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”)

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]

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]

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]

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]

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 Jewel History blog have been treated to her weekly (someti… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Rare Antique Art Deco Egyptian Revival Silver Plate Enamel Galalith NecklaceAntique Art Deco Czech Max Neiger Glass Beads Necklace Egyptian Revival Scarab**antique 14k Yellow Gold Carved Turquoise Scarab Beetle Earrings 9.5 Grams 13mmRare Antique Art Deco Egyptian Revival Carved Black Crystal Czech Glass Bracelet9ct/ 9k Gold Large Black Opal Egyptian Revival Heavy 1920's Art Deco Ring, 375Superb Rare Antique Silver Enamel Pendant Charm King Tut Mummy Egyptian RevivalAntique Vintage Rare Silver Opening Egyptian Sphinx Mummy Fob Charm Pendant RareVtg Art Deco Egyptian Revival Natural Coral & Faience Bead Necklace Bracelet Set7-1/2" Scarab 14k Gold Bloodstone Carnelian Multi-gem Egyptian Revival BraceletGold Plated Egyptian Revival Hard Stone Art Deco Bracelet.Vintage Scarab Bracelet Lot Multi Colored Stones Gold FilledAntique Art Deco Czech Max Neiger Glass Beads Necklace Egyptian Revival UraniumVintage Art Deco Style Czech Green Glass Egyptian Goddess Pendant NecklaceArt Deco Vintage Egyptian Revival Lotus Blossom Fur?dress? Jewellery Clip,Vintage 800 Silver & Enamel Egyptian Revival Nekhbet Vulture Scarab Wing BroochNr Vtg Solid 14k Yellow Gold 16.9g Carved Scarab Bracelet Semiprecious StonesVtg Mma 1977 Egyptian Revival King Tut Gold Tone PendantRare Antique 1920's Egyptian Style Gold Painted Metal Ladies Flapper Head DressVtg 70s Judith Leiber Couture Exotic Egyptian Abstract Symbol Gold Huge NecklaceVintage Art Deco Gold Plate Egyptian Revival Serpent Snake Coil Bracelet BangleVintage Old Bedouin Egyptian Long Chain Tassel Fringe Bell Ornament Necklace3d Vintage 12k Gf Multi Gemstone Teardrop Scarab Tennis Bracelet 9.2gMma Bird Pin Pendant Egyptian (bird) Treasures Of Tutankhamun 1976Egyptian Revival Tut Art Deco Sterling Onyx Screw Back EarringsVintage Czech Egyptian Revival Scarab Glass Bead NecklaceVintage Jewellery Lot Crystal Necklaces Egyptian Revival Bracelet Pins Etc NrRare Look Vintage Sterling Silver Egyptian Mummy Sarcophagus Opens To Mummy ChaVintage Czech Dangle Brooch - Filigree Egyptian God & Aqua Blue Glass DropSigned K.l. 12k Gf Vintage Brooch Pin Carved Scarab Beetle Lapis Onyx M37Vtg 1920’s Hammered Textured Graduated Americ Egyptian Motif Gold Fill NecklaceAmazing Rhinestone Golden Flying Scarab NecklaceTiny Enamelled Locket, Egyptian SceneVintage Scarab Bracelets (2) Gold Filled Signed 1-20 12k Gf 7" Bracelet Egyptian Scarab Beetle Lapis Carnelian Onyx M60Victorian Faience Scarab Beetle Pin Antique Brooch Egyptian Revival EstateSigned 1/20 12k Gf Vtg 7" Bracelet Gold Filled Scarab Beetle Multi Stone M58Beautiful Egyptian Revival Blue & Orange Bead Rhinesotne Palm Tree Necklace1880s Antique Victorian 14k Yellow Gold Egyptian Revival Scarab Hieroglyphs RingVintage Jewelry Lot Gemstone Scarab Bracelet 12k Gf Trifari Avon Glass Earrings+Runway Designer H&m Faux Egyptian Revival Orange Enamel & Faux Pearl Bracelet!Scarab Bracelet Fold Over Clasp 7.5" Length Links Gold ToneAntique Art Nouveau 1920's Egyptian Revival Flapper Necklace Scarabs Max NeigerVintage Scarab Bracelet Gold Filled 7 1/2 X 11/16" 8 Sml Scarabs 8 Pearls H.g.Vintage Egyptian Revival Cuff Bracelet 2 3/8" Diameter Reed & Barton SignedAntique Vintage Estate 10k Yellow Rgp Large Bloodstone Scarab Ring Mcgrath HaminAntique Micro Mosaic Beetle Scarab 800 Silver PinVintage Estate Jewelry 7 Stone Scarab Link 1/20 14kt Gold Filled Bracelet 7.5"Vintage Ethnic Brass Scarab Bird Charm Turquoise Amber Trade Bead Long NecklaceVintage Old Czech Orange Colored Glass Beads Necklace & Egyptian God PendantVintage Scarab Bracelet Gold Filled 6 Different Carved Stones 1/20 12kgf12kt Gf Green Scarab Set Marked W.e. Richards/illuminates/pendant & EarringsSterling Silver Vintage 925 Electroform Egyptian Cross Pendant (41.8g) - 524499Stunning Vtg Estate Multi Color Carved Scarab Egyptian Bracelet Gold Tone H396eRetro Selro Selini Egyptian Revival Persian Rug Turquoise Lucite Clip EarringsAntique 1920's Egyptian Revival Wood Metal Threads Turquoise & Golden TasselVintage Egyptian Paste Scarab BraceletEgyptian Theme Collar Necklace-hansen Designs W/beige & White Stones-estate Find1976 Mma Enamel Egyptian Lotus Pendant Metropolitan Museum Of Art TutankhamenNice Vintage Egyptian Revival Pharaoh Necklace W/light Blue AccentsEgyption Silver Scarab Beatle Pendant