16 June 2024 12:40 AM

Traditional Jewelry

Thursday، 19 May 2016 12:00 AM

Ancient Egyptians knew beautification, which developed and got more and more sophisticated as time passed. As Encyclopedia Britannica indicates, the early Egyptians used silver and gold ornaments for beautification purposes; they did this due to their belief in the magic power of metals Ornaments were the most important part of both males and females’ apparels.

Those people also believed in the magic power of precious stones. They used to put green stone in the deceased’s mouth, which they believed could bring them back to life. They also wore amulets and charms believing in their protective power.

The Ancient Pharaonic State (2980-24 B.C):
Necklaces were made of beads together with amulets for both men and women. Also other monuments include finely manufactured gold, garnet and turquoise jewelry, which not only belong to the Royal Family but also to the ordinary people, who replaced gold with metals like copper or gold- covered bronze.

The Middle Pharaonic State (2160-1788 B.C):
Jewelry made of heads and ceramics was in vogue then. Blue and green were the predominant colors. These ornaments were shaped like hawks, shells, beads or parts of the human body in addition to birds, animals and vegetables, which amounted to about two hundred and fifty units. Each of these ornamental units symbolized a specific meaning.

The Modern Pharaonic State (1580-1090 B.C):
There was a boom all over the country. Therefore, all the people wore ornaments. Men wore rings, earrings and necklaces of beads. Also the Pharaohs used gold a lot, especially in the Kings and Queens’ jewelry which was superb and various. With the advent of the 19th Dynasty, silver was used for making jewelry.

Ornaments in the Ptolemaic Age (332-3 B.C.):
After Alexander the Great had conquered Egypt, the jewelry industry developed at the hands of Egyptian and Greek jewelers. However, the Greek manufacturers learned from the Egyptians and adopted their styles and expertise in this field.

Snake - like bracelets became popular; types of these are available at the Egyptian Museum. The art of engraving on stones flourished in Alexandria, which was one of the biggest centers for gems and precious stones.

The Roman Age (30 B.C - 640 A.D):
Under the Roman rule Egypt became impoverished. Hence, cheap metals like bronze, brass and silver prevailed in jewelry making. However, gold and silver coins were still in use.

Also beads made of glass, ivory and porcelain were used in different colors and shapes. Amulets of silver and white and blue glass were used to protect people against the evil eye.

The Byzantine and Coptic Era:
Christianity got into Egypt in (61 A.D.) and many Egyptians got Christianized accordingly. However, the Romans opposed it at first until Emperor Constantine I got converted to Christendom, which was declared the official religion of the Byzantine State. All arts, jewelry included, were influenced by this religion; Christian symbols such as the cross, fish, pigeon, tame animals, vine leaves and grape bunches, and the sights of saints and apostles these all went into the making of Roman and Coptic jewelry.

Ornaments in the Fatimide, Ayubide, Memeluki & Ottoman Eras:

In the Fatimid period, adornments were shaped like a crescent. The Ayubide era reproduced more or less the Fatimid adornments. Also the Memeluki epoch was characterized by ornaments that were similar to those produced during the Fatimid and the Ayubide periods.

Under the Ottoman rule Egyptian and Islamic crafts and arts declined. The rich class emulated the Western people and imported their jewelry from them accordingly. Of course this influenced the local products.

Ornaments in Marriage Today:
In nuptials ceremonies ornaments are very important. They indicate the couple’s financial status. Jewelry constitutes an essential part of the trousseau, as it is indicative of a family’s social standing; the more expensive, the more proud they become before their neighbors. On the wedding day, the bride wears a necklace, a ring or a bracelet.

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