By: A. Basel

As Egypt is the cradle of civilization, no doubt that it is also the cradle of the arts and the home of craftsmanship. Personal ornaments appear to have been among the very first objects on which the invention and ingenuity of man were exercised. In the beginning, natural objects, such as small shells, dried berries, small perforated stones, feathers of variegated colors, were combined by stringing or tying together to ornament the head, neck, arms and legs, the fingers, and even the toes.

The earliest examples of Egyptian jewelry which have come down to us are those of the Pre dynastic period (more than 3000 years B.C.), where the Egyptians had been making beads and ornaments of semi precious stones such as amethyst, lapis lazuli, cornelian, Quartz, Garnet, Turquoise , and other objects. They also used man made materials such as glazed objects and colored glass imitating semi precious stones. Most of the materials used in making these beads were chosen for their color symbolization or amulet significance especially the ones used in making funerary jewelry, as they had a religious and magical significance in the Egyptian ancient world by protecting the wearer from evil. Turquoise for example was a symbol of fertility, good luck, and as protection from the evil eye.

So as it appears, ancient Egyptians wore various shapes and kinds of jewelry, some of which are:
Bracelets and Bangles: these ornaments often came in matching sets. Ancient Egyptians also used the same term for describing anklets.

Finger rings: its earliest form was as simple as rings made of stone. Later, rings were made of small strings of beads, gold-foil bands and wires of copper or silver closed by twisting the ends together.

Amulets of semi-precious stones: these were charms worn by the living or placed on a mummy to ward off evil spirits or bring good luck.

Cartouches: These were elliptical symbols encircling the inscribed birth and coronation names of the king. They were usually worn as pendants.

Pectorals: These are large pieces of jewelry, usually in the form of trapezoids, worn on the chest.

Necklaces: These were widely used among wealthy people, and were usually made of precious metals such as gold and silver, and decorated with colored glass beads and semi-precious stones.

Earrings: Theses were worn by both men and women.

Crowns: These were reserved for royalty. They were made of gold or silver and decorated with semi-precious stones.

Belts: These included waist belts and belts with hanging vertical straps ornamented with colored beads. They were usually found in tombs.

Vests: This kind of jewelry is only found in ancient Egyptian jewelry. It was worn around the chest. It was usually made of gold or of gold-plated metal. Even when it was made of a cheap material, it was painted yellow to give a golden impression.