Jewelry from Antiquity – Israel Museum in Jerusalem

Last month my husband and I went on a pilgrimage to Israel with two area churches in Atlanta: Cathedral of Christ the King and St. Jude’s The Apostle. Christ the King was my husband’s parish growing up, as well as our parish when we were first married. St. Jude’s is my husband’s twin brother’s parish. All four children in his family went to Christ the King School in elementary grades. My Mother-in-law still attends Christ the King, where there have been many family marriages, babtisms, and funerals, so it is very dear to our hearts.

I love ancient jewelry and thought it would be fun to share some of my photos from their fabulous collection starting at 17th Century BC.

My first picture is of a gold signet ring inscribed with hieroglyphics from Egypt’s 18th Dynasty of the 14th century BC.

The ring reads: “Aten, dwelling on the horizon, lord of Joy”. Aten was the sun god of ancient Egypt. I love to look at artifacts from Egypt. My Mother wanted to be an archaeologist, but my grandparents feared for her safety as she was a beautiful blond with cascading hair, and they were terrified that she would be kidnapped in that uncertain world of the 1940’s. So she always had books on Egypt, especially about King Tutankhamen, the boy king. Anyway, I digress….

The second picture is of an earring with a stylized head of a cow, made of gold and glass beads. This earring is from Achaemenid, Persia, now known as Iran, from the 5th – 4th century BC. The delicate twisted wire of the earring is so well crafted, as is the detailed ram’s head.


This collection of gold earrings comes from various sites in the ancient world from the 17th – 13th century BC. What is remarkable about this photo is that there are seven complete pairs of earrings and only 3 single earrings – truly wonderful!!


This small grouping of gold  and decorative faience beads is fascinating. I love the detailed work. My imagination is already designing a necklace with these gold beads, using tube lapis and jasper beads. My Mother collected ancient Egyptian jewelry, so I was hooked as a jewelry lover at a very early age.


This grouping of artifacts contains many interesting pieces to examine. All of these are from Ancient Egypt, but no time line was listed in this grouping. There are three gold pieces: 1. is top left, most likely an earring; 2. is a representation of a pharaoh; 3. is a gold and lapis scarab pendant. It is quite similar to a pendant that was sold in my Estate Jewelry area this past year.

The bottom right has two carved frogs of carnelian (orange) and turquoise. In the center bottom of the photo is a turquoise Nike in the shape of a scarab (beetle) with wings spread as if to take flight. Above that is a turquoise Eye of Horus.

Christmas 1982 my Father gave each of the females in the family a lovely large gold Eye of Horus Amulet on a gold neck ring from the Metropolitan Museum in New York. This particular amulet was from Wasi Gabbanet el Cirud, Thebes. It is of Egyptian origin, from the XVIII dynasty, about 1460 BC. It was the personal property of one of three Syrian wives of Tutmosis III. It is one of a pair perhaps made for burial. I still wear it proudly today and it has become more special to me since my father passed away October 12th, 2017.


The next photo has many different objects to view. The top of the photo shows flower-shaped decorative gold accents. The center has a single gold ring comprised of gold beads. Below that is a group of buttons, all found in Dan and Holon from the 14th – 13th century BC. The semi-circle is comprised of gold pendants found in Megiddo, Lachish, Tell el-Ajjul, and other unprovenanced locations, dating from the 16th-13th century BC. What a great charm bracelet all of the pendants would make!!!


This photo is of a group of rings composed of gold, jasper and other intaglio pieces. Several of the rings have scarabs carved out of stone or gold. Just yummy.


Now here is a 4 strand necklace worthy of a queen! The 4 strands are composed of faience bead, stone carvings, silver plaques, gold, and semiprecious beads. The strands are connected by pottery stylized lotus ends. Just beautiful!


The next photo has three carnelian and gold draped necklaces. These could be worn in our contemporary world. The stylized floral drops on the top necklace are so delicate dropped from tiny carnelian beads. The center necklace is composed of carnelian carved bottle-shaped drops (that look like tiny Coke bottles) alternating with carnelian roundels. The bottom necklace is a delicately draped wonder. Do I see some inspiration for the spring collection?


The following photo is described as a hoard of silver ingots, found in En Gedi, dated from the 8th-7th century BC. Both grouping are composed of not only ingots but small jewelry components.


Here are 3 recreated bead strands composed of glass, silver, faience (pottery), and semi-precious stones found in Achzib, dated from the 8th-6th centuries BC.


This close-up photo has two strands of beads composed of faience, glass, and stone beads. Not all necklaces had metal beads in them.


These next two photos have incredible items that reveal the minute detail that can be found in ancient jewelry. This photo shows an intricate gold earring with delicate drops, found in the Black Sea region, probably from Trebizond, in the later 4th century BC. The detail work, called granulation, is still in use in fine handmade jewelry today. The process was lost and then a way to recreate granulation was discovered in 1932.


The next photo is a gold flying Nike earring, from Northern Greece, dated the late 4th century BC.


This unusual group of gold jewelry  has carved African heads, dating from 3rd-2nd century BC. They are composed of gold, carnelian, and unidentified black stone carvings.


Here are two necklaces that exhibit wealth and personal fortunes. These necklaces could be worn by men as well as women. The delicate leaf patterned necklace (left) has a central pendant. The necklace on the right has a central gold anchor strip with graduated and finely detailed drops.


So have I wet your appetite for some gold jewelry using granulated beads as accents?

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