Scarabs were highly significant in ancient Egypt and held great cultural and religious importance. They were amulets in the shape of beetles, specifically the dung beetle, and were associated with the sun god Re and the concept of rebirth. Scarabs were often inscribed with hieroglyphs or designs and were commonly used as seals, jewelry, or funerary items. They were believed to possess protective and magical properties, and their use extended from the Early Dynastic Period to the Ptolemaic Period. Scarabs played a crucial role in Egyptian mythology and were considered symbols of transformation and eternal life.

Wooden mummy mask of a woman with scarab

Wooden mummy mask of a woman with scarab

Fragment of coffin or board with face, part of headdress. Female coffin, probably. Gessoed surface intact and painted. Scarab beetle above forehead on painted feathered headdress. Purchased by J. Hirshhorn by the Delacorte Gallery, New York, in 1959.

Amethyst scarab inscribed with hieroglyphs. The Louvre. E 25729

Amethyst scarab inscribed with hieroglyphs

This vibrant purple amethyst scarab beetle is said to be found in Tomb IV at Jebail in Lebanon, according to Montet 1928. However, it is impossible to establish the exact provenance of this beetle (cf. Martin 1996). The scarab is beautifully inscribed on its back with name ‘Impy’ and hieroglyphic signs including ka sign, nefer and lotus sign.

Ancient Egyptian turquoise faience (mounted on swivel bezel in modern gold ring)

Gold Scarab Ring

Ancient Egyptian turquoise faience scarab (mounted on swivel bezel in modern gold ring). From the end of the third millennium B.C., the scarab beetle served as an amulet in Egypt where it represented the sun god. The scarab integrated into a gold ring appears in the fourth century B.C. The articulation of the insect and...

golden scarab dates from approximately 1980–1801 B.C., during the Middle Kingdom period of Ancient Egypt

Middle Kingdom Scarab

This golden scarab dates from approximately 1980–1801 B.C., during the Middle Kingdom period of Ancient Egypt. It was purchased from Mohammed Mohasseb and Son, in Luxor, by Lucy Olcott Perkins through Henry W. Kent and now resides at the Cleveland Museum of Art. It is 1.1 cm and weighs 1.6 g (0.06 oz.). The scarab...

Heart Scarab of Hatnefer

Heart Scarab of Hatnefer

The heart scarab of Hatnefer is an exceptionally fine example of this type of funerary equipment and is comparable to those made for contemporary royalty. Every feature of the scarab beetle is carefully rendered. The exquisite chain is made of gold wire, plaited in a quadruple-link pattern. The scarab’s base is engraved with a version...

Humanoid Heart Scarab

Humanoid Heart Scarab Amulet

The so-called “heart scarabs” had to protect the heart of the deceased. According to ancient Egyptians, the heart contained the intellect and emotions. For this reason, it should have been preserved in the Afterlife as well. Heart scarabs were very popular amulets. Positioned on the chest of the mummy, they usually take the shape of...

Brooch of Ancient Scarab in a Modern Winged Mount

Brooch of Ancient Egyptian Scarab in a Modern Winged Mount

Brooch featuring an ancient scarab in a modern winged mount, scarab is ancient Egyptian, (scarab). New Kingdom, ca. 1539-1077 BC; (gold mount) early 1900s, glazed steatite and gold (modern), Mrs. Kingsmill Marrs Collection, Worcester Art Museum, 1926.86 One of the most popular motifs among revivalist jewelers was the scarab. These small beetles were powerful amulets...

Scarab Ring

Ancient Egyptian Scarab Ring

“This brilliant blue scarab is carved out of lapis lazuli. Scarabs first become incorporated into finger rings in the Middle Kingdom (1980-1630 BC).” (Jennifer Wegner, label text, “Sacred Adornment: Jewelry as Belief in Ancient Egypt”) The Egyptians used amulets shaped like scarab beetles as seals, piercing the scarab longitudinally to allow it to be strung...

Uninscribed Heart Scarab

Uninscribed Heart Scarab

Although this example is uninscribed, its size and style identify it as a “heart” scarab, meant to be placed within the wrappings of the mummy. Many such scarabs bear the text of Chapter 30B of the Book of the Dead, in which the owner asks his or her heart not to testify against them at...

Tutankhamun Scarab Necklace

Tutankhamun Scarab Necklace

Gold inlay necklace and pendant with scarab from the Tomb of Tutankhamun. A flexible pectoral with suspension chains and counterpoise clasp. This necklace with pectoral of the rising sun on the horizon is one of the finest of the many pectorals found in king Tut’s treasures. It has a large lapis lazuli scarab in the...