Early Egyptian and Phoenician Jewelry Part 1

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Most of the forms met with among the jewelry of the civilized nations of later times are found represented in the ornaments of the Egyptians. It is fortunate that important specimens of all descriptions of these have come down to our days. This we owe to the elaborate care which the Egyptians bestowed on the preservation of the dead, and to the strict observance of funeral rites, which induced them to dress and ornament their mummies with a view to future comfort both in the grave and in the after life.

The ornaments, however, buried with the dead were frequently mere models of what were worn in life, and the pains taken in making these depended on the sums expended by the friends of the deceased after his death. While those who were possessed of means and were scrupulous in their last duties to the dead purchased ornaments of the best workmanship and of the most costly materials, others who were unable or unwilling to incur expense in providing such objects were contented with glass pastes instead of precious stones, and glazed pottery instead of gold.

With the exception of many finger rings worn by both sexes and some female ornaments, the greater number of jewels discovered in the tombs are of inferior quality and value to those which the deceased had worn when living.

A peculiarity of the jewelry of the Egyptians is that, in addition to its actual purpose, it generally possesses something of the allegorical and emblematic signification, for which their mythology offered plentiful material. Among the emblems or figures of objects which symbolize or suggest the qualities of deities, the most favorite is the scarab or beetle, type of the god Khepera.

The use of scarabs in burial had reference to the resurrection of the dead and immortality. Other important emblems include the tiza or tttchat, the symbolic eye—the eye of Horns, the hawk-god; the cobra snake, the emblem of divine and royal sovereignty; the tet, the four-barred emblem of stability, endurance, and lastingness; the human-headed hawk, emblem of the soul. These and many others, as well as figures from the animal world, were worn as ornaments, and especially as amulets to bring good fortune or to ward off evil.

Color plays an important part in Egyptian jewelry. This love of color was displayed in the use of glazed ware, incorrectly termed porcelain, but properly a faience, much employed for all articles, as necklaces, scarabs, and rings, and particularly for the various kinds of amulets which were largely worn as personal ornaments.

The most usual and beautiful was the cupreous glaze of a blue or apple-green color; yellow, violet, red, and white are also met with, but less frequently, and chiefly at later periods. But color showed itself above all in the surface decoration of jewelry, produced by the application of colored stones and the imitation of these inserted in cells of gold prepared for them. The chief materials employed for the purpose were lapis- lazuli, turquoise, root of emerald or green feldspar, jasper, and obsidian, besides various opaque glasses imitating” them.

With the exception of enamel upon metal, which is only found in Egypt in quite late periods, the Egyptians appear to have been acquainted with all the processes of jewelry now in use. Chasing and engraving they preferred to all other modes of ornamenting metal-work, as these methods enhanced the beauty of their jewels while retaining a level surface. They were also highly skilled in soldering and in the art of repouss work. The great malleability of gold enabled them to overlay ornaments of silver, bronze, and even stone with thin leaves of this metal ; while ornaments were also composed entirely of plates of gold of extreme thinness. In articles where frequent repetition occurs, for instance, in necklaces, patterns were produced by pressure in molds, and then soldered together.

Continued in Part 2

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Semi-Precious Stones: Lapis Lazuli

Wear a pair of dangle earrings made from one of the most sought after stones in use since man’s history. The stone of choice would be the “Lapis Lazuli.” The Lapis Lazuli stone varies in color from a deep clestial blue to shades of grey. The celestial blue color symbolizes royalty and honor, wisdom and truth.

Lapis Lazuli semi-precious stones are formed by rocks such as Lazurite, Sodalite, Calcite and Pyrite. The highest grades of Lapis Lazuli is a rich medium royal blue with gold flecks.

In Egypt B.C. Lapis Lazuli was among the most highly prized tributes paid to them and obtained from some of the oldest mines in the world. Lapis Lazuli is called “sapphire” in the Old Testament. Of interest to me is that it is said Lapis Lazuli could be the fifth stone in the original breastplate of the High Priest in the Old Testament. (Kunz,293-294).

King Tutankhamen must have been a lover of beautiful semi precious stones. His golden sarcophagus were richly inlaid with Lapis Lazuli. Many other Egyptian kings and queens were buried with Lapis Lazuli adornments. (Simmons 227).

The land of the Egyptians was dry and barren. The deep cobalt blue color of the Lapis Lazuli stones held some very specific spiritual meaning to the Egyptians. There are gold flecks throughout the cobalt blue color which were a symbol of stars in the night. The stars were the gold flecks and the night in the background of the stars was the cobalt blue color. The Egyptians felt that when meditating upon these colors within the Lapis Lazuli stones supernatural forces were change their lives. (Raphaell,141)

People from the Islamic Orient held the Lapis Lazuli stones close to their hearts for protection from the evil eye. (Megemont,110).

The well known and famous painter, Michelangelo ground and processed Lapis Lazuli stones into powder to produce intense, expensive, ultramarine colors. The colors were his favorite to use in his paintings. (Megemont,111).

Buddhist believers recommended Lapis Lazuli as a stone for instilling inner peace and receiving freedom from negative thoughts. As a result, Catherine the Great had an entire room in her palace decorated with Lapis Lazuli stones on her walls, fireplaces, doors and mirror frames.

Other legends and who should wear Lapis Lazuli stones:

Executives, journalists and psychologists should wear Lapis Lazuli jewelry pieces to stimulate wisdom and good judgment in the practical world, that is, according to those who study these kind of things. I have an interest and “some” ability toward journalism and mental health. It is odd how the Lapis Lazuli was the first semi precious stone that really caught my eye. I have several pieces of jewelry now made from Lapis Lazuli chips.

It is said the Lapis Lazuli stones aids intellectual analysis in archeologists and historians, problem solving for lawyers and helps to create new ideas for inventors and writers. (Mella, 129-133).

Other writers believe the Lapis Lazuli is a powerful crystal for activating the higher mind which stimulates the desire for knowledge, truth and understanding (another category in which I fit into easily). It is suppose to aid in the process of learning and is said to be excellent for enhancing the memory (Simmons,227) (Ahsian 228).

Place a Lapis Lazuli grid in homes where teenagers, or children with Asperger’s syndrome, autism, or attention-deficit disorder live to help bring calmness and loving communication. (Eason, 40,22).

Odd is the fact that as I was laying out a dangle earring design using the Lapis Lazuli chips I felt a calmness come over me that was “different” than during the process with other types of stones. The Lapis Lazuli is becoming one of my favorites in the semi-precious line of gemstones. Knowing just a little bit more about this beautiful stone helps me to feel great appreciation for it.

reference used: http://www.crystalvaults.com/crystal-encyclopedia/lapis

Written by: Connie Limon, Bead Jewelry Artisan
Carmilita’s Earrings: https://carmilitaearrings.etsy.com

Meet Clover:

dangle earrings clover

Clover is a pair of handmade dangle earrings I added to Carmilita’s Simplicity Collection. She dangles about 1 1/2 inch from the hook.

Materials Used:
2 Silver Plated French Fish Earring Hooks
12 Silver Plated Jump Rings 5 mm
12 Silver Plated Head Pins
12 Small Chips of Lapis Lazuli Beads, blue/green in colors

Clover’s Price: $15 includes FREE shipping

Purchase Clover here: Carmilita’s Earrings