The ancient Egyptians were mad about bling so it is not surprising that we have a vast collection of ancient jewellery at the Garstang Museum of Archaeology .
In Ancient Egypt, women and men wore jewellery as a mark of status and beauty during life and death. The ancient Egyptians desired to ‘go out in style’, much of the ancient Egyptian jewellery that survives today was found in tombs.
A stunning array of colours and materials were chosen specifically for their aesthetic qualities and symbolism. Precious stones such as lapis lazuli, carnelian, turquoise, amethyst and amber were especially prestigious, while cheaper jewellery was made in faience. Silver and gold were also admired. Silver was particularly rare in Egypt, and often more desirable than gold.
Although jewellery was mainly used to ‘show off’, the Ancient Egyptians did weave protective amulets into necklaces, mummy nets and other ornaments. These would have offered the wearer some divine protection in life and death.
In more recent times, at early 20th century excavations, women were not encouraged to dig. Instead ladies would spend time performing administrative tasks, such as labelling and cataloguing finds, as well as reconstructing ancient jewellery. Marie Garstang, who was married to our very own John, spent hours piecing together strings of beads, and many of the pieces we have on display at the museum are the result of her imaginative work.
Find out more at the Garstang Museum of Archaeology, open every Wednesday 10am – 4pm.
Discover more about death in Ancient Egypt at the Book of the Dead exhibition, open until the 13th September 2017.
Natasha Whittaker & Bethany Dale