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    

Genuine 1920's Silver Gilt & Enamel Egyptian Revival Mummy Sarcophagus Charm FobV Rare Art Deco Antique Max Neiger Egyptian Revival Enamel Czech Drop Necklace Antique 1920s Silver Enamel Egyptian Revival Sarcophagus Mummy Charm Art DecoVintage Hattie Carnegie Egyptian Revival Neclace, Bracelet And Earrings SetVintage Elizabeth Taylor Avon Egyptian Clip On EarringsAntique Russian Egyptian Revival Silver Enamel With Baby Moses Charm Or PendantEstate Multicolored Scarab Stone 14k Gold Bracelet 16.2 Grams NrPretty Art Deco Enamel & 14k Gold Egyptian Revival Lotus CharmVintage Signed Alpaca Jewellery Turquoise Silver Necklace Deco Egyptian RevivalVintage Hobe Enameled Egyptian Revival Necklace And Earring Set - RareVintage Art Deco To 1950s Egyptian Revival Gilt/ G.p. Coiled Snake RingAntique Egyptian Revival Micro Beaded Purse Hand Bag Swans Grape Vines & StonesBig Signed Egyptian 6 Natural Amber 925 Silver Domed Ornate Link Bracelet NrBig Vintage Lot Clasp Bracelets Scarab Cabachons Chunky Chains Pearls Napier Vintage Egyptian Revival Czech Necklace Fabulous Interesting PieceVtg 18k Yellow Gold Egyptian Pendant Goddess Nefertiti Etched Charm 1" Long Exc!Stunning Vintage Gold Tone Signed Mma 1978 Blue Beaded Egyptian Necklace!! 4296sGoldette Unsigned Egyptian Revival Brass Mesh Amber Glass Choker Necklace Nice!!Evocative 1920s Egyptian Revival Scarab NecklaceVintage Gold Silver Tone Porcelain Abalone Glass Scarab Thermoset Bracelet Lot Original Egyptian 1550-1070 Bc Flower & Heart Amulet Pendants Museum Grade Egyptian Revival 14k Rose Gold 9 Carat Blue Topaz Diamond Cocktail Ring 12.8 GrmFranklin Mint "jewel Of The Nile" Enameled Scarab Egyptian Necklace 22k Gp NwotMma Textured Egyptian Woman Head Gold-washed Sterling Silver Pin / BroochKenneth J Lane Kjl Chunky Gold Egyptian Hinged Cuff Bangle White Scarab BraceletVintage Scarab Beetle Egyptian Revival Stone Carved Cabochon Bracelet 12k GfVintage Art Deco Egyptian Revival Jewellery Scarab Beetle Soapstone NecklaceElizabeth Taylor Cleopatra Cuff Bracelet By AvonSterling Silver - Egypt Egyptian Cartouche Link 20g - Bracelet (8") Mens Ge6201Authentic Vintage Egyptian Revival Silver Scarab Beetle BraceletVintage Trifari Gold Tone Egyptian Revival Phoenix Thunderbird Enamel PendantMarked "sterling 925" Bracelet 7 Caramel Colored Scarab Stones-- From Israel Signed 925 Vintage Sterling Silver Necklace Pendant Ankh Egyptian Revival! 6139Vintage Art Deco Style Egyptian Revival Large Phoenix Bird Rhinestone Brooch PinEgyptian Revival Huge Carved Molded Lucite Scarab Beetle Iconic Brooch Pendant!!Mma Wag Metropolitan Museum Of Art Egyptian Revival Carved Scarab Clip EarringsSilver Eye Of Horus Ancient Egyptian Pendant Womens Mens Black Leather Necklace14k Solid Gold + Natural Gemstone Egyptian Revival Scarab Bracelet 7" SizeLot Of Vintage Masonic Egyptian Gold RingsVintage Art Deco Sterling Silver Egyptian Revival Ornate Repousse Mummy PendantVintage Gold Tone Egyptian Revival Runway Statement NecklaceVintage Large Plastic Scarab Beetle Insect Bug Brooch Pin 5.5cm (2 1/8") LongStunning Vintage Symmetalic Sterling & 14k Gf Carnelian Scarab Bracelet!! 4289oSigned Amco 1/20 12k Gf Gold Filled Vintage Brooch Pin Scarab Wreath 1005Silver Egypt Eye Of Horus Egyptian Pendant Mens Womens Black Leather NecklaceSterling Silver 925 Vintage Style Necklace Egyptian Revival Pharaoh Pendant 3386Carved 6 Gemstone Scarab & Marcasite Sterling Silver Bracelet Jewelry 22.7 GramsEarly Vintage Gold Filled Scarab Bracelet Genuine StonesVtg Semi-precious Onyx, Tiger Eye, Jade?, Quartz Scarab Stone Bracelet-7"-euc!Stunning Vintage Estate Gold Tone Scarab Cabochon Faux Pearl Bracelet!!! 6294zVintage Estate Highly Detailed Sterling Silver Egyptian Motif Necklace Pendant!Vintage Estate Gold Tone Signed Tipicol Dpe Aztec Egyptian Style Brooch! 6299bSilver Stainless Steel Udjat Egypt Eye Of Horus Ra Egyptian Earrings Jewelry NewVintage 1920s Art Deco Egyptian Pharaoh Profile Sterling Silver Enamel Pin Vintage Signed 1/20 12k Gold Filled 7 Scarab Link 7.25" Bracelet - Multi ColorLarge Antique Sterling Silver Egyptian Brooch Z128Beautiful Vintage 925 Sterling Silver Pendant Egyptian Revival 5.2g Dp6Vintage Egyptian Revival Gold Yellow Turquoise BraceletVintage Style Necklace Blue Glass Scarab Beetle Pendant Gold Tone Egyptian 3199Vintage Sterling Silver (?) Egyptian Cartouche Style Watch Fob(?)