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Enjoy Part 3 of our 10 part series on the History of Jewelry.
Ancient Egyptian Jewelry
After more than 100 thousand years after the first simple jewelry pieces made out from bone, seashells and animal skin appeared deep in Africa, and over 40 thousand years after our ancestors stepped outside of African continent and started conquering the world, Egypt managed to become one of the most dominant civilization of our ancient history. Empowered by advanced technology, access to the precious metals and gems, and culture of nobles and royalty who appreciated luxury and rarity over mass produced jewelry items, they soon become the leading force of jewelry manufacture and creators of trends that will live forever.
Moment that defined the start of Egypt rise in jewelry production was discovery of the gold and the ways to easily collect it from available riverbeds some 5 thousand years ago. This enabled Egyptians to collect vast quantities of gold which was viewed as perfect material for creation of elaborate jewelry designs - soft and easy to work with. Starting with Predynastic Egypt, golden jewelry quickly became symbol of status, power and religion, which enabled it to become lifetime focus of many royal and noble families, who demanded creation of more and more elaborate jewelry designs as time went by. In addition to gold and the materials that could be commonly found in Egypt, many other materials were imported from surrounding territories (such as silver and semi-precious stone lapis lazuli which was used as one of the most favorite materials for production of famous Egyptian Scarab ornament). Its important to note that high grade Egyptian jewelry was one of the most wanted trade items in the ancient world. Pieces of their workmanship can be found in many territories, from ancient Persia, Turkey to Greece and Rome.
Egyptian nobility favored necklaces, bracelets, belts, amulets, pendants, hair beads and many other jewelry types that were decorated with the designs of scarab beetles, scrolls, winged birds, tigers, jackals and antelopes. One especially interesting jewelry material that was often used was colored glass (first discovered in Egypt, initially very expensive and rare), which can be found in various depiction of birds where sparkly glass pieces represented feathers.
Egyptian nobles did not carry their expensive jewelry during life, but they also wore it in death, left by their side in elaborate burial ceremonies. This tradition of securing jewelry in hard to reach places enabled modern archaeologist to discover vast quantities of perfectly preserved Egyptian wealth and share it with the world thousands of years later.
Work Cited: http://www.historyofjewelry.net/jewelry-history/jewelry-in-acient-egypt/