11 photos of Lavish Pieces of Jewelry from Ancient Egypt

Sunday May 19, 2019               By: Alexandra Kinias 

Contemporary piece inspired by jewelry from ancient Egypt designed by Doro Soucy 

The grandeur of the ancient Egyptian civilization is evident in the crafts and artifactsleft behind, including jewelry. Egyptians had access to precious metals and gem stones. The discovery of gold, in abundance, in the Nubian deserts revolutionized the Egyptian jewelry making. With their advanced tools, technology and skilled craftsmen, they were among the first who established the jewelry making industry in the ancient world. The precision, details and designs of their jewelry were state of the art, even by today’s standards. Their exquisite designs still inspire jewelry makers around the world.

Gold collar from the treasure of the royal tombs Tanis, ca. 1070-712 B.C. – Cairo Museum

In ancient Egypt, women, men and children, from poor families to royalties wore the best colorful jewelry they could afford. The material from which jewelry was made differed according to their wealth and status. Nonetheless,necklaces, bracelets, neck collars, pendants, earrings, armbands, rings and amulets adorned their necks, wrists, ears, fingers and ankles.

The Ancient Egyptian Pectoral of Prince Khaemweset, son of Rameses II. 18th Dynasty,  Louvre, France.

Wealthy Egyptians wore lavish jewelry made of gold, semi-precious stones and colored glass, which was rare when first discovered and very expensive. They loved pieces designed with scrolls, tigers, scarab beetles, winged birds, jackals, antelopes and snakes. The masses wore jewelry made of copper and colored beads, made of painted clay, stones, animal teeth and bones. Silver was a rarity in Egypt, and hardly used.

Necklace with falcon pendant, Ancient Egypt, Located in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, Egypt

Egyptians wore jewelry not just for adornment, but also because they believed in their magical powers. Jewelry brought them good fortune, protected them from diseases and evil eyes, and warded off malevolent spirits, both during their life and in their afterlife, as they also wore their jewelry after death. Royals and nobles were buried with their jewelry, which allowed archeological excavations to discover these treasures; exhibited in museums in Egypt and around the world.

Pin, Horus Falcon from the Tomb of Tutankhamun
Gold Necklace of King Psusennes I, from his tomb in Tanis, Nile Delta, Northern Egypt.
Earrings, from the tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamun, discoverd in the Valley of the Kings,
Necklace with Lunar Pectoral – from the tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamun

Bracelet with image of Goddess Hathor – Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Bracelet from the tomb of Queen Amanishakheto in Nubia – Egyptian Museum Berlin
Pectoral and Necklace of Princess Sit-hathor-yunet
Ring with Ducks. Ramesses IV, 153-1147 BC, Dynasty 20. Louvre, Paris

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  1. Truest magnificent pieces I don’t see why more modern jewelers like Boucheron Tiffany etc don’t copy I love Ramses the firsts gold necklace thanks


  2. Is the author of this article part of Radwan’s jewellery shop in Luxor? I bought a number of lovely contemporary pieces there. I did a Master’s thesis on Ancient Egyptian women’s headdresses so I fully appreciate the exquisite techniques. I investigated many that are in the Cairo museum (small room next to the Tut treasure room) but also some in other museum collections. An inlaid, cap headdress in the Met Museum in New York was really heavy, I think you would have had to be able to walk very carefully and elegantly to keep it in place on the head! @ Juliet, many of the famous jewellers did indeed interpret ancient Egyptian jewellery, but this was mainly in the art Deco era (1920’s) when the Oriental style was very much in fashion! I suspect that most of these reside in private collections but also that much was lost as a result of looting during WW2.


  3. Exquisite pieces. For us so far is there is online buying an option esp for earring n scarub chains pls


    • I have seen the Egyptian art and jeweler yin the Cairo Museum. They are all extraordinarily magnificent. Wish I owned some!


  4. How beautiful. I shared this on my facebook page and will leave a link to your site in my art blog. These pieces makes me long for some past life on the Nile. Thanks for showing these.


  5. ¿Por qué no devuelven las joyas a los países de orígen?
    Sabemos que muchos objetos provienen de saqueos en épocas Napoleónicas, sabemos que se han hecho estudios, pero no entiendo por qué nunca han sido devueltos estos y otros objetos a Egipto y países de la Mesopotamia, que también han sido el blanco de robos de patrimonio cultural.


  6. Thank you for beautiful article . As a child I lived 2 min walk from museum and used to visit with a sketch pad to draw beautiful artifices!!


  7. I have been interested in all thing Egyptian since I was a child(over 80 yrs). It is so refreshing to see such beautiful replicas and originals as you display. Thank you Norita in Tucson Arizona


  8. A really informative article. Thanks for the information. Jewelry was critically important even at the very start of Dynastic Egypt. Although there has been an abundance of stunning jewelry styles since the very first examples came into existence, there’s no doubt that Egyptian jewelry was entirely a work of art when the sheer craftsmanship of these pieces is considered. Thank you so much for the good quality of the photo.


    • Looks like a light-colored plastic mannequin. What color were the gone-forever Egyptians? The piece is not ancient, but made reminiscent of the ancient style. IT’S THE NECKLACE being displayed not the plastic. I’m sorry you have such ethnic focus. Diversity of thought and invention has made us great. The focus on mythical ethnic purity lost WWII. Remember the Code Talkers! Remember the Tuskegee Airmen.


    • what difference if woman is white
      it is an honor to wear such beauteous art form….and woman should” respect “other women of all colors not be so judgemental…we all bleed… we all breathe…we all love…and hopefully our lives all matter!!


  9. Beautiful, however, I have to take exception to the contention that ancient Egyptians have “tigers” on their jewelry. They had lions and leopards, but tigers are an Asian animal, and they would not have had contact with them.


  10. Absolutely beautiful! So glad contemporary artists can take inspiration from the originals. Any possibility there are high quality photos suitable for framing available? Or a book? I would hang those photos on the wall.


  11. What a great article. The pieces featured are truly exquisite, as is all of the jewelry making of the ancient Egyptians. In honor of Egypt and the beautiful gemstones that are sourced from the Sinai Peninsula, there is a fantastic charity called the Tem Foundation that sells handmade Egyptian jewelry in aid of programs to end female genital mutilation in Egypt. You can check them out @temgirls on Instagram and Facebook. They Egyptian turquoise, amethyst, alabaster and gold and silver.


  12. it is a shame that people are portrayed as thieves when greed of others “sell” their cultural art forms…sometimes the world does get educated by being able to observe what museums have to show to us … of the Progress and Positive Influence OF civilizations pre dating ours.


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