In the Egyptian Art department of the Metropolitan there is a superb collection of jewelry that dates to the Middle Kingdom (ca. 2040–1640 B.C.). One popular style of jewelry was a necklace with a strand of round stone beads, each sometimes capped on either side with gold or silver. The Museum’s Egyptian Amethyst Bead Jewelry is based on one of these necklaces.
Sterling silver, with amethyst. Toggle closure. 20''L.
- Sterling silver
- Sterling silver toggle closure
Art HistoryToday considered semiprecious, stones such as carnelian, turquoise, lapis lazuli, and amethyst were once considered among the finest stones to the ancient Egyptians. Although these stones were hard and therefore difficult to manipulate, their rich colors made them highly desirable for the manufacture of jewelry. Amethyst, which shimmers shades of purple and violet, was mined in the eastern desert near Aswan and in the western desert near Abu Simbel.