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    

Antique Vintage Gold Fill Enamel Egyptian Revival Art Nouveau Fob Charm PendantRare Vintage Guglielmo Cini Sterling Silver Scarab Beetle BroochVintage 1920's 1930's Egyptian Revival Tutankhamun Pharaoh Enamel Ring14ct/14k Gold Antique Egyptian Baroque Pearl Large Chandelier Drop Earrings, 585Vintage Mexican Sterling Silver Bead Inlay Turquoise Cleopatra Necklace MexicoVintage Jewellery Fabulous Signed 'swarovski' Egyptian Crystal Scarab BraceletAntique Victorian Brooch Pin Emerald Green Glass Serpent Snake Egyptian W468Vtg Egyptian Revival Pharaoh Mummy Charm Silvertone Dangle Bib 168 Gram NecklaceStunning Art Deco Period Egyptian Revival 800 Silver Gilt Enamel BroochRare Unusual Antique Art Deco Egyptian Revival Galalith Celluloid Bead NecklaceAntique Chinese Export Sterling Silver Enamel Scarab Ring Size 7.25 Blues WrapEstate 18k Gold Cleopatra Necklace 46.7 Grams NrVintage Egyptian Revival .800 Sterling Silver Scarab Necklace, Hallmarked, 35.7gReally Amazing Vintage Genuine Real Art Deco Beetle Scarab Brooch Gold PlateRare Antique Art Deco Egyptian Revival Enamel BraceletUnique Antique Victorian Era Real Scarab Beetle Screwback Earrings **beautiful**Whiting And Davis Mesh Silver Tone 3 Coil Wrap Snake Asp Egyptian Bracelet Rare Antique Egyptian Revival 18 Carat Yellow Gold And Micro Mosaic PendantWide 3/4" Vintage 12k Gold Gf Genuine Carved Stone Egyptian Scarab BraceletUnusual Vintage Egyptian Revival Cleopatra Art Glass Bead NecklaceVintage Solid Silver Beetle Bangle Bracelet Egyptian Markings Heavy 34 GramsDeco Egyptian Revival Sterling Vermeil Filigree Iconic Scarab Pendant Necklace!Wow! Vintage Sterling Silver Hallmarked Egyptian/egypt Cocktail Cz/red Ring 9Vintage Signed Mma 1976 Gold Tone Egyptian Bird Pendant Necklace 24"1920s Egyptian Revival Bib NecklaceVintage Sterling Silver Egyptian Necklace And Bracelet SuiteGorgeous 1920's Art Deco Egyptian Revival Scarab Sterling Silver Ring With WingsVtg Signed Robert Rose Egyptian Revival Lucite Station Tassel Necklace Pink W28Art Deco Egyptian Revival Enamel Sphinx Pyramid Scarab BraceletVintage Egyptian Revival Cleopatra Art Glass Bead Dangle EarringsVintage Antique Egyptian Ethnic Bedouin Silver Nubian Middle East Bracelet Cuff Elizabeth Taylor Phoenix Egyptian Purple Amethyst Ring Size 8 Vintage AvonVintage Egyptian Revival Huge Runway Enamel Pendant NecklaceVintage Jewellery Lovely Egyptian Style Signed 'sarah Coventry' Links NecklaceArt Deco Egyptian Revival Max Neiger Orange Green Glass Beads Scarabs Necklace Kramer Signed Vintage Bracelet And Collar Necklace Set Goldtone Cleopatra Heavy Vintage~trifari~gold Tone~rare~scarab Beetle Pin~w/faux Turquoise & Coral SignedFine Vintage Bedouin Egyptian Heavy Sterling Silver Charm Bracelet 64gVintage Egyptian Revival Scarab Glass Green Milk Bracelet Brooch Lot Set W75Vintage 14k Yellow Gold Egyptian Ankh Life Petite Pendant Or Charm14k Yellow Gold Scarab Beetle Multi Color Jade Leaf Pin Brooch By Harry BickVintage Old Czech Earrings Jewelry Art Nouveau Egyptian Revival Glass Handmade Runway Egyptian Revival Style Early Oscar De La Renta Signed Stunning StatementPrivate Collection~egyptian Revival~style~scarab~sterling~hand Cast~pendantVintage Sterling Art Deco Egyptian Revival Nefertiti Pin Brooch Necklace PendantVintage Egyptian Hieroglyphics Heavy Cast Sterling Silver Long Pendant NecklaceVintage Egyptian Revival Faience Scarab Silver BroochVintage 925 Sterling Silver Egyptian Hieroglyphic Girl Name Lorrie Lorry PendantVintage Craft Egyptian Revival Bib Necklace Faience Brass BeadSigned Jan Michaels Necklace Earring Turquoise Brass Egyptian Revival Scarab Vintage Old Czech Earrings Jewelry Art Nouveau Egyptian Revival Glass HandmadeVintage Scarab Bracelet Natural Stones G.f.Lot 3 Older Vintage Scarab Bracelets 1/20 12k. Gf Jewelry One Engraved "trish" Vintage Egyptian Revival Gold Tone And Rhinestone Chunky Statement RingVintage Necklace Gold Filled Scarab Stone Glass Cabochon's Double Link Marked 12 Karat Art Deco Egyptian Stone Scarab Bracelet 7" LongVintage Egyptian Revival Carved Jade Tiger's Eye Scarab Beetle Dangle EarringsVintage Ornate Gold Tone Faux Cabochon Jewel Egyptian Revival Bracelet 2 Pc LotHeavy, 114g Vintage Rhinestone Bracelet Egyptian Revival ? 8" Broken Clasp 1.75wVintage Blue Lapis Lazuli & Brass Egyptian Styled Dangle Necklace - Estate