|"Die Magd in der Küche" by Justus Juncker, 1767|
Mrs. Glasse mentions pearl powder three times in her book, two that are decidedly cosmetic and one that seems a bit more ambiguous, namely with the tantalizing name of Sugar of Pearl:
TAKE damask rose water half a pint, one pound of fine sugar, half an ounce of prepared pearl beat to powder, eight leaves of beaten gold; boil them together according to art; add the pearl and gold leaves when just done, then cast them on a marble,
I suspect that this name had more naughty overtones than what we modern people might think- a nun could be used to describe a prostitute. The result ought o be a cream with a pearlescent sheen to it, perhaps not so dissimilar to the Spanish white I tried to make earlier, The Oil of Rhodium (Rosewood oil) is probably just there for scent, but the pearl powder may not be real pearls. As I mentioned in my post on pearls , real pearl powder was a very expensive cosmetics and the cheaper alternative of Bismuth could use the same name. And as Mrs. Glasse was an ordinary woman, it is very likely that she meant Bismuth. The last recipe suggests that was well;
MIX pearl-powder with honey and lavender-water ; and then the pearl-powder will never be discoloured.
I don’t know if real pearls can turn suggest, but I do know that Bismuth can, if exposed to sulphur. Am I too far-fetched if I think that the last recipe can be a way to hopefully prevent that?
I do need to try out the Nun’s Cream though! I love old recipes when they actually mention the proportions of the ingredients!