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Jewels of the Pharaohs: Egyptian Jewellery of the Dynastic Period [Hardcover]

Cyril Aldred

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pictures speak louder than words 26 Mar 2000
By AxeTopher - Published on
Of all the books about ancient Egyptian jewelry,I found this to be the most helpful to my cause: studying the designs ancient Egyptian used and modifying them for my artwork. There are many color plates which help to illuminate the text decriptions. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words. His prose is straightforward and easy to read for even a layman, such as I. I really enjoyed this book.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I learned a lot from this book 11 May 2003
By BeachReader - Published on
I have always been interested in ancient Egypt but this book focused on the jewelry, which I had only read about in general terms.
In the section about the recovery of ancient Egyptian jewelry, the author talked about how discoveries are more often made by accident than by a deliberate, planned search. Many treasures have been dispersed all over the world because of being found by private persons.
Materials were selected for their color rather than for their "refractive powers, brilliance, or rarity."
Next the author discussed the uses of jewelry in ancient Egypt. Jewelry was used for personal adornment of men as much as for women, and used in burials, for the shrines of the gods, and as temple furnishings. The most common use of jewelry was as amulets - to protect the wearers from harm.
The materials used by craftsmen to make jewelry in ancient Egypt were shells, horns, tusks, claws, stones, and gold. Some of the most popular stones were carnellian, lapis lazuli, and turquoise (very different from the veiny turquoise we see here in the U.S).
A very informative book.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jewels of the Pharaohs 2 Jun 2007
By Friend of Ancient Egypt - Published on
Since this book first arrived in 1971 no other references have surpassed this fascinating subject. Short and concise reading with descriptions of jewelry materials, techniques, tools and forms of the ancient craftsmen are wonderfully documented. The photographs alone are sufficient to let anyone appreciate the incredibe beauty of ancient Egyptian works created under some of the most primative conditions. Just when you're thinking "How did they do that?" Aldred details the answer.

The range of work is well represented showing famous masterpieces from the old kingdom Lahun cache to new kingdom pieces of TutankhamunTutankhamun and Ramesses II Ramesses II. Even though much technical information is at hand, including the rediscovery of hard colloidal soldering, Alred himself recognizes that further study is necessary. The 2006 discoverey of a unique glass formed by a comet collision with earth, found on a pectoral scarab of king Tut's, is one example worth mentioning.

This book is still the most comprehensive study to date and a valuable source of information to anyone interested in ancient Egyptian jewelry and its place in history. A terrific book!

As an update: Ancient Egyptian Jewelry by Carol Andrews (a great Egyptologist in her own right) adds little to Aldreds work technically. Though there are more color photos, (many reprints from Aldred's book! including many from her previous excellent Amulets of Ancient Egypt publication) the cover price of $125. ($75. used) hardly warrants putting this book above anything done by Aldred ~ even though other reviewers have stated so.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Feast for the Eye! 10 Oct 2013
By Georgene - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
While the actual text of this book is brief, it does cover the essentials of Egyptian jewelry and the rather primitive methods used to make some extremely exquisite pieces. There are some nice line drawings of some pieces, but the best is the over 100 color plates in the back of the book. Following the color plates is a picture-by-picture description of each piece in the photographs. This does involve a lot of flipping back and forth between the pictures and the descriptive text, but it is well worth the effort.

The author discusses the different colors of gold that Egyptian jewelers used in their pieces, the different stones and inlay pieces used in the manufacture of the funerary jewelry. Egypt had its own sources for gold, carnelian, turquoise, garnets and amethysts, but imported lapis from faraway Afghanistan, a considerable journey in those days. It was interesting to note that amethysts and garnets were used in jewelry making, a fact I had not previously known. Early attempts at the manufacture of glass were also much used in place of natural stones in many pieces.

It is interesting that not just the most magnificent pieces are represented here, but also many pieces that were hurriedly made, undoubtedly due to the untimely death of the person for whom the pieces were meant. The truly wondrous works of the jeweler's arts are positioned side by side with pieces of much lesser quality.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. While not an exhaustive study of ancient Egyptian funerary jewelry, it does cover the basics and offer up previously unknown (to me, any way) facts of materials used.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book; hard to find 13 Jan 2013
By QOGI - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
After I borrowed this book from the library, I have been trying to find a good copy to purchase for myself.
Mr. Aldred does a wonderful job writing about the beautiful pieces of jewerly that were discovered from the tombs of Egypt. The photographs and illustrations are excellent, whether they are in color or black and white.
The information he provided of how each piece was made, the signifcance of the materials they worked with and the various techniques used to create such a piece makes this book a real treasure.
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