For many, Egyptian jewelry marks the beginning of the modern era of jewelry making. We are familiar, of course, with the extravagant ornamentation of Egyptian queens and pharaohs.
However, let us not forget that many cultures before and at the time of the Egyptian “empire” fashioned and made jewelry to which they assigned significant meaning, even though the materials and techniques may have been less refined or less elaborate.
Ancient Egyptian jewelry stands out not merely due to its craftsmanship, but also because it marks the beginning of jewelry making as a profession. It also marks the beginning of jewelry manufacturing for commerce. This provided the right circumstances for magnificent adornments and materials to travel long distances.
The implications of ornamentation as a building block of commerce are numerous, from the perception of jewelry as a sign of wealth and status to jewelry making as an art. Indeed, jewelry making’s evolution is tightly linked to social and cultural transformation, much to the delight of historians, sociologists and even psychologists. Unlike any other form of art, jewelry seems deeply rooted in the ego.
To be continued…