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]

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    

Beautiful Art Deco 1923 Charles Horner Egyptian Revival Silver & Enamel BroochArt Deco Egyptian Revival Charles Horner Silver Enamel Scarab Brooch Pin 3.6gmsHattie Carnegie Vintage Egyptian & Enamel Scarab Earrings Set ~rare Art Deco Egyptian Revival Czech Green Glass Necklace Signed 1920s StunningVintage Hattie Carnegie Egyptian Revival Scarab Enamel Neckalce & Earrings SetEgyptian Pharaoh Cameo Necklace 14k Yellow Gold Estate Vintage 14 Inch LongAntique 1920s Silver Enamel Sphinx Baby Moses Basket Charm Art Deco Egyptian RevTerrific Vintage Egyptian Themed Costume Charm 7.5" Bracelet With Stone #223Silver Eye Of Horus Ancient Egyptian Stainless Steel Dangle Earrings Hooks NewWonderful Lot Of Antique Scarab, Pearl, Operculum & More StickpinsElizabeth Taylor For Avon Cleopatra Necklace ' Shah Jehan Taj Mahal ' 1993Rare Vintage Neiger Brothers Egyptian Revival Brooch - C 1920 - 1930Vintage Selro Selini Unsigned Egyptian Revival Pharaoh Head Plastic Cufflinks Vintage Egyptian Revival Mma Tut 1976 Hieroglyphic Pendant King Tut Art Deco Egyptian Revival Neiger Flapper Length Glass Bead NecklaceVintage Sterling Silver Coral Scarab Pendant * Free Shipping *Vintage Large Scarab Bracelet, C.1958, 1/20 12k, Original Owner, Excellent Cond.Vtg. Mma Metroploitan Museum Of Art Egyptian Revival Sterling Silver Ring Vintage Art Deco/ Egyptian Revival Style 'lapis Lazuli' & Foil Glass NecklaceVintage Hobe Enameled Egyptian Revival Necklace And Earring Set - RareJ1990 Rare Vintage **miriam Haskell** Book Chain Egyptian Glass Bib NecklaceVintage Necklace Scarab Beetle Pendant Cube Lucite Bead Dangle Gold Tone 3433Original Egyptian 1550-1070 Bc Faience Eye Of Horus Amulet Pendant Museum GradeOriginal Egyptian 1550-1070 Bc Faience Eye Of Horus Amulet Pendant Museum GradeVintage Solid Silver Egyptian Egypt Bullion Ingot Bar And Necklace ChainVintage Gold Filled Egyptian Scarab Bracelet 13 Carved Gemstones Double Chain Vintage Art Deco Egyptian Revival Silver Tone Blue Green Scarab Beetle BraceletSuperb Huge Art Deco Egyptian 800 Silver Revival Bib Necklace W/ Blue GoldstoneHuge Vintage .925 Sterling Silver & Stone Scarab Cuff Bracelet~142.2 GramsVintage Mexican Sterling Silver .925 Egyptian Revival Mexico Bangle BraceletVintage 1950's/60's Holy Grail Warehouse Find Glass Scarab Necklace! Rv 1640Vintage Egyptian Revival Filigree Sterling Silver Bracelet Signed 800Silver Egyptian Pictoral Locket Very UnusualLot Of 6 Ladies Bracelets, 2 Scarab, Monet, Coro, EucVintage Necklace Pendant Scarab Beetle Egyptian Revival Silver Tone Flower 3436Vintage Bracelet Egyptian Revival Molded Glass Scarab Beetle Gold Tone! 201Rare Vtg 1980's Clara (kasvina) Studios Cleopatra Collar Haute Couture NecklaceVintage 1970s Nos Fedra Warehouse Find Egyptian God Revival Necklace! Rv 2581Vtg Unsigned Goldette Egyptian Victorian Revival Bib Necklace Choker & EarringsVintage 1950's/60's Warehouse Find Purple Glass Scarab Bracelet! Rv 1641Antique Victorian Egyptian Revival Real Scarab Beetle Cross PendantVintage Carved Scarab Long Link NecklaceVintage Sterling Silver Scarab Ring-size 6.5 MaximVintage Art Deco Signed Wide Pearl Egyptian Rhinestone Enamel Choker NecklaceNapier Vintage Art Deco Egyptian Revival Gold Plated Bracelet Pendant NecklaceVintage Lot 3 All Trifari Marked Bracelets Bangle Link Chain Crown EgyptianVintage Egyptian Scene Discolored Sterling Silver 925 Charm Pendant (9.5g)Egyptian Revival Victorian Sterling Large Pin W Winged Sphinx Antique NrVintage 1950's/60's Warehouse Find Signed 12k Gf Scarab Necklace! Rv 1631Vintage Sterling Silver Egyptian Cartouche Drop Pendant (5.5g) - 325001Vintage 1950's/60's Warehouse Find Purple Glass Scarab Bracelet! Rv 1642Vintage Sterling Silver Heavy Egyptian Figural Link Bracelet,pyramids, Etc ™Art Deco Czech Bohemian Egyptian Revival Bead NecklaceGorgeous! Green Scarab Cabochon Gold Tone Bracelet Vintage #137aVintage 1950's/60's Warehouse Find Signed Coro Scarab Bracelet! Rv 1645Vintage 1950's/60's Holy Grail Warehouse Find Glass Scarab Bracelet! Rv 1655Fabulous Rare Estate Egyptian Scarab PendantAntique Edwardian Sterling Silver Scarab Bracelet 7 1/2" ScarabsVtg Sterling Silver Cleopatra Necklace RibbedArt Deco Hand Knotted Egyptian Revival Necklace May Be Neiger Beads-cream/brown