Beaded Cuff Bracelet
This beaded cuff bracelet consists of 24 rows of beads strung together with gold thread that form alternating bands of gold, lapis lazuli and carnelian. These testify to the place of the toilet in the life of the wealthy classes of the ancient Egyptian society. Similarly, both men and women have a strong taste for jewelry, whether it is modest or expensive.
It was usual for jewels placed among the wraps of the mummy to be made specially for the burial, whereas those jewels placed in caskets were ornaments that the deceased had used during earthly life; this distinction is not always easy to make, however, as those jewels worn habitually could also be adapted to funerary use.
Jewelry production during the New Kingdom is attested by several sets of grave goods including that of Queen Ahhotep and the famous treasure of Tutankhamun; the works of gold and silver found in the necropolis of Tanis, on the other hand, are evidence of the technical and artistic skills of the jewelers during the Third Intermediate Period. Temples too held large quantities of precious objects donated as votive offerings, for instance, the finds at Tell Basta (Bubastis) and the jewels from the Roman Period discovered at Dush (known as Kysis).
Jewels had mainly a protective function. Precise magical and symbolic characteristics were attributed to stones and precious metals so that the design and choice however, that reached the highest level of skill was the cutting and setting of semi-precious stones.
The jewelers used very simple tools: a precious metal was melted in a terracotta crucible placed over the brazier and the heat increased by a stream of air blown through a rush reed fitted with a clay tip. The metal was then either poured into molds or hammered into sheets using smoothed stone tools. Sheets of gold were embossed and chased to produce well detailed designs and low reliefs.
Ornaments were made for the various parts of the body for men and women. Both wore diadems, hair-bands, earrings, simple chains with pendants, large collars with strings of beads, pectorals, bracelets, rings, and belts, though anklets were only worn by women.
New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, ca. 1550-1292 BC. Now in the Louvre. N 1959