From hieroglyphics to pyramids, ancient Egypt has always fascinated the modern world. The various discoveries about this civilization make it continue to be the center of attention of many researchers and professionals. Like other Egyptian objects, fashion accessories, especially the ethnic jewelry of ancient Egypt are singular. How did the Egyptians of Pharaoh’s time dress? What is the history of these jewels? What materials are they made of? This article answers these questions and many others.
Origins and History of Ancient Egyptian Jewelry
Jewelry in ancient Egypt was imbued with symbolism. What particularly characterizes Egypt and Egyptian art is the delicacy of their realization, whether it is the scenes engraved on the stone of buildings, or the finesse of the objects found in the tombs, the refined character of the jewels is unheard of.
From the first excavations, the accessories, small tools, and objects showed great finesse even in primitive times.
The first excavations date the objects found in the 1st dynasty around the year 3000 BC.
The Egyptians were not yet familiar with gold, diamonds, and precious stones, but they were already familiar with using materials such as electrum, which was a mixture of gold and silver found in its natural state.
Then they worked wonderfully with semi-precious stones, such as agates, topaz, turquoise, lapi lazuli, and coral.
Later they began to work gold and silver, but they imported gold from Libya and had it extracted from gold mines around the second dynasty, around 2500 /2000 BC.
Ethnic Jewelry and Symbolism in Ancient Egypt
Used by both men and women, jewelry outside of its decorative properties was an indicator of the wearer’s social class. Moreover, they offered protection against all kinds of threats (death, diseases, wild animals…). Thus the cult of jewelry was extended to men and women of all social backgrounds, as well as children and even the dead were provided with them to facilitate their passage to the afterlife. Thus, one frequently found on these objects mythological motives, representations of animals supposed to offer a new dimension to the manufactured object. Among other examples of the best-known motifs, we can cite the following:
The scarab (symbol of life and resurrection also associated with the solar god);
The symbol of Osiris represented by two scepters (symbol of sovereignty which is also used by the pharaoh);
The female cobra also called uraeus (pledge of the protection of the pharaoh);
The heart (symbol of thought and spirit);
The female vulture (representation of the goddess Nekhbet, also the Pharaoh’s protector);
The feather embodying justice and truth;
The knot of Isis translating fecundity and protection;
The cross Ânkh representing life;
The beard (symbol of royalty)…
These symbols are generally associated with the jewels to achieve a more complex meaning. The jewelry of one of the most famous pharaohs of ancient Egypt teaches us many things.
The Jewels of Tutankhamun
The tomb of the young pharaoh, which is a miracle of archaeology despite the rumors of a potential curse, was the least subjected to plundering with its discovery in 1922. Its exploration and the exhibition of the discovered objects will reveal to the modern world the rich Egyptian heritage. No less than one hundred and forty-three pieces of jewelry were found in Tutankhamen’s coffin alone. Among them are the following:
Necklaces and jewelry woman;
Rings very worked with even some being used as jumping.
Pectorals that adorned the bust
Wide bracelets in the shape of a cuff
Amulets and other pendants.