfume can be natural, botanical, synthetic or a combination. In the late 19th century, synthetic compounds became part of the perfumer’s palette with the release of the aroma isolate called coumarin, containing a hay-like fragrance. Thus the modern perfume industry was born.

FF_Perfume_3.jpg

FF_Perfume_4.jpgIn today’s modern perfume world, the art of perfumery incorporates many different mediums of expression. As with visual artists who work with pencils, watercolors, oils, collage or digital tools, the same transpires in perfume. Each artist will convey their story within the medium that serves them best. Beeswax is included in the apothecary of many fragrance artisans, used for the creation of solid perfumes, lotions and balms. Some traditional items that were once formulated with beeswax are created with non-genetically modified soy and vegetable waxes. Nikki Sherrit says, “Candlemaking, for me, has been an extension of my culinary and perfumery loves. I have learned to utilize every possible type of botanical and aromatic ingredient to produce unique and precious blends.”

The botanical perfume artist works to create beauty through the expression of pure plant extractions within the paradigm of sustainability and health. Many botanical perfumers come from the tradition of aromatherapy and the bath and beauty industry where they continue to use plant matter to prepare soaps, creams and other body products. Over the last ten years there has been a blossoming occurring within a sector of perfume. More and more indie labels are cropping up in small, specialized boutiques and large-scale department stores.

FF_Perfume_2.jpgI invite you to step into a more aromatic lifestyle by breathing deep and paying attention to all the nuances of our fragrant world. Although not for everyone, the book Perfume, The Story of a Murderer is probably one of the best novels ever written about scent. I leave you with this trailer from the film adaptation.

“Odors have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions, or will. The persuasive power of an odor cannot be fended off, it enters into us like breath into our lungs, it fills us up, imbues us totally. There is no remedy for it.” — Patrick Suskind

Further Reading:

Perfume the Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind
Jitterbug Perfume
by Tom Robbins
A Natural History of the Senses
by Diane Ackerman

Links:

International Perfume Museum, Grasse, FRANCE
The Barcelona Perfume Museum
The Perfume House in Portland Oregon
Scented Pages

 

Facts and Fancies Archive | Fragrance Category

GreenWitch Solid Natural Perfume Mini Compact - A seaside fragrance woven with essential oils, infusions and the wild magic - Nautical notes
GreenWitch Solid Natural Perfume Mini Compact - A seaside fragrance woven with essential oils, infusions and the wild magic - Nautical notes
IlluminatedPerfume
$42.00 USD
Vera Solid Natural Perfume Mini Compact - Inspired by the Lavender Fields & Orange Groves of Ojai - California Sage - Keepsake Pocket Locket
Vera Solid Natural Perfume Mini Compact - Inspired by the Lavender Fields & Orange Groves of Ojai - California Sage - Keepsake Pocket Locket
IlluminatedPerfume
$35.00 USD
Sierra Solid Gold - Wanderlust found. Evergreen notes of a vertical forest. Creamy, nature perfume in an engraved case. Tree spirit scent
Sierra Solid Gold - Wanderlust found. Evergreen notes of a vertical forest. Creamy, nature perfume in an engraved case. Tree spirit scent
IlluminatedPerfume
$35.00 USD
Aurora Natural Solid Perfume Locket - A romantic, keepsake mini-compact. Nature in your pocket - Gift for Her, Your Grad, Bridesmaids
Aurora Natural Solid Perfume Locket - A romantic, keepsake mini-compact. Nature in your pocket - Gift for Her, Your Grad, Bridesmaids
IlluminatedPerfume
$35.00 USD
Lyra Solid Natural Perfume in Oval Case - A transportive nature elixir - Botanical fragrance featuring a very feminine floral vanilla heart
Lyra Solid Natural Perfume in Oval Case - A transportive nature elixir - Botanical fragrance featuring a very feminine floral vanilla heart
IlluminatedPerfume
$290.00 USD
Hedera helix Natural Solid Perfume in a Victorian inspired Compact - A green fragrance devoted to the Tree Ogham of Ivy - Pagan, celtic lore
Hedera helix Natural Solid Perfume in a Victorian inspired Compact - A green fragrance devoted to the Tree Ogham of Ivy - Pagan, celtic lore
IlluminatedPerfume
$290.00 USD
Aurora Solid Natural Perfume Refill for Tapestry Oval Design Compact - Romantic case with handmade plant fragrance
Aurora Solid Natural Perfume Refill for Tapestry Oval Design Compact - Romantic case with handmade plant fragrance
IlluminatedPerfume
$90.00 USD
Q Solid Natural Perfume in Round Brass Compact with Crochet Pouch - California Oak - Celtic Pagan Tree Ogham - Luxury for the Naturalist
Q Solid Natural Perfume in Round Brass Compact with Crochet Pouch - California Oak - Celtic Pagan Tree Ogham - Luxury for the Naturalist
IlluminatedPerfume
$280.00 USD
Natural Solid Perfume Locket with Antique finish, Romantic engraved pendant, Boho Victorian Locket, Antique Brass Long Necklace
Natural Solid Perfume Locket with Antique finish, Romantic engraved pendant, Boho Victorian Locket, Antique Brass Long Necklace
IlluminatedPerfume
$57.00 USD
Solid Natural Perfume in Honey Bee Compact - Choose a nature fragrance from herbal to floral bouquets - Nurturing botanical fragrance
Solid Natural Perfume in Honey Bee Compact - Choose a nature fragrance from herbal to floral bouquets - Nurturing botanical fragrance
IlluminatedPerfume
$295.00 USD
Solid Natural Perfume Sample Set of thirteen nature fragrances made with essential oils  - A zen kit of handmade, nature treasures
Solid Natural Perfume Sample Set of thirteen nature fragrances made with essential oils - A zen kit of handmade, nature treasures
IlluminatedPerfume
$88.00 USD
Solid Natural Perfume Sample Set of twelve nature fragrances made with essential oils  - A zen kit of handmade, nature treasures
Solid Natural Perfume Sample Set of twelve nature fragrances made with essential oils - A zen kit of handmade, nature treasures
IlluminatedPerfume
$83.00 USD
Solid Natural Perfume Sample Set of eleven nature fragrances made with essential oils  - Little luxuries, handmade with nature
Solid Natural Perfume Sample Set of eleven nature fragrances made with essential oils - Little luxuries, handmade with nature
IlluminatedPerfume
$76.00 USD
Solid Natural Perfume Sample Set of ten nature fragrances made with essential oils  - Little luxuries, handmade with nature
Solid Natural Perfume Sample Set of ten nature fragrances made with essential oils - Little luxuries, handmade with nature
IlluminatedPerfume
$70.00 USD
A Brass, Silver Plated, Diamond Pattern Solid Natural Perfume Locket with Vintage Charm - For Grads, Ladies, Bridesmaids and Brides
A Brass, Silver Plated, Diamond Pattern Solid Natural Perfume Locket with Vintage Charm - For Grads, Ladies, Bridesmaids and Brides
IlluminatedPerfume
$68.00 USD
Sierra Solid Gold Natural Perfume Round Compact - Perfect Autumn fragrance - Warm, sweet and spicy - An ode to the Redwoods - Emerald forest
Sierra Solid Gold Natural Perfume Round Compact - Perfect Autumn fragrance - Warm, sweet and spicy - An ode to the Redwoods - Emerald forest
IlluminatedPerfume
$265.00 USD
Vera solid natural perfume refill for oval case. Notes of lavender, sage & orange blossom, inspired by the terrain of Ojai, California
Vera solid natural perfume refill for oval case. Notes of lavender, sage & orange blossom, inspired by the terrain of Ojai, California
IlluminatedPerfume
$56.25 USD
Impromptu Botanical, Natural  Perfume in Engraved Mini Compact - Bright, earthy green woodiness with spice & herb - A nature girls fragrance
Impromptu Botanical, Natural Perfume in Engraved Mini Compact - Bright, earthy green woodiness with spice & herb - A nature girls fragrance
IlluminatedPerfume
$35.00 USD
Impromptu Solid Natural Perfume Refill Tin for your locket or mini compact,  - Creamy, organic, nature fragrance. Eco-friendly, paradise
Impromptu Solid Natural Perfume Refill Tin for your locket or mini compact, - Creamy, organic, nature fragrance. Eco-friendly, paradise
IlluminatedPerfume
$16.00 USD
Q for the Oak Solid Natural Perfume Refill for Tapestry Oval Design Compact - Romantic case with handmade botanical fragrance
Q for the Oak Solid Natural Perfume Refill for Tapestry Oval Design Compact - Romantic case with handmade botanical fragrance
IlluminatedPerfume
$90.00 USD
Choose 3 Sample Vials of GA Essence Botanical Perfumes
Choose 3 Sample Vials of GA Essence Botanical Perfumes
Sold
Torte Almond Frangipani 8 ounce 60 hour burn time candle Non Toxic Eco Friendly Natural
Torte Almond Frangipani 8 ounce 60 hour burn time candle Non Toxic Eco Friendly Natural
Sold
Carrot Soap - All Natural Soap, Handmade Soap, Cold Process Soap, Unscented Soap, Vegan Soap
Carrot Soap - All Natural Soap, Handmade Soap, Cold Process Soap, Unscented Soap, Vegan Soap
$7.00 USD

74 comments

  • JAnnsBoutique

    JAnnsBoutique said 7 years ago

    I love scents...nothing can evoke memories like a smell. I remembered anytime I smelled cinnamon I remembered by mom's apple cake and the fun times making it with her when I was younger. Store: www.jannsboutique.etsy.com Blog: http://jannsboutique.blogspot.com/

  • SpringColors

    SpringColors said 7 years ago

    wow. this is so interesting.

  • MegansMenagerie

    MegansMenagerie said 7 years ago

    What a awesome article! So cool =)

  • dreamyvintage

    dreamyvintage said 7 years ago

    So magical, thank you for sharing! I love Roxana's shop :)

  • oatkacreekstudio

    oatkacreekstudio said 7 years ago

    I have several small, magical vials of Roxana's perfume and it's so lovely~ loved the article and learned more about perfume...thanks!

  • LoveNaturally

    LoveNaturally said 7 years ago

    This is such a lovely article Roxana.

  • abacusbeadcreations

    abacusbeadcreations said 7 years ago

    Congrats on the great feature Roxana! Wonderful article.

  • islandpottery

    islandpottery said 7 years ago

    Very unique and interesting article!

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery said 7 years ago

    Beautiful photos, fantastic article - I really like how the use of soy wax is becoming more common. Soy really is so flexible!

  • choisette

    choisette said 7 years ago

    i want to sit in my own woodland studio where i can inhale precious essences. i don't think that's asking too much.

  • HappyHuismus

    HappyHuismus said 7 years ago

    Fabulous article!

  • gabrielsaunt

    gabrielsaunt said 7 years ago

    Thank you Roxana for asking me to participate. Lovely article.

  • JoyandWhimsy

    JoyandWhimsy said 7 years ago

    Thanks 4 this story - I love anything tied to ancient history! I'll be listing an Avon antique car colgne bottle soon and have this... AVON UNICORN too http://www.etsy.com/listing/51909193/avon-unicorn

  • myvintagecrush

    myvintagecrush said 7 years ago

    Seriously. Certain smells bring me right back in time...crazy!

  • BlackStar

    BlackStar said 7 years ago

    Wonderful article! Thank you Roxana.

  • inapaleplace

    inapaleplace said 7 years ago

    Hi Roxana - wonderful feature and fabulous story.

  • AdeloCreations

    AdeloCreations said 7 years ago

    I like to see articles original and informative like this. Thank you

  • PlumeandPetals

    PlumeandPetals said 7 years ago

    Great article!~ ^_^

  • HeatherKent

    HeatherKent said 7 years ago

    WOW, great info! Beautiful. Thank you for sharing, Roxana!

  • WrenWillow

    WrenWillow said 7 years ago

    Rock on Roxana!!!!

  • missbmckay

    missbmckay said 7 years ago

    This article was very helpful to me thank you!

  • tinahdee

    tinahdee said 7 years ago

    Way to go! It's a great article. :)

  • TheNightjar

    TheNightjar said 7 years ago

    Roxana this is a wonderful article, so informative and rich in perfumers knowledge...it makes me want to learn more and try to make some scents myself! And "Perfume" is one of the very best novels I have read... one of my top ten favorite reads-!

  • VivaGailBeads

    VivaGailBeads said 7 years ago

    beautiful selections....and wonderful article..thank you!

  • MarbleandMilkweed

    MarbleandMilkweed said 7 years ago

    Thanks for the great article on fragrance, the history of perfume is so dramatic & fascinating!

  • Evajune

    Evajune said 7 years ago

    breathtaking! Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story.

  • Waterrose

    Waterrose said 7 years ago

    What a great article Roxana! So much more to perfume then a scent.

  • MidnightGypsyAlchemy

    MidnightGypsyAlchemy said 7 years ago

    Lovely and wonderful article! I so enjoyed reading it :)

  • sweetanthem

    sweetanthem said 7 years ago

    Great article, Roxana! I really love the fact that you have mentioned many different kinds of materials that many perfume consumers probably don't know about – education is SO important in our field! "Jitterbug Perfume" is still my personal favorite.

  • BubbleGumAndButtons

    BubbleGumAndButtons said 7 years ago

    What Wonderful Story. Thanks

  • Doodlage

    Doodlage said 7 years ago

    Very interesting post, thank you for sharing. Scents and smells always fascinate me to the highest degree. And I do love Parfume, the movie/book, although it's highly disturbing.

  • Verdurebydesign

    Verdurebydesign said 7 years ago

    Thank you for showing me the world through a medium I'm not conscious enough about.

  • theroyal

    theroyal said 7 years ago

    i can not explain how much i LOVE perfume

  • SimpleJoysPaperie

    SimpleJoysPaperie said 7 years ago

    As soon as I saw the title, I thought of you, Roxana. Thank you for sharing such an interesting article! :)

  • AlpineGypsy

    AlpineGypsy said 7 years ago

    Yours is a shop, and ethic I admire Roxana. Thanks for the inspirational article~ Heidi

  • minta77

    minta77 said 7 years ago

    i'm a big fan of perfumers and the 'alchemy' behind a scent. thanks for sharing some historic information and scents like civet, that i'd never heard of!

  • AvianInspirations

    AvianInspirations said 7 years ago

    Fascinating! I love that Roxana makes solid perfumes, something I fell in love with in Morocco.

  • FeathersOfArtemis

    FeathersOfArtemis said 7 years ago

    My boyfriend got me the most amazing Armenia perfume when he was in the country. I've never smelled anything like it. Gorgeous and floral with these dark musky undertones that aren't overpowering. He has quite the nose. :-)

  • lilfishstudios

    lilfishstudios said 7 years ago

    Very interesting article. Before today I had no idea where ambergris came from. (and now the mind boggles over how someone found this treasure back in history and said, "I'm going to put this in perfume!") Love it. It is amazing what emotions and memories scent can trigger and how different people react to them. Thanks for sharing this.

  • betsybensen

    betsybensen said 7 years ago

    great article Roxana, and you create lovely perfumes!

  • Sumikoshop

    Sumikoshop said 7 years ago

    Roxana, wonderful article congrast !!

  • Menuchachic

    Menuchachic said 7 years ago

    wow!! to think of the genius (and artist!) behind the scents!

  • MySelvagedLife

    MySelvagedLife said 7 years ago

    Beautiful article Roxana! Congratulations!

  • truelucymaterials

    truelucymaterials said 7 years ago

    A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman One of my favorite books. I love your store, the branding, the mystery...just beautiful!

  • twoknit

    twoknit said 7 years ago

    Congratulations, great article !!!

  • munieca

    munieca said 7 years ago

    woww fantastic article Roxana!! congrats!!

  • stephaniek

    stephaniek said 7 years ago

    I am so glad I stumbled on this! This is a wonderful and lovely article. Perfume has such a rich history and such interesting juxtapositions. By nature it is transient but it is also eternal in memory... Through these scents that can only be created by nature we are able to create something different... It can be so hard to put the mysteries of perfume into words!

  • liquidstar

    liquidstar said 7 years ago

    Intriguing article. Thank you for sharing.:)

  • TinfenaStudio

    TinfenaStudio said 7 years ago

    This is so perfect! I think perfume is an art form. Lovely articles and photos, congratulations!

  • heatherfuture

    heatherfuture said 7 years ago

    Your knowledge and passion are absolutely inspiring! Thank you so much for sharing this with us! :D

  • SavoyFaire

    SavoyFaire said 7 years ago

    Fabulous article and shop! I love perfume and my vanity is laden with as much of it as jewelry!

  • Fairyfolk

    Fairyfolk said 7 years ago

    Awesome article!!! So very interesting. Thank you.

  • odiliafu

    odiliafu said 7 years ago

    Congrats! Beautiful shop!

  • TeresaJanuary

    TeresaJanuary said 7 years ago

    Never thought about that before, so interesting = )

  • KellysBath

    KellysBath said 7 years ago

    I was beyond exited to see an article about perfume, thank you so much for writing it. I absolutely adore fragrances so this was very enriching for me. Smell is an intriguing thing, it does not get enough credit among the other senses. I MUST see that movie, or maybe I'll read the novel first!

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage said 7 years ago

    Your interesting story of perfumes is great. Your fragrances must be marvelous.

  • skyejuice

    skyejuice said 7 years ago

    Wonderful article. I am obsessed about perfume (wearing one from an Etsy seller now) and it always amazes me how people could create such wonderful scents. I agree whole-heartedly that scent is food for our spirits. I had watched the movie of Perfume, and love it!! But I had not read the book. Perhaps I should pick it up some time :) Thanks for the informative and beautiful article!

  • texasnan

    texasnan said 7 years ago

    What a wonderful article and so informative. I love fragrances and have so many memories associated with certain fragrances. I am a perfume collector, and love to change fragrances to match my mood.

  • redemptionart

    redemptionart said 7 years ago

    The Hawaiian language has many words that refer to a scent or smell....such as the scent of a lover, or the wind, or even the scent of a behaviour-like a flirtatious scent...thank you for this article and the trailer..now I have to see that! I am going to visit the shops featured also...

  • thetimetravel

    thetimetravel said 7 years ago

    great article and great fotos :)

  • Gynx

    Gynx said 7 years ago

    Great article!

  • GalleonGal

    GalleonGal said 7 years ago

    sea aire, mint, lemons, sandalwood, pine trees, plumeria, and wild ginger are some of my fav plants. my grandmother had narcissus plants and gardenia, pineapple sage, basil, jasmine are some of my other favs

  • 41Hawthorne

    41Hawthorne said 7 years ago

    This article really hit home for me. I have some of my grandmother's perfume bottles from the 20s' and 30s' and they still have a bit of perfume in them! Perfume can be so exotic and mysterious and, for me, the scent as well as the beautiful packaging is all very feminine and special. Patrick Suskind's quote is exactly right!

  • SweetMoonlightShop

    SweetMoonlightShop said 7 years ago

    what a beautiful shop, thank you for sharing it! wonderful article!

  • genisepark

    genisepark said 7 years ago

    I just want to smell everything...thanks for the wonderful article

  • Desvan

    Desvan said 7 years ago

    My favorite is VERA !!!!

  • Minxshop

    Minxshop said 7 years ago

    I love your pictures and your shop! Great article!

  • AuracaunaDesigns

    AuracaunaDesigns said 7 years ago

    Lovely article! I love the quote from Harold Roth!

  • PucksWildApothecary

    PucksWildApothecary said 7 years ago

    Exquisitely inspiring ...thank you :)

  • Purrfumery

    Purrfumery said 7 years ago

    What a fabulous article, Roxana! You gave a lot of wonderful information! I am so glad I have a chance to experience your gorgeous scents, I LOVE your newest, Cimbalom! Perfume lovers~ get yourself a treat!

  • opheliasapothecary

    opheliasapothecary said 7 years ago

    lovely article...thank you so much for sharing with us! there are soooo many fabulous perfumers here on etsy!

  • jaipuronline

    jaipuronline said 6 years ago

    Very interesting......

  • ragznl

    ragznl said 6 years ago

    Nice article, thank you. I thought I smelled a lovely scent while reading it..

  • glowcakes

    glowcakes said 6 years ago

    this is a lovely article. its wonderful to share more about perfumes and scents here on etsy because so far... we haven't created a scratch and sniff computer screen ^_^ as far as finding my signature scent goes, i'm still on the hunt. i would much rather find something handmade as opposed to one in a a department store, and the search continues... <3 <3 <3

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