The Egyptian necklace is the fruit of Egyptian culture, a fascinating one. With a history of thousands of years, it is obvious that they knew how to build a civilization.
One of the most iconic things about ancient Egyptians is their jewelry. They were known for their intricate gold and jewel-encrusted necklaces, bracelets, and rings. Archaeologists have found some of these pieces and are now on display in museums. In this blog post, I will be examining jewelry from different periods in Egyptian history to see how it changed over time.
Section 1: Why do we wear jewelry?
I am not the first person to ask this question, but I do want to explore this in a little more detail. Are our jewelry pieces a status symbol? Or, are they a mark of the wearer’s wealth?
Since ancient times, jewelry has been used to show wealth. Many times, jewelry is exchanged by people of high status. By wearing a well-made gold or silver piece, one can show that they have a high-quality silver mine and that they have high-quality workers.
Something else that can be done to show status is to wear expensive gems. As one would expect, these gems are more valuable than the basic gold, silver, or bronze that they were made from.
Also, once, when wealthy people were being chased by the military, it was common for them to wear jewelry that had all the gold melted down and used to make bullets.
Ancient Egyptian jewelry
During the 4th Dynasty, Egyptologist Howard Carter found the Tomb of Tutankhamun. In that tomb, he found a treasure trove of jewelry, including a large necklace featuring the head of a falcon-headed god. The bird head was called the “Crown of Set”, and it is one of the oldest Egyptian symbols.
Some sources report that this symbol is supposed to be the bird that built the pyramids, though that is a much-debated topic. Whatever its origins, this bird head is now one of the oldest symbols of ancient Egypt.
In his book Ancient Egyptians, Richard Sellers reports that it was during the 4th Dynasty that the Egyptians began to wear rings inscribed with hieroglyphs.
Middle Kingdom jewelry
The jewelry that I will be looking at is one from the middle kingdom. The Egyptians believed that each of the emperors was created from the gold of the sun god, and there was a lot of gold used in jewelry. I believe that gold-plated copper was used to forming these pieces because they would oxidize very quickly.
The largest piece I will be looking at in the middle kingdom circlet, which would be made from gold and plated copper.
The Middle Kingdom was a huge empire in ancient Egypt. It existed from 14th to 7th BC. This kingdom was when the Egyptians developed their most advanced form of government. It was also the period in which many discoveries were made. It was during this time that the Great Sphinx of Giza was unearthed.
New Kingdom jewelry
The history of gold jewelry in Egypt begins in the New Kingdom (ca. 1550-1070 BCE). During this time, gold, precious gems, and even some limestone were used to create the jewelry.
Although jewelry was still considered to be “degenerate” at this time, people would still take great care in their jewelry, making sure they paid attention to the fine detail and aesthetic of the piece. This is evidenced by their creations being intricately carved and intricately set with gemstones. Some of the best examples of this were found in the tombs of pharaohs such as Tutankhamun and Nefertiti. The jewelry even resembles the jewelry we see in Nefertiti’s tomb today.
The New Kingdom jewelry is known for being embellished with copper and silver.
Third Intermediate Period jewelry
As mentioned before, the majority of the objects that have been found are from the Third Intermediate Period. However, some examples were found in the first and second Intermediate Period. These pieces are commonly referred to as the KV11 and KV15 samples. These pieces are from jewelry that was found in tomb KV11 in Sneferu’s pyramid complex in Dahshur, Egypt. The Third Intermediate Period lasted from c. 1912 to c. 1069 B.C.
When the KV11 and KV15 samples were first discovered, they were painted gold. However, the paint was removed to reveal the precious stones. The jewelry was a statement piece with its large pendant and its fancy embellishments.
The pendants of these pieces have triangular and rectangular stones engraved with animals and the sun symbol.
Late Period jewelry
One of the most elaborate styles of jewelry was the Late Period (1550 BCE – 1069 BCE). During this time, a distinct style of jewelry was developed, which was completely covered by jewelry pieces. These were referred to as Maenads, an ancient goddess in Egyptian mythology. They knew these Maenads for their very refined craftsmanship, as well as their extreme beauty. They were often dressed in the most beautiful of fabrics, including gold and velvet.
The second type of jewelry you will see during the Late Period is the Hapi type. This style comes from two characters in Egyptian mythology. Hapi was a goddess with a toned stomach. During her emergence, she was known for shaking her nude body and was called the “she-deity of fullness.
Ptolemaic and Roman Rule jewelry
The Ptolemaic period (305 – 30 BC)
During this time, they made jewelry from the most common materials available. Gold was the most important metal, used for many of the classic Egyptian bracelets and necklaces. Some jewelry, such as headdresses, also used more precious metals such as silver or platinum.
They mostly wore these pieces in the day. The necklaces could be worn as a necklace, wrist cuffs, or used as an arm decoration. Often, the bracelets would be locked together and worn around the waist. The bracelets were worn by both men and women, and many would-be worn on both arms. We could also wear the amulets around the neck, but with a ring of the same precious metal, it was easier to attach them.
Egypt has an amazing culture that has been untouched for centuries. Its ancient stories, magnificent buildings, and intriguing jewelry are reasons for many to visit Egypt.
See also: vintage pocket watches