What is Egyptian revival jewelry ?

What is Egyptian revival jewelry ?

Egyptian revival jewelry captivates with its rich symbolism, intricate designs, and historical depth. This unique style pays homage to the ancient civilization's artistic achievements, blending them seamlessly into pieces that resonate with modern sensibilities. Whether you're a seasoned collector or a newcomer, understanding Egyptian revival jewelry's essence and origins can transform your collecting journey.

The Origins and History of Egyptian Revival Jewelry

Influence of Ancient Egyptian Motifs

The allure of ancient Egypt, with its gods, pharaohs, and myths, has long influenced ancient Egyptian jewelry design. Egyptian revival jewelry, specifically, draws on these motifs to create pieces that are both decorative and symbolic.

Key Historical Periods of Resurgence

  • Napoleonic Era: The French campaign in Egypt at the end of the 18th century sparked initial interest.
  • Victorian Era: With the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, fascination grew.
  • Art Deco Period: The discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb in 1922 reignited passion for Egyptian aesthetics, culminating in the Art Deco movement's embrace of Egyptian motifs.

The Discovery of Tutankhamun's Tomb

The 1922 discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb by Howard Carter introduced the world to Egyptian art's splendor, significantly influencing jewelry design and contributing to the Egyptian revival movement's popularity.

Characteristics of Egyptian Revival Jewelry

Common Motifs

Scarabs, pharaohs, pyramids, and hieroglyphs are emblematic of Egyptian revival jewelry, each symbolizing aspects of ancient Egyptian culture and beliefs.

Popular Materials

Gold, reflective of the sun god Ra, alongside lapis lazuli, turquoise, and carnelian, were favored for their beauty and symbolic meanings.

Design Elements

Egyptian revival jewelry is known for its symmetry, collar necklaces, and vibrant use of color, reflecting ancient Egyptians' aesthetic preferences.

How to Begin Collecting Vintage Egyptian Revival Jewelry

Identifying Authentic Pieces

Understanding hallmarks and craftsmanship is crucial in identifying authentic Egyptian revival jewelry. Look for signs of period-appropriate manufacturing techniques and materials.

Where to Find

Antique stores, online auctions, and specialized dealers are prime sources for vintage Egyptian revival jewelry. Networking with other collectors can also uncover hidden gems.

Assessing Value

Consider the rarity, condition, and historical significance of a piece to assess its value. Provenance can greatly increase a piece's worth and desirability.

How to Date Egyptian Revival Jewelry

Stylistic Periods and Their Characteristics

Recognizing the stylistic differences between pieces from the Napoleonic Era, Victorian Era, and Art Deco period can help date them accurately.

Hallmarks and Maker's Marks

Familiarizing yourself with hallmarks and maker's marks of the period is essential for dating jewelry accurately. These marks can provide insights into the piece's origin and age.

The Role of Provenance and Documentation

Provenance and documentation are invaluable in dating Egyptian revival jewelry, offering concrete evidence of a piece's history and authenticity.

Caring for Egyptian Revival Jewelry

Proper Cleaning Techniques

Gentle cleaning methods are recommended to preserve the jewelry's integrity and appearance without causing damage.

Storage Tips

Proper storage is key to preserving Egyptian revival jewelry. Avoid exposure to extreme temperatures, humidity, and direct sunlight.

Professional Restoration

For significant restoration needs, seeking professional services is advisable to maintain the piece's value and aesthetics.


Egyptian revival jewelry offers a fascinating glimpse into the past, merging ancient motifs with timeless design. As you delve into this collecting area, remember that each piece is not just an accessory but a testament to human creativity and history's enduring influence.


  1. What makes Egyptian revival jewelry unique compared to other antique styles? Egyptian revival jewelry stands out for its historical significance, rich symbolism, and distinctive motifs that draw directly from ancient Egyptian culture.

  2. How can I tell if a piece of Egyptian revival jewelry is authentic? Authenticity can be gauged through hallmarks, craftsmanship, materials used, and, when available, provenance.

  3. What are some of the most sought-after pieces in Egyptian revival jewelry collections? Pieces that directly reflect significant historical discoveries, such as those inspired by the finding of Tutankhamun's tomb, are highly prized.

  4. How does the condition of a piece affect its value in the market? Condition plays a crucial role in valuation; well-preserved pieces fetch higher prices, though rare items in less-than-ideal condition are still valuable.

  5. Can modern jewelry be considered part of the Egyptian revival style? Modern jewelry that incorporates key Egyptian motifs and design principles can be considered part of the Egyptian revival style.

  6. How important is provenance in valuing Egyptian revival jewelry? Provenance can significantly enhance a piece's value, providing a documented history that adds to its authenticity and appeal.

  7. What are some common pitfalls to avoid when starting a collection? Avoiding common pitfalls involves educating oneself about the era, recognizing reproductions, and understanding the importance of condition and authenticity.

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