Jewelry was worn by ancient Egyptians at every level of society and, like their modern descendants, they prized it for its aesthetic value, as a way to adorn and beautify the body. It was also a conspicuous signifier of wealth, status, and power. But jewelry in ancient Egypt served another fundamental purpose: its wearers saw it as a means to absorb positive magical and divine powers—to protect the living, and the dead, from the malignant forces of the unseen. The types of metals or stones used by craftsmen were magically important, as were the colors of the materials, and the exact positioning of all the elements in a design.
Ancient Egyptian Jewelry: 50 Masterpieces of Art and Design draws on the exquisite collections in the archaeological museums of Cairo to tell the story of three thousand years of jewelry-making, from simple amulets to complex ritual jewelry to the spells that protected the king in life and assisted his journey to the Otherworld in death. Gold, silver, carnelian, turquoise, and lapis lazuli were just some of the precious materials used in many of the pieces, and this stunningly illustrated book beautifully showcases the colors and exceptional artistry and accomplishment that make ancient Egyptian jewelry so dazzling to this day.
To read an excerpt, click here.
For the Table of Contents, click here.