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Jewelry in Ancient Egypt
"In Egypt, gold is the dust on the highroads.”
The ancient Egyptians were among the world's most ardent jewelry lovers. Literally dripping in jewels, they walked the sun-baked streets of Egypt bejeweled from head to toe. In life, and in death, jewelry revealed one's status in the society. One of the most magnificent finds -- unearthed by tomb robbers at Qurna in 1916 -- is a 4-1/2 pound headdress; lush golden rosettes cascading over turquoise gemstones, like liquid gold flowing over the banks of the River Nile; an enduring reminder of ancient opulence and tribute to the jewelry artists of the day.
The wealthy lived a life of grandeur and excess. Women and men wore pierced earrings made of gold, silver or electrum (gold mixed with silver), embellished with rosettes and stars. Armlets, anklets, bracelets, necklaces, broad collars, pendants and hair decorations featured inlaid blue-green turquoise, red carnelian, deep-blue lapis lazuli and feldspar.
The poor adorned their bodies with jewelry made of copper or faience. Even children wore jewelry. Egyptian beads, unmatched in number and variety by any other ancient society, still hold a timeless allure for jewelry collectors.
The ancient Egyptian's passion for jewelry, appreciation of beauty and life of pleasurable indulgence is legendary. Now on display in museums throughout the world, dazzling relics from the time of the Pharaohs shed light on the rich and mysterious world of the ancient Egyptians; their fascinating beauty as potent as ever.