1.20.2009

My latest jewelry obsessions

I've been obsessing lately about big, bold egyptian revival jewelry. Here's a short history of it:

"The first major Egyptian Revival period was after Napoleon's campaigns in Egypt (1798-99) and the subsequent occupation by the British. During this time, Europeans became fascinated with the ancient Egyptian architecture and furniture. Egyptian ornamentation like scarab beetles, sphinxes, winged lions and lotuses, often with gilding, were applied to modern forms to create the hybrid style referred to as "Egyptian Revival".

It then came out again in the 1820s-1850s. Egyptian Revival emerged as a result of the famous archaeological digs of the 19th century and was primarily used for memorials, Masonic temples, cemeteries and prisons. This style is distinguished by its adaptation of Egyptian forms and motifs, including lotus blossoms, the winged disk symbol of the sun God, as well as the use of bold colors. Other items were made and reflect the population's desire for the exotic. Then again in the 1870s-1880s, the Neo-Classical (or Neo-Greek) and Egyptian Revival styles were in vogue, and this time the styles were even more elaborate than before.These were the most exotic substyles of the Renaissance Revival and the Victorians were even more fascinated with these rare finds and incorporated their motifs into jewelry, furniture, glass and pottery. Real scarab beetles were used in jewelry of the era, most pieces were set in gold. I have seen stickpins, brooches, bracelets, earrings,necklaces and a ring once featuring these preserved scarab beetles with their iridescent bodies. A little later in the 1880s, Egyptian designs merged with Art Nouveau and some of the finest pieces were produced in gold and silver jewelry, often times enamels and precious stones like diamonds were added to the overall design. The Egyptian Revival was resurrected in the 1920s, with the discovery of King Tut's tomb as mentioned earlier. Its major contributions were to the jewelry world, combining the streamlined geometric of Art Deco with ancient motifs for a fairly modern flair. Many pieces of jewelry were produced during this time period, most notably are Pharaoh's heads, Queen Nefertiti, scarabs, winged sun disks, snakes, lotus blossoms, hieroglyphic writing and pyramids. The jewelry was made in precious metals like gold, platinum and silver as well as pieces made of lesser compositions of brass, white metal, pewter and glass. Most of these pieces were further enhanced with polychrome enameling, precious and semi precious stones, glass and celluloid."

There's egyptians as a people were so regal and elegant. Their imagery is of much inspiration to modern fashion, seen more this new season with the cutout, draping and harem-ish look in pants, dresses and skirts.

Here's some pieces currently on ebay up for grabs:
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Wearing one of these is enough to stand out.

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