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What Are Common Features of Egyptian Jewelry?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 22 November 2016
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Egyptian jewelry, whether it's antique or modern, tends to have common features. It's usually large in scale and heavily embellished with texture or other details. Symbols such as the Egyptian cross are common, as are snakes, scarab beetles and pharaoh heads. Metals, glass and/or gemstones such as quartz and amethyst appear on many Egyptian jewelry pieces such as necklaces, bracelets, anklets, brooches, rings and earrings.

Antique and modern Egyptian earrings are both distinctive in design and similar in style. They are typically large metal geometric shapes with a dangling design and much detail added. Whether the earring shapes are sharp-lined triangles or rectangles with rounded corners, this Egyptian jewelry often has allover embossing to create texture as well as edges made up of glass or metal bead fringes. Expensive antique or modern earrings may be made of gold and encrusted with gemstones, while inexpensive versions may be crafted in cheaper metals such as copper or bronze.

Rings in Egyptian jewelry collections tend to be dramatic and strongly embellished. For example, a textured setting with only a very large gemstone is a common look. Another common Egyptian ring design features the ankh, which is a cross with a circle rather than the top vertical line. It symbolizes life and fertility. The ankh, or Egyptian cross, may be formed into a ring shape rather than remaining flat as it is found in pendents or earrings.

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Rather than a sparkling gem or a shaped ankh in a ring, a carved stone scarab beetle may form the main part. Carved scarabs can also be found in ancient and modern brooches as well as other types of Egyptian jewelry. Metal snakes with a textured surface and gemstone or glass eyes are distinctive Egyptian anklets and bracelets, as they tend to be designed with the snake's body winding around the arm or leg. The snakes are typically cobras.

Collar style necklaces are common pieces of Egyptian jewelry. They may feature large metal sections forming the collar and have a large pendant such as a pharaoh with a detailed headdress or a series of crescent moons. Beaded fringes in intricate patterns in smaller glass beads are also common additions to Egyptian collar necklaces.

Modern Egyptian inspired necklaces are sometimes choker style rather than the traditional collar. They are likely to still share common features though, such as large, textured metal pieces combined with glass bead work. A combination of metals such as copper and bronze may be featured in both antique and modern Egyptian necklaces.

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