ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Scarab Jewelry: Brooches, Charms, Bracelets, Pendants and Rings

Updated on March 14, 2012

The Lure of the Ancient Scarab Beetle

Although a dung beetle may not seem like the most glamorous of motifs, to the ancient Egyptians, these humble insects were very meaningful, representing a sacred force and thus were an important religious symbol.

A dung beetle works hard, rolling a ball of dung along the ground until it reaches its destination and drops the ball in its burrow. Proportionate to the beetle's size, the ball of dung is enormous, so this is no mean feat. Once it has arrived in the burrow, the female beetle lays her eggs in the dung and when the larvae hatch, they have a ready-made source of nourishment in the dung ball, which they consume voraciously.

Once the larvae have had sufficient food, they are ready to emerge from the hole as perfectly formed little beetles. To the ancient Egyptians, this seemed like a miraculous event, since they could not see the process occurring inside the burrow.

Ancient Egyptian amulets..a scarab and papyrus
Ancient Egyptian amulets..a scarab and papyrus

A Powerful Motif

The scarab symbolised restoration of life and hope and appeared frequently in Egyptian culture. The scarab beetle God was called Khepera, meaning to 'come forth' and ancient artifacts often depict the beetle pushing the sun across the sky.

Official scarab seals were made for the stamping of documents. Artisans created scarab brooches, rings, pendants, charms and amulets from clay painted in rich beautiful colours - turquoises, blues, reds, yellows and greens and adorned them with precious gems. Blue symbolised the Nile, green growth and renewal, yellow, the desert and red, Ra, the Sun God. Sometimes the charms would be given as gifts with the owners name inscribed and a message of good luck.

Fabulous scarab hair accessory
Fabulous scarab hair accessory

Scarab Beetles and the Afterlife

It was not uncommon for a scarab beetle amulet to be placed on the chest of a mummified body, where the heart would be, as an aid the deceased person's passage into the afterlife. The Egyptians believed the weight of the scarab would be measured favourably against the 'feather of truth' at the time of final judgement.

In Egyptian mythology, the feather was a symbol of Ma'at, Goddess of truth and order. The dead were judged in the Hall of Ma'at, where it was decided whether a spirit would enter the after-life or not. The dead person's soul was weighed on a scale against the feather of truth and if it were lighter and thus free of the heavy burden of unworthiness, eternal life was granted. Sometimes the amulets would be inscribed with a spell from The Book of the dead, pleading with the heart... "do not stand as a witness against me." Source

To some extent, this ancient meme has been passed down, as scarab brooches are traditionally worn on the left of the chest, over the heart.

The Egyptian Revival

The Egyptian revival was a 19th century decorative arts movement which took creative inspiration from the beautiful artifacts of the ancient Egyptian world. Believed to be triggered, at least in part, by the widespread interest generated by Napolean's conquest of Egypt, t Nelson's defeat at the battle of the Nile and the many British expeditions into the interior of ancient tombs and the many fascinating discoveries that emerged.

The revival spawned an entire industry in ancient Egyptian replicas and themes. It influenced architecture, furniture-making, fashion and of course, jewelry and it was at this time scarab brooches reached a height of popularity. The Egyptian obsession resurfaced again during the 1920s Art Deco period, which was reflected in the jewelry of the era.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)