Pomander comes from the French word “pomamber” and from Old French, “pomme d’embre” (apple of amber). Pomanders started out as small cloth bags that people either wore to hide body odor, or hung in a room to mask unpleasant smells. It was also carried around as protection against infections. Although Oscar Wilde, author of “The Picture of Dorian Gray” imagined they could be used for poisoning, that is if one had not already been poisoned, by a book.
“The Renaissance knew of strange manners of poisoning — poisoning by a helmet and a lighted torch, by an embroidered glove and a jewelled fan, by a gilded pomander and by an amber chain. Dorian Gray had been poisoned by a book.”
The cloth bags are still around, though people generally don’t wear them any more. ( – Too obvious?) Nowadays it is very common to find a non-cloth pomander holding fragrant blossoms, herbs and spices, etc., in private homes and public buildings; and particularly, in rest rooms.
These containers can be very beautiful. Much like paperweights, one could consider them as precious objets d’art (objects of art). It can very enjoyable to create your own potpourri scent fillers and place these containers in different places throughout your home.
People often fill them with dried rose petals, jasmine, lavender, eucalyptus, and various other aromatics. Do you have a favorite pomander you fill with your favorite combination of scents?
– (P.S. Great idea for a stocking stuffer or white elephant gift! You think?)
Image Credit: Collection of pomanders – Source: Colleen Swan
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Paperweights used to be kept in kings’ treasure vaults. They are hardly ever returned or re-gifted. Some are even valuable collectibles. They make the perfect gift for a loyal employee or favorite teacher, etc.
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What is your favorite potpourri mix of scents?