by Jamie Smedley, Marketing Content Development Group, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

For centuries, ancient Egypt has been inspiring archeologists, architects, clothing and jewelry designers and artists with its vividly colored plaster images on tomb walls, monolithic landmarks such as the pyramids, the sphinx and amazing hoards of treasure revealed during archeological digs.

What is the lure of this ancient culture? It could be their prolific use of unwitting technology that, even with our modern progress, we still struggle to recreate. The civilization they carved out of the desert beside the Nile River is both beautiful and mystifying. Specifically, the legacy of ancient Egyptian jewelry, which tells the story of the meanings and values placed on their life. Through the use of iconic symbols, modernistic details and a broad array of extravagant materials collected from their known world, we continue to learn about their culture.

While there has always been an allure for all things Egyptian, the Egyptian Revival style originally emerged during the 1920s, resulting from the tomb discovery of a boy-king named Tutankhamun. During that time, artists of all types including Ertè and Gustav Klimt, plunged into the Egyptian-influence, bringing forth an Art Deco style of beautiful designs centered around hieroglyphs, scarabs, cartouches, pyramids and lotus or papyrus stalks.

Once again, jewelry designers are using the inspirations and intrigue of ancient Egypt to revisit the style. Jewelry seen on the runways is made with a modern twist in colorful designs such as bib and pectoral style necklaces, cuff bracelets and symbolic charms or pendants--all suggestive of the ancient culture. The most recent resurgence into ancient Egyptian style may be linked to the traveling museum display of Cleopatra, The Search For The Last Queen of Egypt.
Style Snapshot: Egyptian Jewelry Revisited

Iconic Egypt

The key to translating the influence of ancient Egypt into modern jewelry is to incorporate elements such as relevant symbols, significant gemstones or prominent colors that were common to ancient Egyptians into your designs.

The Scarab
Known as a protector of secrets, the scarab or dung beetle symbol was seen as a sign of rebirth, as it was believed that the scarab beetle would push the sun up into the sky every morning, giving birth to dawn.
The Ankh
Known as a powerful symbol of life and referred to as the Key of the Nile, the looping hieroglyphic cross known as the ankh has been used widely as an affirmation charm.

The Lotus
The lotus has a bloom that closes at night and sinks back beneath the water. In the morning, it re-emerges and re-blooms. This flower grew to be a natural symbol of the sun, dawn and creation.

Key Materials

Gemstone Beads Colors
Style Snapshot: Egyptian Jewelry Revisited
Style Snapshot: Egyptian Jewelry Revisited
Style Snapshot: Egyptian Jewelry Revisited
Style Snapshot: Egyptian Jewelry Revisited

Style Snapshot: Egyptian Jewelry Revisited

View Egyptian jewelry design inspirations in the Gallery of Designs

Customer Comments

We would like to share some of the customer comments we received in response to the article, "Egyptian Jewelry Revisited," featured in the a newsletter. Please keep in mind that the comments expressed below are those of our customers and do not reflect the views of Fire Mountain Gems and Beads.

"I really enjoy your articles and I hope you keep sharing them! Thank You!"
- Lisette

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