Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Walk Like an Egyptian


There were several periods of Egyptomania throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. With the discovery of King Tutankhamen's tomb in 1922 there was a huge a huge, art deco fueled, ancient Egyptian craze! Films about Cleopatra, snake arm bands, Egyptian beaded dresses and scarab jewelry flooded the scene!

From the time I was in elementary school, years and years ago, I have loved the aesthetics and mysteries of ancient Egypt. I used to draw sarcophagi inspired portraits even...perhaps I was a strange child! Still the fascination has never died away and coupled with my love of all things 20's art deco, Egyptian revival jewelry (and decor, and clothes, and everything else!) remains one of my favorite styles!

I'd love to own this stunning comb for example! You all know my love of celluloid combs, something Egyptian in style would be a dream to find! "Early 20th Century, North American"
"Egyptian Revival Gold, Silver, Faience Scarab and Enamel Bracelet Composed of 5 faience scarabs, within gold frames engraved with a geometric pattern, tipped by enamel fans, spaced by silver and enamel stylized Egyptian figures and animals, all completed by serpent tails, joined by gold circle links, the reverse delicately engraved in a stylized geometric pattern, circa 1920."
"EGYPTIAN REVIVAL Parure Silver Enamel Cornelian Chalcedony German, c.1925"

"Egyptian-Style Jeweled Scarab Belt Buckle, Cartier, Paris, 1926. photo Sotheby's The hinged gold mounting centering a cobalt blue scarab flanked by turquoise faience wings, all studded with small cabochon sapphires, the wings edged by round and baguette diamonds set in platinum and with black enameled ridges."
As I have been working on research for the upcoming Cartier exhibit at the Denver Art Museum, I am struck by how amazing Cartier's Egyptian revival pieces are! They used real ancient Egyptian faience scarabs and amulets; incorporating them into gold and platinum settings with diamonds, gemstones and enamel. They are true dream jewels for me and I can't wait to at least get to see them in November!

Sometimes it is possible to snatch up some original Egyptian revival jewelry for a reasonable price on ebay or etsy and I have been luck twice already! I snatched up two amazing bracelets this year that I cherish as relics (see what I did there?) of the 1920's flair for the ancient exotic! I also bought a beautiful 50s/60's era necklace that was probably inspired by the Liz Taylor era of Egyptian revival later on in the 20th century. I also have tried my hand at making some Egyptian revival style pieces myself which you can see below!

The jewelry I have made myself, a few long 20's style beaded necklaces in "faience blue" and art deco black and gold. Plus a set of three scarab beads I turned into earrings and a necklace. I hope to make some more Egyptian inspired jewelry soon!
Then here are my vintage pieces! The two bracelets I believe might actually be from the 20's but I am new to collecting so I remain unsure, the necklace is definitely mid-century!
The colorful bracelet is what is referred to as a "book chain" and features multi-colored glass Egyptian cameos and the silver bracelet features hearts and pharaohs! 
I hope to keep collecting Egyptian revival pieces and even better to make more myself as I continue my obsession with vintage jewelry and hair combs! I have a problem, but at least it is a pretty problem! If you too share my love of all things Egyptian revival you should check out the other long beaded necklaces I made in the style for sale now in my etsy shop!

4 comments:

  1. I have some of those same scarab beads! In fact... I've had them for over 15 years, without a project in mind. One day the perfect idea will come along.

    Although Egyptian influences are not one of my main interests, I do love some of the revival looks. They are so fun and vibrant and out there. Also, my mum has always been a huge fan of ancient Egypt, so I have developed a healthy admiration for it!

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    1. The beads were a bit difficult to use as the holes drilled in the beads were rather large, making stringing them a bit tricky, because of that it took me a while to find a good arrangement too! hopefully inspiration will strike soon :)

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  2. Bianca ! I love this post. But I really can't understand why the ladies are quite excited over the gold jewelry. Same happens with my wife too. She has also a good collection of jewelry but every time see come across a good set over the internet, I have to struggle with my monthly budget ! Lol . Coming back to your interest on Egyptian Jewelry is outstanding. Definitely worth the investment!
    Egyptian Cartouche Jewelry

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  3. I have some wonderful Egyptian Revival hair combs in my shop SpanishComb on Ruby Lane. Check it out!

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