Period: 2240-9th century BC.

The main features of Ancient Egyptian jewelry

  • sacral symbols: scarab, ankh, the eye of Horus (uajet or eye of Ra), tiet (Isis knot), sesen, sun with wings, shenu, feather of Maat; images of gods Ra, Horus, Isis, Bastet.
  • floral ornaments; articles of metal, bone or ceramics could take the form of animals (birds, snakes, frogs, dragonflies, giraffes, horses)
  • ornamental and precious stones: jade, turquoise, jasper, carnelian, amethyst, garnet, and also lapis lazuli, which was especially highly valued.
  • techniques: smalt and enamel.

With the exception of slaves, all ancient Egyptians wore jewelry. Even children under the age of six were not yet wearing clothes, but they already had their own jewelry. There were three main reasons for this.

First, the jewelry displayed the wealth of the owners. Egyptians wore simple and light clothes because of the hot climate. It did not demonstrate status, and this task fell on the jewelry.

The second was legal authentication. Each person wore a ring with a family emblem and a detailed engraving on the seal. The emblems usually depicted animals: gryphon, hawk, lion, scorpion, etc.

Third, the decorations were amulets and amulets. Colors, materials and symbolism gave meaning to any product.

For example, the scarab embodied rebirth. So it was important to have one or more scarabs to adorn the deceased for successful reincarnation. The owner’s name was written on the stone so that the spirit would know his property.

The dead were buried with personal and family jewels. This ensured a good afterlife according to Egyptian beliefs.

Gold and copper were the main metals for jewelry in ancient Egypt. There were no silver mines nearby, so silver was little known. Craftsmen combined alloys with gold and created other colors – pink, gray and red-brown.

People from the poorer classes adorned themselves with items made of bone, glass, and stones. This encouraged jewelers to perfect their imitation of precious materials. Fake pearls, emeralds and tiger’s eye were almost indistinguishable from the real thing.

Characteristic Egyptian jewelry: collars, belts, pectorals, rings, brooches, leg bands, bracelets, shebou necklaces (shebyu), wig d├ęcor.

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