You might think the intrigue surrounding the ill-fated Cleopatra, last queen of the ancient Egyptians, first inspired the trend for exotic jewelry styled like Ankhs and scarabs. In fact, the interest in Egyptian motifs wasn’t widespread until the late 1700s, when Napoleon’s military campaign in Northern Africa helped to popularize fine jewelry featuring the exotic aesthetic. The British fell for Egyptian styling after the 1798 Battle of the Nile, and soon wealthy women all across Europe were wearing Egyptian-inspired jeweled brooches, headbands, and flower-shaped pins in their hair.

The demand for Egyptian designs boomed again during the 1920s, after the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922 spread Egyptian imagery throughout the western world. Newsreel footage of archaeological digs and Hollywood depictions of the gilded Egyptian empire sealed the deal: Egyptian style was red hot.

Not only was Egyptian jewelry linked to ancient opulence, it also held the allure of a legendary culture and its mysterious symbols. Often Egyptian revival designs were pulled directly from Egyptian amulets worn for good luck—the Udjat, or eye of Horus, was a common motif, symbolizing healing and protection; scarabs and lotus flowers represented rebirth and resurrection; and the Ankh was a symbol of eternal life.

Produced by major fashion-jewelry firms like the Napier Company in New York, Egyptian revival jewelry was typically made from flashy golden forms featuring carved hieroglyphics, pharaoh’s heads, sphinxes, and even mummies. Bigger was always better, especially for exotic pieces like headbands with dangling forehead pendants, oversized bib necklaces, or heavy chain-link “slave” bracelets.

Costume jewelers such as Whiting & Davis, Lisner, and Monet quickly produced revival pieces of their own, using enamel inlays in the plique à jour style to showcase animals like falcons, jackals, scarab beetles, and cobra snakes. Other emblems of the desert, from pyramids to palm trees, adorned long necklaces and fringed earrings inlaid with semi-precious stones or rhinestones. Since the '20s, the Egyptian revival trend has returned every few decades. Some of the most ornate pieces were made by Joseff of Hollywood for the 1963 epic “Cleopatra,” starring Elizabeth Taylor.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Researching Costume Jewelry

Researching Costume Jewelry

Jewelry lovers, venture through this amazing database of vintage jewelry articles, catalogs, and brochures, as well… [read review or visit site]

All About Jewels Dictionary

All About Jewels Dictionary

This incredible reference dictionary on jewelry, from Enchantedlearning.com, is both beautiful and comprehensive. S… [read review or visit site]

Emerald City Vintage Costume Jewelry

Emerald City Vintage Costume Jewelry

It looks like we're not in Kansas anymore with Elizabeth Rowlands' site on vintage costume jewelry from the 1940s a… [read review or visit site]

Morning Glory Antiques and Jewelry

Morning Glory Antiques and Jewelry

Jewelry collectors, feast your eyes on this internet gem! It's a goldmine of jewelry information featuring all styl… [read review or visit site]

Cathy Gordon's Jewelry Gallery

Cathy Gordon's Jewelry Gallery

With its vast galleries featuring clear images of jewelry and style, this site really covers it all! Divided up by … [read review or visit site]

Jewel History

Jewel History

Since March of 2007, readers of Lori Ettlinger Gross’s JewelHistory blog have been treated to her weekly (sometim… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Original Art Nouveau Silver & Enamel Egyptian Revival Scarab Beetle NecklaceCharles Horner Sterling Silver And Enamel Art Nouveau Scarab PendantVtg 1930's Art Deco Egyptian Revival Mesh Snake NecklaceMassive Sterling Silver Egyptian Goddess & Eye Of Horus Cuff BraceletVtg D&e Juliana Green Rhinestone Bib Necklace Earrings Set Cleopatra Choker MintStylish Genuine Art Deco Vintage Egyptian Revival Scarab Bakelite Buckle 1920'sVtg Egyptian Revival Necklace Pendant Enamel Carved Lucite Scarabs Large SnakesStunning Vintage Czech Deco Carved Egyptian Revival Flapper Necklace Us241Art Deco, Egyptian Revival Amphora Urn Shaped Ladies Enamel Pendant Watch Nr Rare Deco Antique Egyptian Sterling Silver Filigree Bracelet Estate Sphinx Cool Unusual Vintage Egyptian Revival Silver Gilt BraceletVintage Art Deco Egyptian Revival Pharoh EarringsRare Vtg 1950's Deco Egyptian Revival Scarab Charm Bracelet! Cat Mummy~sphinx!Rare 1930s Czechoslovakian Czech Glass Egyptian Revival Necklace Superb ExampleSilver Scarab Onyx Pendant With Gold StunningArt Deco Vintage Egyptian Revival French Silver Pharaoh Fob Seal Pendant Chain~rare~ Antique Art Deco 1920's Egyptian Revival Max Neiger 3d ~earrings~Vintage Givenchy Brushed Matte Gold Egyptian Revival Runway Statement NecklaceVintage Art Deco Egyptian Revival 800 Silver Sarcophagus Pencil Pendant Or CharmGorgeous Vintage Art Deco Bm Co Gf Carved Egyptian Scarab Pearl Bracelet Dw196Finest Antique Silver Filigree Egyptian Scene Panel Bracelet With Peg ClaspStunning Vintage 20s Max Neiger Czech Deco Egyptian Revival Glass Earrings An164Original Egyptian 1550-1070 Bc Faience Amulet Pendant Premium Museum Grade *rare* Karu Fifth Avenue Unique Egyptian Revival Bookchain Necklace Scenes 1940s Estate Scarab Tri-stone Jade Carnelian Onyx 14k Yellow Gold Ring Size 7Original Egyptian 1550-1070 Bc Faience Eye Of Horus Amulet Pendant Museum GradeNib Orvis Costume Scarab Bracelet #228Estate 1/20 12k Gf Genuine Multi Gemstone Egyptian Scarab Beetle Bracelet NrScarab Serpent Stickpin 10k Yellow Gold Carved Jasper Egyptian Revival VictorianStunning Rare Max Neiger Czech Egyptian Revival Uranium Elephant Turban Beads Signed Alice Caviness Blue Rhinestone Scarab Beetle Antique 1 5/8" Vtg BroochVintage Egyptian Revival Sarcophagus Silver Charm/pendantRare Find, Vintage 18k Gold Egyptian Scarab Pendant, No Reserve!Vintage Sterling Silver - Egyptian Ankh Cross 4.2g - Pendant Gn791Vintage Sterling Silver - Italy Egyptian Neferititi 3.1g - Charm Pendant Gc073Vintage Sterling Silver - Egyptian Eye Of Horus 3.7g - Charm Pendant Hc068Vtg Art Deco Egyptian Revival Blue Carved Scarab Festoon Bib Statement NecklaceEstate Antique Cow Bone Fold Manicuring Set France Vtg Egyptian Bone Brooch LotBeautiful Art Deco Egyptian Revival Sterling Necklace With Marcasite Onyx WowVintage Sterling Silver - Egyptian Ankh Cross 5.5g - Pendant Gd920Vintage Sterling Silver - Egyptian Ankh Cross Band 2.7g - Ring (8) Gk371Vintage Signed Sphinx Gold-tone Egyptian Revival Blue Enamel Bird Pin Brooch14k Gold Filled Heart Shaped Van Dell Scarab Bracelet 7 1/2" BeautifulVintage Sterling Silver - Egyptian Scarab Beetle 10.4g - Bracelet (7") Gp718Gold Filled Vintage Scarab Bracelet Carved Beetle Tiger Eye Carnelian Lapis 1195Vtg Monet Necklace Gold Toned Egyptian Revival Great Condition!Signed Avon Sp Chrome Silver Finish .75" Wide 'cleopatra' Style 17" Vtg NecklaceAntique 14k Gold Egyptian Scarab Faience Stick PinVintage Sterling Silver - Onyx Jasper Scarab Beetles 8.5g - Bracelet (6") Gp731Vintage 14kt Yellow Gold Carved Scarab Multi-gemstone Bracelet. NrLot Of 8 Vintage Antique Rhinestone Brooches ~ Scarab & Floral Brooch PinsVintage Choker Scarab Necklace Gold Tone Links JewelryFine Egyptian Revival Bone Scarab 14ct Gold Pendant And ChainVintage Large Runway Ornate Egyptian Revival Gold Pendant NecklaceVintage Art Deco Egyptian Revival Brass Enamel Snake Coil Wrap Bangle BraceletVintage Art Nouveau Style Enamel Scarab Beetle Brooch B38Vintage Sterling Silver - Egyptian Cartouche 3.7g - Pendant Gb380Vintage Heavy Patina Egyptian Cartouche Link Sterling Silver 925 Bracelet 7.75inRare Vintage Danecraft Sterling Pressed Glass Large Scarab Bracelet And EarringsVintage Egyptian Revival Ethnic Turquoise Scarab Wide Fringe Bib Collar Necklace