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 Post subject: Sacred Beetles of Ancient Egypt used in jewelry
PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:43 pm 
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"Scarab beetles were venerated, embalmed and sculpted by the ancient Egyptians, and also symbolised in their hierogyphic writing.

It is generally accepted that the sacred scarab beetle of egyptian mythology originated from the species Scarabaeus sacer, although the ancient worship of this beetle was eventually extended to all members of the scarab or dung beetle family.

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Scarabaeus sacer "rolling dung"

The sacred 'sun' scarab, giving light and warmth, became a popular symbol in everyday life and small amulets (or seals) in the form of scarab beetles were produced in large quantities, either carved in stone or moulded in glass or faience (a ceramic material made from crushed quartz). The flat underside of such scarab amulets was often decorated with geometric patterns or hieroglyphic inscriptions. Scarab amulets were sometimes set into elaborate pieces of jewelry, but more often they were pierced for threading on a simple cord necklace. There were also special unpierced funerial-type scarab amulets, like the so called 'heart scarab.' These were placed with the mummified bodies of deceased people in their coffins and tombs as a symbol of resurrection and new life." http://www.kendall-bioresearch.co.uk

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Peridot Scarab hand-cut by Chinese
http://www.jewelrytelevision.com/

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"An original Egyptian Revival winged pendant with a large central carved turquoise scarab measuring approximately 1" (25.4mm) north to south x 7/8" (22.2mm) east to west. Set in 14K gold, the scarab is surrounded by champleve and basse-taille enamel accents in cobalt blue, turquoise, and red; rose cut diamond eyes."
http://www.rwwise.com/products/id|749


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 6:01 pm 
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"Scarabs were not the only beetles to capture the imagination of the ancient egyptians. The buprestid or jewel beetle is another type frequently found in tombs and modelled as amulets for hanging on necklaces. The name 'jewel beetle' comes from the vivid metallic colouring of many species, displayed in subtle shades of bright irridescent greens, golds and purple-reds.

Bupestrid amulets were made of several substances, including gold, calcite and faience (glazed pottery). A spectacular necklace trimmed with many golden buprestid beetle amulets, dating from the 6th Dynasty (2345-2181 BC), is on display at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston USA. An unusual use of the buprestid beetle motif can be seen on the bed-canopy of Queen Hetepheres in the Egyptian Museum Cairo, where golden buprestids decorate the pin-heads holding together the corner posts of the bed-canopy. Queen Hetepheres was the wife of the 4th Dynasty pharaoh Sneferu (2613-2589 BC)."
http://www.kendall-bioresearch.co.uk/

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Jewel Beetle from Mexico
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0 ... zoom5.html

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"This pendant was manufactured by Charlie Hines using a jewel scarab--plusiotis gloriosa, which is the only jewel scarab native to North America (Arizona)."
http://www.iamanangelchaser.com


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 6:19 pm 
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"Of mythological significance to the ancient egyptians was the elaterid beetle, commonly called the click beetle. Of the elaterid beetles known from Egypt, Keimer (1938) considered Agrypnus notodonta as the most likely species represented in ancient carvings.

Ancient artifacts that appear to depict elaterid beetles include two carved reliefs from the 1st Dynasty (3100-2890 BC) and a necklace of golden click beetle amulets dating from the 4th Dynasty (2613-2494 BC). Of the three artifacts, Kritsky (1991) considered the carved reliefs best indicate the symbolic importance of the click beetle."
http://www.kendall-bioresearch.co.uk/sa ... .htm#click

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Elaterid notodonta beetle (Agrypnus)


*reason for edit: dang image "disappeared" into the internets?!


Last edited by gingerkid on Sat Jul 25, 2009 6:41 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 4:42 am 
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What's up with all the bugs!

Not sure when the respective roaches lost their rather fantastic popularity - it has been a while since seen any sign of them in a new jewelry collection (Leighton had Favrille ones reinvented for a stunted attempt at an 'entry' line a few years ago - odd?; Tiffany stopped them mid '80s), but when they were 'in' they sure were so - some serious stones were carved with 'lil legs and dimpled elitrae... I would think some original piecs are still being made into rings every now and then, but you need to get into some museum club dinner to see any.

Barbra, have you come across anything like THIS? I always wondered whether at their time these 'organic' jewelry was a fringe oddity (as it might appear now) or allot more mainstream...

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 5:11 am 
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wow valeria, that's a cool set! I love it!

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 6:29 am 
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The Mirror Room in the Belgian Royal Palace has a ceiling decoration made of wing cases of Thai Jewel beetles. An original art work by Jan Fabre. Apparently it's quite spectacular :)

I only found one decent picture...

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 6:31 am 
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WOW.
Looks like the chandelier had a makeover too.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 6:48 am 
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lol! "what's up with all the bugs!"

:shock: i love the scarab jewelry set-exquisite! thanks for showing it to us, valeria!

and i really like the mirror room, keirkof! very cool!


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 6:53 am 
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here's an article i found yesterday on the jewel beetle, which apparently has (as the article states), has quite a "bounty on its head."

bright red jewel beetles may sell for $200.00, while the gold specimens may sell for $500.00.

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0 ... index.html


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 11:27 am 
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Great report Ms. Ginger.
The dung beetle, in ancient Egypt, symbolized rebirth.
Original faience scarabs, were manufactured in ancient Egypt by the 100,000s perhaps millions! It is not clear, precisely, what they were used for.
The faience scarabs have been incorporated into jewels in a revival motif from the early 1900s. They are extremely old and indeed original, but reasonably priced because of their relative abundance.
Revival jewelry has been manufactured throughout history EVERY time ancient sites were excavated.
After Tutankhamen was discovered, in the 20s, Egyptian revival jewels became fashionable:
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The Italian archaeological jewelry, specifically "Etruscan Style granulation" by the Giuliano and Castellani Familiy in the 19th Century was inspired by the precious Etruscan, Roman, Greek, Egyptian and Byzantine antiquities being excavated at the time.
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The style became popular for the general public and countless "commercial" jewels were also made at the time to fill the demand.
Micromosaics, depicting ancient scenes were the height of fashion for a time in the 1800s. Many survive to this day! Some are exceptional, others distinctly commercial.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 11:32 am 
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valeria102 wrote:
Barbra, have you come across anything like THIS? I always wondered whether at their time these 'organic' jewelry was a fringe oddity (as it might appear now) or allot more mainstream...


Not specifically...the items appear to be made in the LATE Victorian period as the screw-back mechanism depicted in the photo was not patented until 1894.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 4:54 pm 
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:D thanks, ms. barbra!!

and more thanks for sharing more history and pictures on the scarabs!!

i've noticed that the scarab gemstone pieces are making a slow comeback.

my mother gave me a scarab gemstone bracelet years ago. the gemstone scarabs were bezel set in gold and were probably 9x7mm each. unfortunately, the bracelet was taken away from me by mother and given to my first cousin. i was glad to give the bracelet to my cousin, just surprised my mother took it from me. :cry:


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 5:36 pm 
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Egyptian inspired pieces will be big again this season, King Tut is on tour:
His gear is in San Francisco right now:
http://www.tutsanfrancisco.org/


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 10:30 pm 
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Barbra those pieces are magnificent. I'm going back for another peek.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 5:25 am 
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Barbra Voltaire wrote:
Egyptian inspired pieces will be big again this season...


Someone might be disappointed by the original after a doze - literary even - of Castellani revivals. Wouldn't be for the right reasons, but...


Barbra Voltaire wrote:
valeria102 wrote:
Barbra, have you come across anything like THIS? I always wondered whether at their time these 'organic' jewelry was a fringe oddity (as it might appear now) or allot more mainstream...


Not specifically...the items appear to be made in the LATE Victorian period as the screw-back mechanism depicted in the photo was not patented until 1894.


You are right, of course: that didn't have anything more to do with Egyptian revivals then a live dung beetle.

Come to think of it, there always were two reasons to sympathise with the scarab things: the Egyptian story, and the endearing representatives of the same genus. Not necessarily a rational connection, but perhaps not a very quirky personal one either: perhaps it was an unexpected effect of the revival jewelry to make the motif culturally acceptable beyond any historic meaning.

Sure thing, there was no sapphire scarab in Egypt to revive and the wonderful revival pieces above pay little attention to whatever was known about the related mythology when they were made. Even with them, the imagery was reinvented, re-packaged. If that was then, all that more easy to make an excuse for wild interpretation a century on! [fingers crossed]

For Jan Fabre beetles meant "passage to death", the memory implicit to evolution and such. It may not be a technically legitimate* thing to put him and the presumed reading of New Kingdom mythology [the winged thing spells out royal attributes connecting resurrection to some mechanics of a cyclical universe - what were they thinking?] in the same paragraph, but - it is darn tempting to do so and where better? Wonderful to have latitude with jewelry. Of course, I could not agree more that one has to keep history straight before bending the hell out of it. It's all terribly dull otherwise**.

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