Ancient Egyptian jewelry has fascinated many people simply for its intricacies of design and for the beautiful use of color used in the different pieces often displayed. However, it is fascinating to discover that not only were the ancient Egyptians concerned with creating eye-catching, detailed work but they also used their materials to represent higher elements in their universe.
While the ancient Egyptians loved ornamentation, it is important to recognize that the jewelry they created was valued not only for its beauty but also for the magical and spiritual protection that the combination of materials used combined to create. Minerals and metals were identified with specific gods and also with specific spiritual and therapeutic values.
To begin with, the colors of each stone used held a specific meaning to the historic Egyptians.
* RED was used to represent blood, energy, or power. It was also used to represent evil and so it was a very powerful color when used in jewelry pieces.
* GREEN was the color of new vegetation, fertility, and new life. Thus it was a very popular color in the decorative pieces of the day as it promoted health and happiness.
* TURQUOISE was to bring joy and delight to the wearer,
* DARK BLUE symbolized the all-encompassing night sky bringing comfort and security with it.
Often times the materials chosen for these pieces were chosen for their color as opposed to the intrinsic value of the stone or the metal. For differing periods of time in the history of the ancient Egyptians, silver became more valuable than gold and thus was found in fewer pieces than gold as it was scarcer and more difficult to attain. Nowadays, the multitude of gold pieces recovered are worth far more than the silver but that was not the case at the time of creating the jewelry.
The same is true when it came to stone choices. The earliest Egyptians chose their stones for symbolic value and for added color to the piece and favorite stones are not the precious stones that seem to hold such value, but rather more a conglomeration of semi-precious stones with beautiful colors.
Some of these are
So while appreciating the beauty of the incredibly detailed pieces that have come from ancient Egyptian jewelry, it is also important to recognize the deeper meaning associated with the choice of material used in each one; the symbolism in each piece is just as beautiful as the appearance of the jewelry created at this time.