Woman and men have always wanted to smell attractive and induce their preferred sexual partners into cooperation. Fragrances and perfumes have played an important role in assisting these activities from the very beginning. Today more than ever perfumes play an active part in our every day lives and not just for the opposite sex but for ourselves as well. Women especially love fragrances to the tune of over $10 billion dollars a year. Many women have an average of six individual fragrances with a standard every day perfume and one very special fragrance for that extraordinary evening. But perfumes have always been part of the human experience. Archaeologists and historians have discovered that the early Egyptians and others used balms as part of religious ceremonies and in some ritual love making preparations. We know that frankincense and myrrh were part of both Arabic and Greek traditions long before the three wise men offered their gifts to the messiah in the manger. The essence of flowers like roses and lilacs was highly thought of and highly sought after by Roman aristocrats and dignitaries. Through the periods of early Christianity and the Middle Ages there was a dimming of demand in oils and fragrances, mostly because of the darkness associated with sex and sensuality by the church leaders of those days. But by the middle 1600's there was a resurgency in the appetite and production of these products. Yet it wasn't until the late 1900's that the real production of perfumes began due to advances in the knowledge of organic chemistry. It became possible to substitute synthetic perfume products in place of exotic or expensive natural ingredients. At the same time France, and particularly Provence, became a center for growing flowers and herbs for the nascent perfume industry. You could have chemical or natural perfume and fragrances. Out of those developments came two names that we recognize today, Coty and Yardley, both producers of gentle and mild fragrances and powders for women. It took the twentieth century to move the perfume industry from the cottages of Provence to the high salons of London, New York, and Paris and with mass production the perfume industry looks poised to continue to grow and prosper for many years to come.
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