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Collection Highlights

Gold ring

Gold ring
© BA Antiquities Museum/C. Gerigk

Registration Number(s)
BAAM Serial Bibliotheca Alexandrina Antiquities Museum Number 0841

Inv.Inventory
 (Canadian Storeroom) 123

where to find


showcase M1

Gold ring

Category:
Personal equipment, jewelry, finger rings
Date:
Ancient Egyptian period
Provenance:
Upper Egypt, Luxor (Thebes) (Excavations of the Canadian Expedition)
Material(s):
Non-organic material, metal, gold
Diameter:
3 cm
Hall:
Submerged Antiquities, showcase M1


Description

Golden ring in the shape of a cartouche with hieroglyphic inscription: "the goddess Mut, goddess of the sky".

Jewellery

The ancient Egyptian had a great love for jewellery and decoration from the earliest of times.  Boxes were found from the pre-dynastic era, which were dedicated to hold hair pins, necklaces and bracelets.

While gold came from Nubia, other material used for making jewellery was mined in Egypt, such as turquoise from the Sinai.  Jewellery was worn by men and women alike and their numbers and shapes were fixed and known and are still prevalent today, such as bracelets and anklets, necklaces, collars, rings, earrings and tiaras or crowns.

Pre-dynastic jewellery was primarily made of stone, shells and ivory. Royal Old Kingdom jewellery is replete with magnificent pieces made in gold and studded with gemstones such as turquoise, carnelian and amethyst.  Silver was also used in jewellery and was more precious than gold in the Old and Middle Kingdoms.

Jewellery-making reached its peak in craftsmanship, refinement and sophistication during the Middle Kingdom, when mother-of-pearl, jasper, agate, lapis lazuli, turquoise and faience were used. Bracelets were made of gold, silver, bronze, or ivory and were inlaid with gemstones. 

Rings were made of many metals including iron and adorned several fingers.  During the Late Period, rings were square in form and included the shape of a scarab or other gods, amulets or bore the name of their owner.  Crowns were made of gold inlaid with gemstones and mother-of-pearl.

The peak of craftsmanship was in the manufacturing of heavy and royal pectorals and broad collars which were studded with gemstones in a harmonious arrangement.  They would start in a triangular shape bearing scenes in studded gold or fine gemstones branching into several rows in superb harmony.

Jewellery was also placed on statues of the gods during temple ceremonies, as ancient Egyptians believed it had magical protective powers that would  protect the members of the god.


The information given here is subject to modification/update as a result of ongoing research.

Bibliography
  • "Bijoux".  In Dictionnaire de la Civilisation Egyptienne.Guy et M.F. Rachet.  Canada: Larousse, 1968
  • "Jewelry".  In Dictionary of Egyptian Civilization.  By Posener, Georges, Serge Sauneron and Jean Yoyotte.  Translated from the French by Alix Macfarlane.  London: Methuen, 1962.
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