The History of Artificial Flowers

Written by cassie damewood
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The History of Artificial Flowers
High-quality artificial flowers are often mistaken for real ones. (John Slater/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Flowers have been a significant a part of most cultures for centuries. Most varieties are highly perishable after cutting, and artificial flowers provide a long-lasting substitute. The history of artificial flowers is traceable back hundreds of years and involved several countries.

Silk Flowers of China

China made silk flowers hundreds of years ago for extravagant arrangements that were part of artistic displays in homes, palaces and places of worship. The creations were for personal expression and not commercially sold.

Italy's Contribution

Around the 12th century, Italians started crafting artificial flowers from silkworm cocoons dyed different colours. They were the first to sell their artificial flower arrangements.

France Advances the Business

The French quickly learnt the Italian techniques and, by the 14th century, dominated the artificial flower market. Their reign lasted for hundreds of years. In the early 19th century, English immigrants introduced the art to America.

Victorian Influences

Opulence dictated the Victorian era and artificial flowers covered everything from mantles to tables and banisters. As international trade flourished, artificial flower materials began to include imported crepe, muslin, satin, gauze and velvet.

Florist Endorsement

In the 1920s, florists started using artificial flowers to augment natural flower arrangements when certain flower types were unavailable or too pricey to be practical.

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