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Gemstones of Ancient Egypt

The Ancient Egyptians have long been considered the pioneers of construction, design, and culture dating back thousands of years. Archaeological discoveries are revealing new details about their inventive history, further awe-inspiring historians and aficionados of the past and present alike with their remarkable accomplishments. Even though Ancient Egypt is best known for its Great Pyramids, mummified tombs, pharaohs, Cleopatra, and even as the origin of the 365-day calendar, many people think that its jewellery and gemstones are its most cherished works of art. Jewelry has historically been used for personal adornment, social prestige, and even defence.


The only gem that have given its name to a colour is turquoise. Despite the fact that the gem has been mined in Egypt since at least 6,000 BC, the name "Persian Turquoise" was only given to it in the seventeenth century. One of the stones that the Ancient Egyptians most valued was this one, along with lapis lazuli.

It is incredible that the mines from which the Egyptians obtained their turquoise are still in operation. Gems from these renowned mines in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula were used to embellish the neck jewellery of ancient Pharaohs. It was frequently carved into the form of a scarab beetle and employed as a protective charm, similar to lapis lazuli. Egyptian turquoise is highly sought-after because, in contrast to many other famous deposits, it has a more translucent azure hue.


Many historians believe Egypt is where this green timeless treasure first appeared. In Egypt's Eastern Desert, in the mountain valley of Wadi Sikait, was where the first known emerald mine was discovered. Most mining activities took place between the late first century BC and the sixth century AD, during the Roman and Byzantine eras.


According to many historical texts Cleopatra (69–30 BC) adorned her eyes with powdered lapis lazuli, much as how eye shadow is used now. However, the death mask of Tutankhamun, where it is employed for the eyebrows and eye surrounds, is arguably the most well-known application of lapis lazuli in Ancient Egyptian culture. Along with turquoise, carnelian, and other jewels, several of the jewellery items recovered in his tomb also contained the stone.

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