• Sigrid van Roode

Ancient Egyptian Jewelry

A new book on jewellery from ancient Egypt, featuring 50 well-known masterpieces: at first I wondered why I would want to read this, as many of the pieces have been published before. Let me tell you, here and now, that I'm really glad I did! It's definitely a wonderful addition to my library, and here is why you will love it, too.

What immediately caught my eye and initially persuaded me to buy the book, is the photography. Each jewellery item has been photographed so beautifully that just browsing through the book is such a delight. The photography is crisp, clear, modern and very attractive: it makes you observe the jewellery in another way and it certainly made me gasp at the intricate designs and high level of artistry these ancient jewelers achieved.

The oldest jewellery in the book: the bracelets of Djer, ca 3000 B.C. I'd wear absolutely these!


Each piece of jewellery is given its own spread (2 pages). One entire page is used for the image, and the other for the accompanying text. What I found very useful is the concise overview of all the details for each piece: materials, dimensions, date, owner, inventory numbers, and if at all known, excavation date and campaign. The main body of the text describes the piece in detail and explains the background and meaning of materials and motifs used. The result is that the book provides, seemingly in passing, an enormous amount of information about religion, economy, trade, history and craftsmanship.


The necklace of Princess Khnemet, ca 1880 B.C. The detail of the single elements is incredible


Besides jewellery, the book also presents a few other forms of ornament, like a beautiful mirror, a stunning dagger that once belonged to a princess, and the daggers of Tutankhamun. From the early Dynastic period to the Roman period, the jewellery items in the book illustrate Egypt's history, show its consistency in certain beliefs and traditions, and its innovative adaptations of new techniques, shapes and forms. All in all, this is a concise yet value-packed, and visually very pleasing book that you can't go wrong with.


Ancient Egyptian Jewelry. 50 Masterpieces of Art and Design. By Nigel Fletcher-Jones. AUC Press, Cairo. 112 pages, full colour

Read more on the website of AUC Press.


The book was purchased through Amazon.