Ancient Egyptian Jewelry

Ancient Egyptian Jewelry

Home » Classroom Facts About Ancient Egyptian Jewelry By Rachel Alexander The jewelry of ancient Egypt was crafted with semiprecious stones, gold and copper. The ancient Egyptians highly valued personal adornment, and jewelry was worn by both men and women of all social classes. Statues of kings and gods were adorned with lavish jewels, and the deceased were sent off into the afterlife ornamented in the jewelry of the living. Earrings, bracelets, armbands, collar pieces, rings and anklets were all common types of adornments worn in ancient Egypt. google_ad_client = ‘pub-3235755782694080’; google_ad_channel = ‘2708727948’; google_ad_output = ‘js’; google_max_num_ads = ‘1’; google_ad_type = ‘text’; google_url =’bottom’; google_label_text = ‘Ad’; Metals and MaterialsThe main materials used to craft Egyptian jewelry were copper and gold. The masses could mainly afford copper, while the gentry preferred gold. Both materials were mined in the deserts of Nubia and were in abundant supply. Silver jewelry is rarely uncovered during Egyptian excavations as silver was not readily available in ancient Egypt. Egyptian jewelers used gold that ranged in shades from gray to reddish brown to rose. The variation in colors came from the intentional and natural mixing of elements like silver, copper and iron into the gold. Gems and StonesMore lavish Egyptian jewelry was inlaid with various gems and semiprecious stones. Some of the more prized and favored stones were lapis lazuli, turquoise, garnet, carnelian, obsidian and rock crystal. Of the stones native to Egypt, emeralds and pearls were most commonly used. Another commonly used material, faience, was made of ground quartz mixed with a colorant that was heated and molded to imitate more expensive natural stones. The most popular color was a blue-green imitation turquoise. if (VIEWPORT_WIDTH
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Ancient Egyptian Jewelry

Archaeologists have learned about ancient Egyptian culture through the excavation of tombs. Among the discovered artifacts are objects that Egyptians used in their everyday lives, such as jewelry. Although they wore relatively plain clothing, Egyptians adorned themselves with ornate jewelry pieces. Everyone owned jewelry in ancient Egypt, regardless of class or gender. These ornaments included lucky charms, beaded necklaces, heart scarabs, bracelets and rings. Rich Egyptians like pharaohs and queens had jewelry made from gems, precious metals, colored glass and minerals. Others wore less refined adornments made from clay, rocks, animal teeth, bones and shells. google_ad_client = ‘pub-3235755782694080’; google_ad_channel = ‘4426532742’; google_ad_output = ‘js’; google_max_num_ads = ‘1’; google_ad_type = ‘text’; google_url =’bottom’; google_label_text = ‘Sponsored link’; Spiritual SignificanceAncient Egyptians believed strongly in the spiritual significance of jewelry. They wore it to protect their health, ward off evil spirits and bring good luck. Certain raw materials, designs and colors were associated with deities or symbolized supernatural powers. For example, carnelian, an orange-red stone, was a color suggestive of blood and therefore gave energy and potency to the ornament. Jewelers in ancient Egypt followed strict rules concerning the mystical aspects of their creations. They incorporated minerals into jewelry which conferred a symbolic meaning, such as amethyst, garnet, lapis lazuli, onyx and turquoise. They also used highly prized metals like gold, silver and copper. AmuletsBecause ancient Egyptians were superstitious, a popular piece of jewelry was the amulet or lucky charm. Egyptians thought that amulets bestowed good fortune, as well as protective and healing powers. Amulets often represented deities, sacred animals, body parts, hieroglyphic symbols or emblems. Egyptians wore or carried amulets in the form of pendants, bracelets, rings, anklets and figurines. In particular, amulets offered protection over the dead. Amulets were placed inside a mummy’s wrappings to safeguard the deceased’s journey and ensure a happy, healthy and fruitful afterlife. Heart ScarabsA common type of funerary amulet was the heart scarab. Occasionally heart-shaped but often oval or beetle-shaped, a heart scarab was placed over the heart before burial. Ancient Egyptians believed that it counteracted the heart being separated from the body after death. In Egyptian mythology, the human heart chronicled all actions in a person’s life. The dead awaited judgment in the Weighing of the Heart Ceremony performed by the god Anubis. A balanced scale meant salvation and entry into the afterlife. Script from the Book of the Dead was typically carved onto the base of a heart scarab. Beaded NecklacesAncient Egyptians wore beaded necklaces just as many people do today. Sometimes these necklaces featured charms or amulets interspersed with beads. Egyptians made beads in various shapes and sizes from semi-precious stones, metals, minerals, glass, painted clay and other materials. In 1911, archaeologists found a set of unusual beads in an Egyptian boy’s tomb, suspecting that they were composed of iron from a meteorite. Using 21st century technology, scientists have confirmed those suspicions. The meteoric beads were strung on a necklace along with gold baubles and gemstones. google_ad_client = ‘pub-3235755782694080’; google_ad_channel = ‘5903265945’; google_ad_output = ‘js’; google_max_num_ads = ‘4’; google_ad_type = ‘text’; google_image_size = ‘336×280’; google_feedback = ‘on’; google_skip = google_adnum; google_url =’bottom’; google_label_text = ‘Sponsored links’;
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Ancient Egyptian Jewelry

The ancient Egyptians highly valued personal adornment, and jewelry was worn by both men and women of all social classes. Statues of kings and gods were adorned with lavish jewels, and the deceased were sent off into the afterlife ornamented in the jewelry of the living. Earrings, bracelets, armbands, collar pieces, rings and anklets were all common types of adornments worn in ancient Egypt. google_ad_client = ‘pub-3235755782694080’; google_ad_channel = ‘2708727948’; google_ad_output = ‘js’; google_max_num_ads = ‘1’; google_ad_type = ‘text’; google_url =’bottom’; google_label_text = ‘Ad’; Metals and MaterialsThe main materials used to craft Egyptian jewelry were copper and gold. The masses could mainly afford copper, while the gentry preferred gold. Both materials were mined in the deserts of Nubia and were in abundant supply. Silver jewelry is rarely uncovered during Egyptian excavations as silver was not readily available in ancient Egypt. Egyptian jewelers used gold that ranged in shades from gray to reddish brown to rose. The variation in colors came from the intentional and natural mixing of elements like silver, copper and iron into the gold. Gems and StonesMore lavish Egyptian jewelry was inlaid with various gems and semiprecious stones. Some of the more prized and favored stones were lapis lazuli, turquoise, garnet, carnelian, obsidian and rock crystal. Of the stones native to Egypt, emeralds and pearls were most commonly used. Another commonly used material, faience, was made of ground quartz mixed with a colorant that was heated and molded to imitate more expensive natural stones. The most popular color was a blue-green imitation turquoise. if (VIEWPORT_WIDTH
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Ancient Egyptian Jewelry

Moment that defined the start of Egypt rise in jewelry production was discovery of the gold and the ways to easily collect it from available riverbeds some 5 thousand years ago. This enabled Egyptians to collect vast quantities of gold which was viewed as perfect material for creation of elaborate jewelry designs – soft and easy to work with. Starting with Predynastic Egypt, golden jewelry quickly became symbol of status, power and religion, which enabled it to become lifetime focus of many royal and noble families, who demanded creation of more and more elaborate jewelry designs as time went by. In addition to gold and the materials that could be commonly found in Egypt, many other materials were imported from surrounding territories (such as silver and semi-precious stone lapis lazuli which was used as one of the most favorite materials for production of famous Egyptian Scarab ornament). Its important to note that high grade Egyptian jewelry was one of the most wanted trade items in the ancient world. Pieces of their workmanship can be found in many territories, from ancient Persia, Turkey to Greece and Rome.
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Ancient Egyptian Jewelry

Egypt’s desert location means significant warmth throughout the year. As a result, ancient people wore clothes made out of light fabrics that helped keep them cool. Egyptian pharaohs often wore animal skins as part of their outfits. Egyptians made linen out of flax, which grew abundantly along the Nile River. The Egyptian women were mostly responsible for making the clothing, although men helped with parts of the process. After the men harvested the flax plants, they soaked the stems in water and beat them to separate the fibers. Egyptian women would then spin these fibers into cloth for making clothes. Egyptian clothes were quite simple in style. Men wore skirts that might be different lengths, depending on current styles. Egyptian women wore full-length dresses with either one or two shoulder straps. Kids did not wear any clothes at all until they were about 6 years of age. Then, they began wearing the same types of clothes as adults.
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Ancient Egyptian Jewelry

Tutankhamun's Jewelry The ancient Egyptians wore jewelry as much for protection from the evil eye as for ornamentation. Jewelry fashioned from gold and silver and inlaid with precious stones included amulets, chains, necklaces, pendants, earrings, bracelets, anklets, rings and pectorals. Turquoise, lapis lazuli and feldspar symbolized good luck, while amethysts represented happiness. In 1922, the excavation by Howard Carter of the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun in Thebes unearthed over 100 items of priceless jewelry. Tutankhamun’s scarab beetle bracelet and a scarab beetle pectoral represented the morning sun, fertility and rejuvenation. Tutankhamun’s spectacular mask exemplifies the extraordinary sophistication of jewelry making in his time. The precise facial likeness, created in gold sheeting with obsidian and quartz for the eyes, was meant to ensure his soul recognized and could return to the mummified body. The Tutankhamun collection is in Cairo’s Egyptian Museum. Egyptian Museum Tahrir Square Cairo Egypt Egyptianmuseum.gov.eg

Ancient Egyptian Jewelry

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