The history of perfume began in antiquity. The word perfume used today to describe scented mixtures, derives from the Latin “per fume”, meaning through smoke. Perfumery, or the art of making perfumes, began in ancient Egypt but was developed and further refined by the Romans and the Arabs. Although perfume and perfumery also existed in East Asia, much of its fragrances are incense based.
To date, the oldest perfumery was discovered on the island of Cyprus. Excavations in 2004 – 2005 under the initiative of the Italian archaeological team unearthed evidence of an enormous factory that existed 4,000 years ago during the Bronze Age. This covered an estimated surface area of over 4,000 square meters indicating that perfume manufacturing was on an industrial scale. The news of this discovery was reported extensively through the world press and many artifacts are already displayed in Rome.