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Jewel of the Month: Egyptian Revival Earrings

2nd August 2017

It’s hard to believe we are in August already, especially considering the rain currently lashing down in London! As many of us are taking our  holidays, hopefully our jewel of the month will whisk you away to a more exotic place, if you are not in one already.

Here we have a pair of Egyptian Revival earrings, the central motif is a three dimensional silver pharaoh’s head in carved silver, wearing a traditional Nemes headdress set with rose cut diamonds. The head is encircled with a convex ring of hammered gold, decorated with polychrome enamel hieroglyphics, and is backed by a sliver of rock crystal. English, circa 1885.

By the late 19th century, stylistic interpretations of Ancient Egypt were nothing new, having established itself as a recurrent theme in architecture, furniture and ceramics since Napoleon’s Egyptian Campaign at the end of the 18th century, but continued archeological exploration in Egypt allowed a steady flow of antiquities to influence style and fashions, as well as a general interest and love for the exotic. The appearance of sphinxes, palm fronds and hieroglyphics were popular, particularly in furniture, and this filtered into the world of jewellery of course. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, not to mention the continued excavation of El-Armana in 1887 and the discovery of Pharaoh Akhenaten’s tomb, kept the public’s ‘Egyptomania’ thriving and these earrings are very much a part of that.