I would like to think that I know a little bit about jewelry, seeing as I just got engaged a few weeks ago. I know that it runs the gamut from small subdued pieces to garish pieces. When shopping for a ring I was able to see many different types of jewelry the modern world has to offer, although I concentrated on diamond jewelry and more specifically rings. I will talk first about different ways that ancient Egyptians adorned themselves and then I will move on to the modern era and finally sum it up with the differences and similarities that I see.
Even though I started off talking about jewelry there were many ways that Egyptians adorned themselves. Egyptians used jewelry, makeup, and tattoos. We know this because the Egyptians documented many of their ways and also have relics (mummies and tombs that have survived) that let us see how they actually did adorn themselves. I will first start off discussing jewelry.
All Egyptians strove for jewelry. “Jewelry was so important that not only pharaohs but all Egyptians were buried with some kind of jewelry -- even if it was just brass and glass.” (Hinckley) Just like in today’s society Egyptians had many different types of jewelry, rings, earrings, bracelets, and necklaces. Again similar to modern society these were used to show the status and wealth of the person wearing it. Jewelry also had religious significance. Because of this many of the designs had specific rules so that it did not affect the protective value of the item. Some jewelry was very ornate and some ideas have stood the test of time and are still being used in jewelry. In addition to the design the material choice and color choice had religious meaning and significance. An ancient Egyptian designer did not have free reign in creating a piece, but rather had to follow in specific guidelines. The protective value of the jewelry also meant that both sexes and all social classes wore jewelry of some sort, lower classes usually having to make do with amulets. Egyptians would prepare themselves for death by collection as many pieces of jewelry as they could. This also meant that instead of passing pieces down through a family they would be buried with them as that is where they could do the most good.
Egyptians used many materials that are also used today. Gold was considered the skin of gods and as such was used for most of the jewelry. They also used precious stones. Turquoise was abundant and also easy to work with which made it very popular. Its green color meant joy and life. Emerald is a difficult gemstone to work with, so it was not as popular as turquoise, but it was beautiful. Emeralds have no significance to Egyptians, but Cleopatra was very fond of them. Egyptians also used other stones, but many times they fell back to using glass. The reason for this was that it was cheaper and they could work with it easier. They became so proficient at using glass that many times it was hard to tell that it was glass....