Historically jewelry was worn daily by all of Egypt's socioeconomic groups, though poorer people wore simpler items. Typical pieces of Egyptian jewelry included amulets, chains, necklaces, pendants, earrings, bracelets, anklets and rings. They were worn both for decoration and to ward off malevolent supernatural forces. Jewelry was also a common gift for guests at parties, banquets, and weddingsContinue Reading
Less costly Egyptian jewelry was made from common materials such as flowers, leaves and papyrus. More expensive pieces were crafted from silver and gold, which represented the gods, the sun and eternity. Many pieces had inlaid gemstones, and each type had a specific meaning. Gems purported to grant the wearer good luck included turquoise, lapis lazuli and feldspar, while amethyst was believed to bring happiness.
Sea shells were often included in bracelets for both sexes. Due to the cowrie shell's resemblance to an eye, the ancient Egyptians believed it offered protection from evil forces.
During the 1920s, over 100 exquisite pieces of jewelry were discovered in the tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun. They are now displayed at Cairo’s Egyptian Museum. Some were decorated with a scarab beetle, which symbolized the sun, fertility and rejuvenation. One of the largest pieces was Tutankhamun's gold, obsidian and quartz mask, which was designed to unite his soul with his mummified remains.Learn more about Jewelry & Watches