How Did the Ancient Egyptians Make Jewelry?

The ancient Egyptians likely made jewelry in workshops where individuals worked in an assembly line-type method creating beads, making gold chains and stringing jewelry. They made bangles, bracelets, anklets, diadems, necklaces, girdles, pendants and forehead ornaments. They used bone, pebbles, carnelian, lapis lazuli, feldspar, turquoise, colored glass and alabaster to make beads and used flint to make holes. Bone and gold beads were used for spacers.

The ancient Egyptians also inlaid gold and silver with precious stones. They made patterns using tiny grains of gold, a technique called gold granulation. They invented inlaying gems; enameling; the a jour technique, an open-backed gem setting that allows light to shine through the gem; chasing, which involves indenting metals to make decorative patterns; and repousse, a form of metal manipulation that involves hammering the metal.

Around 2000 B.C., they began making gold rings from gold wire. By 1600 B.C., they made earrings and ear plugs, which were worn first only by women and later by men. The scarab beetle and the Eye of Horus were widely used motifs, as well as cobras and vultures that were only used on jewelry worn by the pharaoh. Jewelry was worn as a status symbol and to ward off evil by the wealthy and poor alike. Because jewelry was considered protective, ancient Egyptians were buried with as much jewelry as they could amass.