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Ancient Egyptians And Beads
By Jane Shafrin

The discovery of thousands of Egyptian mummies in a network of tombs reinforces the fact that Egyptians were obsessed with dressing the mummies in the proper clothing and jewelry to prepare them for their trip to the underworld.

Egyptian burial sites have provided knowledge about the history and use of beads in ancient civilizations because so much beaded material has survived in their sarcophagi. Much of this jewelry was too fragile to have been worn, but has survived because it was made specifically for use in the other world.

Egyptians practiced pantheism and also believed that the naturalistic likeness of a deceased person or creature in the form of a statue or painting contained the ka, or actual life-force, of that individual.

The Egyptian civilization was a peaceful one -- they were protected by the surrounding desert, yet the annual flooding of the Nile ensured that crops

would flourish.

Egyptians wore rings with large bezels containing cartouches with symbolic meanings.

Much of the jewelry found in Egyptian tombs was made of faience, a vitreous (glass) paste which when fired turned a beautiful blue-green. Many pieces were made from gold worked in complex designs. Egyptians also used semiprecious stones such as agate, carnelian, quartz, lapis, and the jaspers. They were quite sophisticated in the jewelry fabrication techniques

they used.

Children wore fish amulets to protect them from drowning. The Ba bird, a statue of a person with huge outstretched wings, represented the soul of the dead. The scarab or beetle signified rebirth, creation, and power. The bottom of the beetle was inscribed with a person's name. This led to the development of the signet ring.

Egyptians shaped jewelry into many different creatures such as snakes, birds, horses, monkeys and apes, frogs, pelicans, rams, or spiders. Each shape represented a specific type of power or idea.

Palm branches symbolized millions of years. The basket symbolized royal power.The patroness of birth is Toerris, the hippopotamus goddess. Anubis, the jackal, was another symbol of royal power.

Osiris was the great god of the underworld; Isis was his wife, and her son was Horus-the-child.

Thoth was the god of wisdom. His sacred animals were the ibis and the baboon.

Astarte was the goddess of love and war, often depicted on horseback.

Statues and drawings from the early Egyptians wear some type of jewelry, and both men and women pierced their ears.


Jane Shafrin has been conducting a love affair with jewelry since her childhood. She designs jewelry, collects and sells vintage jewelry, and her web site, Beads by Mail contains colorful pages full of information about gemstones, beads, how to make jewelry, and publishes free bead patterns. Jane's goal is to provide the best customer support on the Web. What other company owner answers every phone call and email? Beads by Mail ships orders worldwide and is one of the best places to buy Kenneth Jay Lane couture jewelry.

 
 
     
 
 
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