‘Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh’ opened at the Saatchi gallery on the 2nd November. This exhibition shows off over 150 items that were discovered in Tutankhamun’s tomb when it was found in 1922 by British archaeologist Howard Carter. With looting unfortunately common with such archaeological discoveries, Tutankhamun’s tomb proved a rare exception, as the tomb was found largely intact.
Amongst the many objects on display are pieces of jewellery and accessories that the Pharaoh would have worn and used during his lifetime. From ceremonial shields to decorative pectoral pieces, with the majority crafted in gold, Tutankhamun’s tomb was a veritable treasure trove.
For the ancient Egyptians, jewellery was an important part of their culture, with even the lowest classes wearing pieces made out of copper, beads and imitation gemstones. Necklaces and collars were worn by the wealthiest of Egyptians and the upper classes and they were often given these as gifts from the Pharaoh to his loyal subjects.
The scarab beetle was a popular motif in ancient Egyptian jewellery as they believed it symbolised eternal life. They were often created in faience and were drilled through the middle to incorporate them in signet rings and also to be strung on a thread.
Faience was widely used in ancient Egyptian crafts, such as jewellery. Made up of a variety of materials, its bright blue hue was symbolic of rebirth and the sun. It was a popular material, perhaps used as an alternative to turquoise, and was as highly prized as gold and gemstones.
The ancient Egyptian style is so unique that it comes as no surprise that in the many millennia after these pieces were first created, an Egyptian revival movement began. These pieces can be seen dating back to the 19th century, but it was only after the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb that this aesthetic saw a global boom. Jewellery houses such as Cartier led the way with an assortment of jewels and accessories that brought Egyptian colours and motifs to a new audience. In particular the use of the winged scarab is perhaps the most recognisable image to come out of this revival.
If you would like to own your own unique piece of treasure from a bygone era, here at Berganza we have a collection of both ancient Egyptian and Egyptian revival pieces, which are available to view both online and in our Hatton Garden showroom.
Our extensive collection of ancient, early, antique and vintage jewellery can be viewed online or in store. Found the piece of your dreams? Don’t let it get away – secure it with a 20% deposit, the balance payable within 6 months.