Ancient Egyptian Symbols Expressed in Jewelry

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Published: 07th January 2011
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With about 6,000 years of recorded history behind it, Egypt has certainly built a rich treasure of culture, practices and beliefs, many of which still have great meaning in modern life. Some of ancient Egyptian symbols, for instance, are still manifested in Egyptian jewelry and art and literary works as well.

The Culture and Gods of an Ancient Race

Going back in time, once can see that Egyptian culture is rich in symbols, talismans, amulets and the like. Hieroglyphs found by archaeologists on walls, for instance, creatively told stories, while talismans unearthed from diggings were used for magical and mystical purposes. Even ancient Egyptian jewelry showed these symbols, pieces that depicted what were once considered as "the word of the Gods."

During the ancient times, Egyptians tried to fathom the world and everything in the universe according to the earth, the sky, the moon, the sun and the stars. As such, they gave different names to celestial beings, among other things, and worshipped them as Gods. For example, Ra was believed to be the Sun God, while Nut was considered the Sky God.

Egyptians also used different symbols to represent their different Gods and drew various artwork or hieroglyphics as a means to spread the word, the teachings or even them magic of these Gods. The ankh, for instance, which appeared in various tomb paintings, means "eternal life," and was worn by ancient Egyptians for protection. Some people even say that the ankh was the basis for the Christian cross.

The Eye of Horus, on the other hand, is said to ward off evil spirits. Horus is one of the oldest and most important gods in Egyptian culture. It is believed that the Eye of Horus pendant was even worn by many Egyptians during the ancient times. With the likeness of a beetle, the Scarab symbol was actually based on the dung beetle common during the ancient times. Egyptians observed beetles rolling balls of dung on the ground (for food and for their eggs) and likened this to the sun being rolled across the sky. They then came to use the symbol to represent rebirth.

Egyptian Symbols in Modern Times

Even though these various Egyptian symbols are centuries old, we can still see them in this day and age. They are used in different art forms—from paintings and creative graffiti to tattoos. Visit any tattoo shop and you'll find that the most common image or drawings shown to customers are those of Egyptian symbols, such as the ankh or the Eye of Horus.

Others, such as the cosmic jewelry designer, David Weitzman, have drawn inspiration from these symbols to create lovely and exquisite pieces of Egyptian jewelry. By using Egyptian symbols in rings, pendants, bracelets and amulets, Weitzman continues the tradition and culture of Ancient Egypt and gives the wearer the same power and magic that were bestowed on these symbols long ago.

The Eye of Horus pendant, for example, features the powerful, swirly eye in a triangular border. Those who want protection and a healthy life can use this beautiful Eye of Horus pendant, not only as a lovely piece of jewelry, but also as a talisman against sickness and malice.

Weitzman's ankh necklace, on the other hand, gives the wearer insight into the secret to the eternity of the soul. With a lotus flower and ankh symbols on different pendants in the Egyptian jewelry necklace, the wearer can contemplate on how the lotus flower submerges and rises in the day, and how the ankh is the key to life.

Ancient tradition shouldn't be lost in the modern world. We can draw a lot of inspiration, learning and realization from culture from the olden days. By transforming these traditions and molding them to fit into the modern world (like Weitzman has done with this Egyptian jewelry), we can show our ideals and our beliefs through many creative ways.

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