[Tidbits] Arsenic ... Lipstick ... and Jewelry

Quick disclaimer folks. Though I present the info below in a staged
manner … the following details as they relate to makeup in the
eighteenth century are factual. That said … let’s go. And Happy New
Year to you all.

Imagine the jeweler. He’s just finished with a client. He feels a
headache coming on. A slight sweat forms on his brow. I want
something for my lady fair, said the client. I want something no one
has. I want something original. Money is no object. Surprise me.
Surprise my lady fair. You make her happy … you make me happy. You
make me happy … we do more business. Now go. Do. Make. Create. I
shall be back in a month.

Eighteenth Century: Get yer wafers, ladies and gennulmen. Get yer
arsenic wafers. Eat an arsenic wafer and achieve that white pallor
that will make you the envy of your friends. It poisons the blood
and the red hemoglobin cells. No matter if this brings less oxygen
to your organs. Beauty above all things. Step right up. You. Yes you
with the rosy cheeks. You don’t want to look like that … do you?

And so the jeweler wracked his brains. A ring would not do. He had
made too many for this customer. A pendant perhaps? No. Earrings?
No. A bracelet … a watch … a brooch … some pearls? No and no
and no and no. A last guess. A stab in the dark. Rummaging around in
the recesses of his subconscious for an idea. Doesn’t matter if you
grab it by the leg or the arm … just grab and pull and it will
appear. And then … he got hold … tugged … and presto gazatz
… he had it.

Eighteenth Century: Step right up folks. Get some lipstick to go
with that newly acquired pale complexion. It’s safe folks. It’s made
from mulberry and seaweed … and tinted with cinnabar–a poisonous
red sulfate of mercury. Don’t lick your lips too much ma’am. Don’t
want to ingest too much of that poison do we? Not after we’ve just
taken that arsenic wafer. Fetus? Did you say fetus ma’am? Mercury
and arsenic harm fetus’ you say? Congenital deformities, you say?
Stillbirths … miscarriages … inborn deformities. Yes … well
… that may all well be … but we won’t know about that for some
time to come … and in the meantime … think of beauty. Beauty me
lassies … man-made beauty above all things. Au-natural is for the
peasantry and the weak and the faint of heart. Step right up. Get
yer lipstick.

A lipstick holder it would be. Yes. In 18 karat white gold perhaps.
Studded with diamonds. It would be unrivaled. Who in this world
would own such a thing. Who in their right mind would think of
possessing such a thing. Ah … but once possessed … one could
prance about showing off the uniqueness of the thing. Oh dear oh
dear … it’s so warm at the ball … I simply must put on fresh
lipstick. Dahling … would you please go into my purse and get me
my diamond-studded … 18 karat white gold lipstick-holder.

Eighteenth Century: An so … for those of you who think of those
who tried to prevent women from wearing makeup through the ages …
think perhaps it was not only from a prim and prissy attitude …
but perhaps also from some knowledge of the harmful effects make-up
of yore had on the wearer.

As to our fictional jeweler … someone did make that holder … and
if not the most beautiful thing in the world … the history of
lisptick and makeup is certainly fascinating.

For those of you who are new to this thing called Tidbits…may I
direct you to my home page at www.tyler-adam.com where you will
scroll down the left side menu till you get to the area that says
Tidbits Graphics … and then click on the link that says: Lipstick
… where you’ll see an image of the 18 karat white gold diamond
studded lipstick holder.

And there ya have it.
That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.
Benjamin Mark

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