Ancient Egyptian Jewellery and Make-up

Jewellery was popular in Ancient Egypt and was worn by both men and women. Even young children wore a vast array of jewellery.

The most popular item was the wide neck collar, but Egyptians also wore earrings, amulets, bracelets, armlets, rings and anklets.

They also made elaborate belts and decorated wigs with beads.

Jewellery for the wealthy was made mainly from gold and occasionally silver. Many precious stones were used including turquoise, garnet, emeralds, carnelian, obsidian, pearls and lapiz lazuli.

The poorer people made their jewellery from bone, wood, shells, copper and coloured pottery beads.

Jewellery was often made with religious purposes. Amulets were worn in the shape of gods, animals and magic symbols and were believed to protect or empower the wearer.

Jewellery was also worn in death and specific pieces were made for funeral purposes. Ancient Egyptians were very religious and believed amulets would help a person enter the afterlife.

Amulets for the dead were called ‘Four Sons of Horus’.

Make-up was worn by both men and women, not just for beauty, but also for religious and practical purposes.

Green eye paint was worn along with black kohl under the eyes. Eye make-up had a practical use as it protected the eyes from the glare of the sun, as sunglasses protect us today.

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Women also used dye from the henna plant to paint their nails and dye their hair, and they coloured their cheeks and lips with a red dye produced from burnt or dried coloured clay.

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