Egyptians wore ornamental jewelry pieces as accessories and as magical amulets.
Such jewels were mostly made of gold, silver, and electrum, a natural alloy of gold and silver, and inlaid with multicolored semiprecious stones and glass. The jewelry contained symbols and amulets that would provide the wearer, alive or dead, with protection, prosperity, endurance, and long life.
Within the wrappings of King Tutankhamun's mummy, 143 pieces of jewelry were found. They consist of amulets, chains, collars, necklaces, pendants, earrings and ear ornaments, bracelets and anklets, and finger rings, sheaths for fingers and toes, and pectorals, a large piece of jewelry worn on the chest.
The importance of the jewels is not only in the color of the metal or beads, but also in the originality of the design and manufacturing techniques.
The cloisonne technique was used in pectorals and pendants. The cloisonne technique created outlines of figures and symbols with gold wires that were then soldered to sheets of beaten gold and later inlaid with colored stones or glass.
Filigree, a delicate, lacelike ornamental work of gold or silver wire, was mostly used in buckles and clasps of gold. Granulation was the technique of creating various designs by soldering very tiny gold balls to the surface of gold sheets. The stones used in the inlays were considered to have magical properties based on their color.
Turquoise was mined in Sinai and its blue color symbolized fertility, good luck, and protection against the evil eye.
Lapis lazuli might have been brought to Egypt through trade with Western Asiatic regions. It originated in Afghanistan. Its dark blue color symbolized fertility and good luck.
Carnelian came from the Egyptian deserts. It varies from dark brown to light brown in color and symbolized the warm blood of life. Another kind of carnelian is chalcedony. It is translucent and has a light green color.
Amethyst was mined in the eastern desert near Aswan and in the western desert near Abu Simbel. The shades of violet symbolized happiness and joy.
Feldspar was mined in the eastern desert. Its light blue color symbolized good luck and fertility.
The scarab Khepri was considered the incarnation of the morning sun. A relationship was drawn between the beetle, which rolls its ball of eggs all day, and the evolution of the sun disk across the sky.
The scarab beetle became a sign of good omen and a symbol of fertility and rejuvenation. Scarabs were mostly made from blue stone or faience.