Saffron threads give out an egg yolk-yellow color when steeped in liquid. Once the right concentration and color is obtained, the decoction is ready for use. Saffron dye was used to color fabrics to signify social status and religious functions. The noble people wore saffron-dyed articles of clothing. Phoenician and Carthaginian brides wore saffron-dyed veils. Buddhist, Tibetan and Hindu monks wore saffron-dyed robes. The Irish dyed their wool with saffron colorant. The Japanese painted their kimonos with it.
Aristocratic women and courtesans of the olden days used saffron as cosmetic and skin care. Facial masks blended with saffron are applied by women to make their skin soft, smooth and free from acne and pimples. Sandalwood and saffron blended with milk used as mask leaves the face smooth and radiant. Honey, coconut oil and sugar may also be used to make facial masks. Saffron powder also acts as exfoliant and leaves the skin clear and bright. Saffron extract contains anti-bacterial properties that are also said to treat pimples, acne and other skin diseases like psoriasis and leprosy.
Early stories were told that on occasions, Egyptians wore wax cones suffused with flowers and saffron which, when melted, perfumed their hair with the sweet-pungent smell; that Romans bathed in tubs filled with water sprinkled with saffron threads; that the Greek god Zeus slept in a bed strewn with saffron; and that the Romans perfumed their marital beds with saffron, apparently for sensual reasons. In the Middle East, sandalwood and saffron were blended to come up with a relaxing fragrance that also relieved headaches. Modern perfumers take advantage of the fact that saffron blends well as middle notes with other essences and fragrances to come up with formula for floral perfumes. And in India, they have a hundred-year old practice of stuffing saffron in a special tobacco called zaafrani zarda that perfumed the air with the aroma.
Finally, saffron makes for an impressive gift on special occasions such as Christmas, weddings, Ramadan and other religious events because it is an expensive stuff that thus signifies a high status symbol.