The ancient Egyptians placed high value on their jewelry. Not only was it worn to be visually appealing each piece had meaning. The jewelry was worn by both men and women of all social classes. Not only was jewelry used by the people, but statues of kings and gods were dressed in jewelry. Even in death the jewelry was worn as it was believed to send one into the afterlife. Copper and gold were the main materials used to craft Egyptian jewelry. Copper was mainly affordable to the lower social classes in Egypt, but gold was usually the preferred choice for the affluent Egyptians. As far as the gemstones that were used some of the more popular stones used were: lapis lazuli, turquoise, garnet, and pearls. The most common piece of jewelry in ancient Egypt was the wide collared necklace. Both men and women wore ear rings as well as finger rings. The use of gold in Ancient Egyptian jewelry simply represented the flesh of the gods or the fire and shine of the sun. Some of the most well known symbols of Egyptian jewelry are:
The ibis bird is a sacred bird associated with the god Toth. Toth was the god of wisdom and learning and is often depicted with the body of a man and the head of an ibis.
Eye of Hours
The Eye of Hours signifies royal power, protection, and good health. In Egyptian mythology it is said that after the god Osiris was killed by his own brother Set, god of the desert, Horus fought with Set to avenge his father’s death. Horus lost his left eye in the fight. The eye was found and restored and Horus offered the eye to his father as a sacrifice hoping to restore his life.
The scarab beetle symbolizes protection and resurrection. Death was a welcome transition for ancient Egyptians, from the physical into another realm of existence. The scarab symbol was often placed in the ton of the departed.
Egyptian styles are still seen in the modern jewelry world today. The Egyptian style and technique revolutionized jewelry as we see it today.