Jewelry Today and in Ancient Egypt

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I would like to think that I know a little bit about jewelry, seeing as I just got engaged a few weeks ago. I know that it runs the gamut from small subdued pieces to garish pieces. When shopping for a ring I was able to see many different types of jewelry the modern world has to offer, although I concentrated on diamond jewelry and more specifically rings. I will talk first about different ways that ancient Egyptians adorned themselves and then I will move on to the modern era and finally sum it up with the differences and similarities that I see.

Even though I started off talking about jewelry there were many ways that Egyptians adorned themselves. Egyptians used jewelry, makeup, and tattoos. We know this because the Egyptians documented many of their ways and also have relics (mummies and tombs that have survived) that let us see how they actually did adorn themselves. I will first start off discussing jewelry.

All Egyptians strove for jewelry. “Jewelry was so important that not only pharaohs but all Egyptians were buried with some kind of jewelry -- even if it was just brass and glass.” (Hinckley) Just like in today’s society Egyptians had many different types of jewelry, rings, earrings, bracelets, and necklaces. Again similar to modern society these were used to show the status and wealth of the person wearing it. Jewelry also had religious significance. Because of this many of the designs had specific rules so that it did not affect the protective value of the item. Some jewelry was very ornate and some ideas have stood the test of time and are still being used in jewelry. In addition to the design the material choice and color choice had religious meaning and significance. An ancient Egyptian designer did not have free r...

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...lace significance on jewelry the purpose for most jewelry is for aesthetics. Wealth and power is in there as well, but people buy it to look good not to ward off evil spirits. Makeup has also shifted squarely in the secular column instead of medical and religious reasons. Tattoos today are for “expressing one’s self” and not to protect an expectant mother in pregnancy.

In summation we see that in today’s society we have dropped a lot of the religious significance to jewelry and now use for decorating and making one ’s self unique. There is still a religious aspect to some things, crosses being the most known example and also one that can be argued hasn’t changed that much since ancient Egypt, but the idea of needing the jewelry for the afterlife has faded away. I think this reflects the fact that today’s society is very secular and religion in general is declining.

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