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Peer Reviewed Title: Gemstones Author: Harrell, James, University of Toledo Publication Date: 2012 Series: UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology Publication Info: UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, UCLA Permalink: http://escholarship.org/uc/item/57f2d2sk Keywords: geology, jewellry, gems, color, Archaeological Anthropology Local Identifier: nelc_uee_8804 Abstract: The gemstones of ancient Egypt, broadly defined, include all rocks, minerals, and biogenic materials used for jewelry (beads, pendants, ring stones, and cloisonné inlays), amulets, seals, and other small decorative items (figurines, cosmetic vessels, and inlays in furniture and sculpture). At least 38 gemstone varieties were used by the Egyptians, but ancient mines in Egypt are known for only nine of these. Some of the gemstones were imported from sources in Asia while others certainly came from undiscovered Egyptian mines . Supporting material: Response to reviewers Revised figures Gemstones Table 1, 8804 Gemstones Geographic coordinates Gemstone quarries Figure 9, 8804 gemstones Figure 10, 8804 gemstones Figure 11, 8804 gemstones
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Figure 12, 8804 gemstones Figure 13, 8804 gemstones Figure 14, 8804 gemstones Figure 15, 8804 gemstones Figure 16, 8804 gemstones Figure 17, 8804 gemstones Figure 18, 8804 gemstones Figure 22, 8804 gemstones Figure 1, 8804 gemstones Figure 23, 8804 gemstones 8804v2_UEE_Gemstones_Table1_revised Figure 2, 8804 gemstones Figure 3, 8804 gemstones Figure 4, 8804 gemstones Figure 5, 8804 gemstones Figure 6, 8804 gemstones Figure 7, 8804 gemstones Figure 8, 8804 gemstones Figure 19, 8804 gemstones Figure 20, 8804 gemstones Figure 21, 8804 gemstones Figure 24, 8804 gemstones Figure 25, 8804 gemstones Figure 26, 8804 gemstones Figure 27, 8804 gemstones Figure 28, 8804 gemstones Copyright Information: All rights reserved unless otherwise indicated. Contact the author or original publisher for any necessary permissions. eScholarship is not the copyright owner for deposited works. Learn more at http://www.escholarship.org/help_copyright.html#reuse
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Los Angeles.do?ark= 21198/zz002czx1r . 2012.library. Gemstones.. November 2012 http://digital2. James A. UEE.library. Harrell EDITORS WILLEKE WENDRICH Editor-in-Chief Area Editor Material Culture University of California. Los Angeles JACCO DIELEMAN ELIZABETH FROOD Editor University of Oxford Senior Editorial Consultant University of Oxford JOHN BAINES Short Citation: Harrell.edu/viewItem.do?ark=21198/zz002czx1r 8804 Version 1.edu/viewItem.). GEMSTONES الكريم ة األحج ار James A. Los Angeles Editor University of California.ucla. UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology. In Willeke Wendrich (ed. Gemstones. http://digital2.ucla. 2012. Full Citation: Harrell.
It is conventional to T refer to the extraction sites for both gemstones and metals as “mines. luster. where known. but ancient mines in Egypt are known for only nine of these. UEE 2012 1 .(األثاث والمنحوتات بعض األحجار، لكن المناجم القديمة في مصر لم تعرف إال تسعة أنواع من ھذه األحجار،الكريمة . At least 38 gemstone varieties were used by the Egyptians. Harrell Edelsteine Pierre précieuse The gemstones of ancient Egypt. and inlays in furniture and sculpture).g. standard nondestructive gemological tests (e. The ancient Egyptian word most closely matching “gemstones” is aAt (aat). but certain identification sometimes requires destructive analytical tests for mineralogy and chemistry (Aston et al.22). Harrell. spectroscopic pattern. Many gemstones lack rigorous or universally accepted definitions and so there can be some confusion over their names. األحجار الكريمة في مصر القديمة مصطلح شامل يتضمن كل أنواع األحجار والمعادن والمواد العضوية المستخدمة في صناعة الحلي )مثل الخرز والداليات والخواتم من األحجار والتطعيم بالمينا( والتمائم واألختام والقطع الزخرفية األخرى الصغيرة )مثل التماثيل الصغيرة وآواني مستحضرات التجميل وتطعيم لقد استخدم المصريين القدماء ما ال يقل عن ثمانية وثالثين نوع من األحجار.e. seals. ring stones. refractive index. GEMSTONES الكريم ة األحج ار James A. cosmetic vessels. A more serious problem. can also provide useful information. 2000: 67 . and cloisonné inlays). and crystal form).الكريمة تم استيراده من آسيا بينما البعض اآلخر من المؤكد أنھا جلبت من مناجم مصرية لم تكتشف بعد he gemstones of ancient Egypt.” though there is no fundamental physical difference between the two groups of workings. pendants.. which was a general term for “mineral. source(s). include all rocks. ornamental. and cloisonné inlays). and other small decorative items (figurines. cleavage or fracture type. amulets. building. ring stones. and when individual loose stones can be examined. color.. is Gemstones. include all rocks.69). and inlays in furniture and sculpture). Table 1 lists the 38 gemstone varieties used by the Egyptians and for each of these provides a general description of its appearance along with its extent of use. among others) can be an effective means of recognition (Read 2005). inclusions. and biogenic materials used for jewelry (beads. ancient names. broadly defined. Mohs scratch hardness and reaction to dilute acid. broadly defined. and polariscope response. and other small decorative items (figurines. and biogenic materials used for jewelry (beads. Relatively few gemstones have known mines in Egypt and these are shown on the map in Figure 1 with the site numbers taken from the table. amulets. minerals. Some of the gemstones were imported from sources in Asia while others certainly came from undiscovered Egyptian mines.” and those for other kinds of stones (i. and. but these are unconfirmed identifications. pendants. cosmetic vessels.g. minerals. Ancient gemstones are usually identified on the basis of their macroscopic attributes (e. Illustrations of most of these gemstones are provided in Figures 2 through 25. diaphaneity. specific gravity. both only mildly damaging. and utilitarian) as “quarries. The use of other gemstone varieties is occasionally claimed in the Egyptological literature. seals.” but often with implications of value and rarity (Harris 1961: 21 .. however.
Iceland spar (transparent. ancient but specific period of activity unknown). Used: commonly in Pd and rarely thereafter for inlay. UEE 2012 2 . active late Pt and R). 8. Used: rarely in Pd and Pt/R. (2000). LP = Late Period. The metals were melted Table 1. colorless). but almost certainly from the limestone in and near the Nile Valley either as crystal masses or white bands in travertine (“Egyptian alabaster”). at Gebel Umm Harba (no. common calcite (translucent. the biogenic ones do and so may not survive in the archaeological record. whereas the rock and mineral varieties in Table 1 do not deteriorate over time. 10. in Wadi Nugrus (no. 5. Ancient names: probably murrina or myrrhina (Roman). the many misidentifications published by scholars who are not well versed in gem recognition. ED = Early Dynastic. The numbered sources are shown on the map in Figure 1. 13. Ancient names: unknown. in Wadi Abu Rasheid (no. aquamarine (light to medium greenish blue to blue). The naming conventions employed in Table 1 follow those of Klein and Dutrow (2008). active R and Is). Nearly all objects with gemstones come from tombs. Ancient names: beryllion/berullus (Greek/Roman). Used: rarely in OK and NK/3IP. active R). Ancient names: unknown. Sources: six mines in the ancient Mons Smaragdus region at Gebel Zabara (no. Source: no mine known. commonly light or bluish green or yellow. but these are only the rare burials that were overlooked or incompletely plundered by thieves. one of the ornamental stones with many known quarries. Gemstones. most spectacularly the royal and elite private ones. 2. 28). Also. but other or multiple colors are possible [CaF2]). OK/1IP = Old Kingdom and First Intermediate Period. active R). 2. Used: rarely in Pt/R only. the latest edition of a long-used and widely respected mineralogy reference. active R). in Wadi Sikait (no.65) and Aston et al. and the principal items sought were metals—especially gold—and gemstones. active R). Used: rarely in late Pt and commonly in R. the material now preserved in museum collections is not fully representative of gemstone use for all periods and especially for all social classes. white). 2. Terminology and correct identification are not the only difficulties in a survey of ancient Egyptian gemstones. MK/2IP = Middle Kingdom and Second Intermediate Period. rarely dark green and transparent. Thus. figs. and R = Roman Period. 12. fluorite or fluorspar (transparent to translucent. Some emerald may have been imported from India. Harrell. calcite [CaCO3] with two color varieties 1. 1 Pd = Predynastic. and are consistent with the two most comprehensive and authoritative works on Egyptian gemstones: Andrews (1990: 37 . Source: one mine at Gebel el-Ineigi (no. emerald or green beryl (mainly light to medium green and translucent. Source: no mine known. NK/3IP = New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period. Source: imported from India. Ancient names: smaragdos/smaragdus (Greek/Roman). 9. and at Umm Kabu (no. but probably from limestone like common calcite. Most of ancient Egypt’s tombs were robbed in antiquity. Gemstones Used by the Ancient Egyptians1 ROCKS AND MINERALS beryl (transparent to translucent [Be3Al2(Si6O18)]) with two color varieties 1. 11. Pt = Ptolemaic Period.
Ancient names: nSmt [neshmet] and possibly also Hsg [heseg] (Egyptian). 3-5). or purplish red in compositionally gradational pyrope and almandine sub-varieties [(Mg. Ancient names: probably HmAgt [hemaget] (Egyptian). amazonite.Ca)4-8(AlSiO4)6(SO4)1-2]. 7. probably smaragdos and possibly also iaspis (Greek). fig. but granitic rocks with large microcline crystals occur abundantly in the Eastern Desert and Sinai.Cl)2] or haüynite [(Na. figs. carbunculus (Roman). active NK. Table 1. and rarely from Pd to LP. Sources: two mines at Gebel Migif (no. brownish red. smaragdus and possibly its sub-variety galactites (Roman). 7). sapphiros/sappirus (Greek/Roman). 2. Gemstones. haematitis/haematites (Greek/Roman). hematite (opaque brownish black to black with submetallic luster to silvery gray with metallic luster [Fe2O3]. common microcline (orange to mainly pink). Used: commonly from MK/2IP to NK/3IP. Ancient names: unknown. 4-6). figs. Source: the Western Desert near the Libyan border. Ancient names: probably bjA [bia] but also possibly bjA osy [bia qesey]. Used: confirmed only in an 18th Dynasty scarab in a pectoral belonging to king Tutankhamun. UEE 2012 3 . and probably also in placer deposits near the same rocks. probably smaragdos/smaragdus (Greek/Roman). red garnet was heavily imported from India and possibly also Sri Lanka. 6. and rarely from Pd to OK/1IP and LP to Pt/R. but commonly for paint pigment and eye shadow in all periods. Used: commonly in Pt/R. anthrax and anthraka (Greek). Sources: malachite is the principal ore mineral for copper and so comes from the numerous copper mines in the Sinai Peninsula and Eastern Desert. but both types of hematite are found in some igneous and metamorphic rocks in the Eastern Desert. active Pt and R) plus probably one or more undiscovered sources in the same general area. microcline feldspar (translucent to opaque [KAlSi3O8]) with two color varieties 1. fig. patchy to mainly banded light and dark green [Cu2CO3(OH)2]. and rarely in Pt/R. Source: no mine known. Ancient names: xsbd [khesbed] and also possibly tfrr [tefrer] (Egyptian). Source: imported from northeast Afghanistan and possibly also neighboring areas in Pakistan. with golden pyrite specks [FeS2] and white calcite veins or patches [CaCO3] as the main components. malachite (opaque. Ancient names: Ssmt [shesmet] and probably also wAD [wadj] (Egyptian). but red garnet occurs in many of the metamorphic rocks in the Eastern Desert and Sinai. a rock composed of dark blue lazurite [(Na. Used: rarely in MK/2IP. Ancient names: unknown. Placer deposits with good quality almandine garnet are found in northern Sudan’s Fourth Nile Cataract. amazonstone or green feldspar (light or medium green to mainly bluish green. Source: no mine known. and bos anx [beqes ankh] (Egyptian). Libyan desert glass (translucent. Used: rarely from Pd to Pt/R.Ca)8(AlSiO4)6(SO4. Harrell. During Pt/R. Gemstones Used by the Ancient Egyptians1 garnet (transparent to translucent. Source: no mine known. figs 8-9). Used: rarely from Pd to NK/3IP as a gemstone. and at Aswan. lapis lazuli (opaque.Fe)3Al2Si3O12]. 10). 18th Dynasty) and in Wadi Fayrouz at Gebel Hafafit (no.S. medium to mainly dark red. both minerals of the sodalite group. Used: commonly from Pd to LP. light to medium greenish yellow meteoritic silica glass [SiO2]).
rock crystal (transparent. Used: rarely from Pd to Pt/R. Note that what has been reported as rose quartz is probably pale amethyst. John’s) Island in the Red Sea (no. Ancient names: specularis lapis (Roman). or serpentinite. Table 1. Used: rarely from Pd to Pt/R. topazus/topazum and chrysolithus (Roman). light to dark green in compositionally gradational actinolite and tremolite [Ca2(Mg. Microcrystalline quartz – chalcedony or agate (mainly fibrous/chalcedonic silica and translucent) with seven color varieties Gemstones. Source: either imported from the East or. Used: rarely in Pd and later by Nubia’s Kerma Culture. Used: commonly in MK/2IP and Pt/R. active Pt/R). fig. jade or nephrite (translucent. quartz [SiO2] with macrocrystalline and microcrystalline varieties Macrocrystalline quartz with four color varieties 1. figs. active MK). fig. Source: no mine known. but possibly associated with serpentinite in the Eastern Desert. Harrell. milky quartz (translucent. 14. Gemstones Used by the Ancient Egyptians1 muscovite mica (transparent to translucent. colorless. including the amethyst mines. Source: no mine known. Used: rarely in Pt/R. but milky quartz occurs abundantly in veins throughout the Eastern Desert and at Aswan. 28). Used: rarely in Pt/R. light to dark violet or purple. Much of what has been called nephrite. light to dark brownish black to black volcanic silica glass [SiO2]. 12). Source: one mine on Zabargad (or St. citrine (transparent. active Pt/R). amethyst (transparent. peridot (transparent to translucent. Ancient names: possibly mnw HD [menew hedj] (Egyptian). from the early Roman Period onward. krystallos/crystallus (Greek/Roman). 2. light or medium green to mainly yellowish green olivine [(Mg. Sources: two mines at Abu Diyeiba near Wadi Waseef (no. 11). Ancient names: Hsmn [hesmen] (Egyptian). light to medium brownish yellow [KAl2(AlSi3O10)(OH)2]). produced by heat-treating Egyptian amethyst.Fe)5Si8O22(OH)2]). amethystos/amethystus (Greek/Roman). Used: confirmed only in an 18th Dynasty ring bezel belonging to king Tutankhamen. but rock crystal deposits occur widely across the Eastern Desert. Source: imported either from the Eastern Mediterranean or especially the southern Red Sea. Ancient names: possibly mnw HD [menew hedj] (Egyptian). 15. fig. 4. obsidian (translucent. and near Wadi el-Hudi (no. obsianus lapis (Roman). white). the latter one of the ornamental stones. Ancient names: unknown. Ancient names: possibly chrysolithos/chrysolithus (Greek/Roman). green jasper. 4. UEE 2012 4 . Used: rarely from Pd to MK/2IP. Ancient names: probably mnw km [menew kem] (Egyptian). Source: no mine known. probably liparaios (Greek). 2-4. 3. Source: no mine known. jadeite or jade is apparently either green chalcedony. but muscovite deposits are commonly associated with pegmatite veins in the Eastern Desert. light to medium yellow or brownish to reddish yellow). Note that what has been reported as smoky quartz is probably pale obsidian. Ancient names: topazos/topazion and chrysolithos (Greek).Fe)2SiO4]. and rarely from Pd to OK/1IP and NK/3IP to LP. 13).
Used: rarely in NK. Gemstones. curved to wavy concentric bands with alternating lighter and darker colors – typically white or light gray with dark gray. one or more undiscovered sources in Egypt’s deserts or. fine-grained. Sources: one mine at Stela Ridge near Gebel el-Asr. common agate (parallel. Source: one mine at Stela Ridge. perhaps. Harrell. and LP. Gemstones Used by the Ancient Egyptians1 1. silicified (or petrified) wood (grayish to brownish with wood-fiber texture. 16). 2. 15). onychion (Greek). but agate pebbles and nodules are occasionally found in the Eastern Desert and Sinai. Table 1. Ancient names: possibly kA km [ka kem] (Egyptian). achates (Roman). 4-5. reddish to yellowish brown or brown and gradational with carnelian). Ancient names: possibly kA HD [ka hedj] (Egyptian). UEE 2012 5 . onyx (parallel. principally for carnelian and sard but also for common and other chalcedonies (no. probably onychion (Greek). 14-16) plus sard (medium to dark orangey brown. Sources: imported from India during Pt/R and earlier probably from the same sources as carnelian. 5. Used: rarely from Pd to Pt/R. fig. but are inconsistently used in the archaeological and geological literature and so have no clear meaning. 16. 15). brownish red or red. Used: commonly from Pd to Pt/R. Ancient names: probably Hrst HD [herset hedj] (Egyptian). Source: no mine known. planar layers with alternating white or light gray and dark gray or black. probably prasinos or prasitis (Greek). Ancient names: possibly prDn [perdjen] (Egyptian). sardonyx (Roman). plasma. 4. Ancient name: possibly xt-awA [khet-awa] (Egyptian). Used: commonly in Pt/R. or kAj km [kai kem] (Egyptian). sardonyx (parallel. in southern Egypt’s and northern Sudan’s Nile River terrace gravels. and also occasionally Hrst dSr [herset desher] and Drtt [djertet] (Egyptian). can contain abundant granular/non-chalcedonic silica). kA HD [ka hedj]. and rarely in Pd. and rarely in NK/3IP and LP. 7. onyx lapis (Roman). chrysoprase. although small amounts can be found at the Stela Ridge mine (see carnelian). carnelian color was often enhanced by heat treatment. note that during the Roman Period. carnelian or cornelian (medium to dark orangey red. 15). achates and possibly onychion (Greek). near Gebel el-Asr. fig. Used: rarely from Pd to Pt/R. Source: one mine at Stela Ridge. Source: no mine known. Microcrystalline quartz – jasper (mainly granular/non-chalcedonic silica and opaque) with three color varieties 2 The terms bloodstone (or heliotrope). figs. planar layers with alternating white or light gray and reddish or brownish colors. for other periods. 6. and prase refer to different varieties of greenish microcrystalline quartz (both fibrous chalcedony and granular jasper). common chalcedony (white or pale gray to mainly bluish white/gray. Source: imported from India during Pt/R and possibly from other Eastern sources earlier. fig. Used: rarely from Pd to Pt/R. 7. 3. Ancient names: possibly HD [hedj]. but possibly earlier as well. active mainly MK but with OK and R traces) plus. green chalcedony2 (light to medium green). brown or black. Ancient names: Hrst [herset]. NK/3IP. but probably from occurrences in the Western or Eastern Deserts near Cairo. near Gebel el-Asr. probably leuachates and possibly also cerachates and ceraunia (Roman). prasius (Roman). sardion/sarda (Greek/Roman). Imported from India during Pt/R. fig. kA [ka]. Used: commonly in Pt/R.
Used: rarely from Pd to Pt/R. Some of what is reported as ivory is probably bone. Sources: two mines in the Sinai at Serabit el-Khadim (no. eboreus (Roman). Ancient names: Abw [abu] (Egyptian). 21-22). elephantinon (Greek). active ED to NK) plus a possible third source at the Bir Nasib copper mine (no. possibly prasius (Roman). turquoise (opaque. 3. 1. medium to dark red (fig. and rarely from Pd to OK/1IP and LP to Pt/R. Ancient names: elektron and also probably ligyrion and lyngurion (Greek). Harrell. medium to dark green2 (fig. Source: imported from northern Europe through the Mediterranean region. Source: imported from Sri Lanka and possibly India. mainly white or silvery gray. sapphire (transparent to translucent. pearl (translucent to opaque. Ancient names: physi and pinninu (Greek). but is much rarer. Gemstones. coralliticus (Roman). 28). Source: probably the Red Sea but possibly also imported from the East. Ancient names: mfkAt [mefkat] (Egyptian). Ancient names: xnmt [khenmet] and mxn(m)t [mekhen(m)et]. probably haematitis (Greek). sucinum (Roman). Ancient names: unknown but possibly the same as red jasper. fig. callaina (Roman). Ancient names: korallion or kuralion (Greek). but almost certainly from the Eastern Desert. Source: no mine known. Ancient names: nmHf [nemhef] and shrt [seheret or sehret]. Source: no mine known. Table 1. white or light yellowish white elephant or hippopotamus tusk. figs. ivory (opaque. Sources: originally hippopotamuses in Egypt. Some of what is reported as amber is non-fossilized tree resin. Used: rarely from Pd to Pt/R. yellow (fig. Used: commonly in MK/2IP and NK/3IP. later. white and light to medium red or pink marine coral). Used: commonly in Pt/R and rarely in Pd. figs. Used: commonly in Pt/R. and possibly Hkn [heken] (Egyptian). elephants via Nubia and Punt. 6). possibly sarda (Roman). 20). 2. 3. but green jasper occasionally occurs in the Eastern Desert in the same metavolcanic rocks as red jasper. figs. probably iaspis and also possibly prasinos or prasitis (Greek). 17). Used: rarely in Pt/R. BIOGENIC MATERIALS amber (translucent. 23. but red jasper is commonly associated with metavolcanic rocks in the Eastern Desert. Used: rarely from NK/3IP to Pt/R. light to dark blue corundum [Al2O3]). Source: no mine known. 4. active MK to NK). active MK to LP) and in Wadi Maghara (no. Ancient names: hyakinthos/hyacinthus (Greek/Roman). light to medium green to greenish blue or light blue with the blue color degrading over time to green due to dehydration [CuAl6(PO4)4(OH)8▪5H2O]. 2. UEE 2012 6 . and possibly prDn [perdjen] (Egyptian). 19). Gemstones Used by the Ancient Egyptians1 1. 18). Sources: the Red and Mediterranean Seas. Used: rarely in Pd and NK/3IP. light to dark yellowish to reddish brown fossil tree resin. margarites (Roman). Used: commonly from Pd to Pt/R. probably smaragdos (Greek). coral (opaque.
Harrell. Gemstones. including ostrich egg. Ancient names: unknown. and tortoise (figs. Map of ancient Egyptian gemstone mines (numbered). Figure 1. whole marine and riverine mollusks. mother-of-pearl (the iridescent nacre from oysters and other mollusks). 24-25). Sources: Egypt and Red Sea. UEE 2012 7 . Used: commonly in Pd and rarely thereafter. Miscellaneous shells.
what today would be called “semi-precious” stones. similar to those depicted in Figure 28 mummy portrait. turquoise (light blue). Funerary amulets prescribed in the Book of the Dead sometimes called for specific stones with characteristic colors. xnmt (red jasper) for “girdle-tie-of-Isis” amulets in Chapter 156 (see fig. Inner: gold and amethyst cabochons.g. green (in amazonite. dark blue (in lapis lazuli) represented the all-embracing and protective night sky. Figure 4. a significant portion of the gemstones used in any given period was probably recycled from earlier times.. but the gemstones were merely reused. possibly from Egypt. down and recast. Figure 3. but also for the symbolic or magical significance of their color. and lush vegetation. Figure 2. Necklaces. power and vitality. carnelian (orangey-red). Necklace with drop beads of amazonite (light bluish green). and gold. el-Lahun. the materials in Table 1 are. plus pectoral with cartouche of Senusret II and cloisonné inlays of carnelian. and some jasper) connoted life-sustaining blood. although perhaps in a recut form. and some turquoise) signified rebirth in the afterlife. Dynasty 12. at best. malachite. 18). Egypt. fertility. some chalcedony. nmHf (green jasper) for “heart scarab” amulets in Chapter 30B (see fig. Second century CE. The ancient Egyptians chose gemstones not only for their visual effect in a particular application. e. Consequently. 17). Middle Kingdom. lapis lazuli. Roman Period. UEE 2012 8 . and turquoise set in gold. Outer: gold and emerald beads (hexagonal crystal segments). amethyst (purple). and smaller spherical beads of amazonite. joy. and gold. Necklace with convex bicone beads of amethyst and a central amazonite Ba bird amulet. Tomb of princess Sithathoryunet. Harrell. Early third century CE. shrt (probably green jasper) for “heart-shaped” amulets in Chapter 29B. garnet. some jasper. lapis lazuli (dark blue). and nSmt (green amazonite) for “papyrus scepter” amulets in Gemstones. Red (in carnelian. With the exceptions of precious emerald and sapphire. Roman Period. and light blue (in some turquoise) symbolized the primordial waters and daytime sky. and the sun.
Colored faience (glazed composition. Tomb of the Three Princesses. Late or Ptolemaic Period. among others) and cameos in onyx and sardonyx were especially fashionable during the Ptolemaic and Roman Periods. Dynasty 18. Engraved colored transparent gemstones (aquamarine. the earliest surviving version of the Old Testament. and sapphire. and turquoise next in abundance.160 (Harris 1961: 112 . carnelian (large orangey red convex bicone and tiny cylindrical beads).116. These practices became so prevalent that ancient texts mentioning some of the more valuable gemstones (e. dark blue glass (large oblate spheroid and tiny cylindrical beads replacing lapis lazuli in the design).” to indicate their authenticity. brownish-gray steatite in gold setting. amethyst. turquoise (light blue). common agate. Thebes. and Alexandria was one of the main centers where such objects were produced for both local consumption and export to the larger Mediterranean market. and blue colors was widely used to imitate gemstones beginning in the 18th Dynasty. lapis lazuli. red jasper. see Nicholson 2009) was another inexpensive substitute for gemstones used from the late Predynastic Period onward. on shoulder and tail. Amulet in form of Ba bird with cloisonné inlays of lapis lazuli (dark blue). and imports from distant lands brought another group of gemstones into popularity. red garnet. 130). UEE 2012 9 . Harrell. Gemstones. Similarly colored materials were sometimes substituted for these gemstones. and turquoise) sometimes appended the word mAa (maa).g. with amazonite. often more important than its preciousness. amazonite.. Originally loose jewelry elements restrung as a necklace. lapis lazuli. but changing tastes. and obsidian for the “two fingers” amulet (Andrews 1994: 104). onyx. new domestic discoveries. The Alexandrian gem trade left its influence on the Greek Septuagint Bible. Figure 6. pearl. and. Also at this time. Chapters 159 . imitation carnelian was made by setting colorless rock crystal over a red paste. peridot. and sardonyx. red garnet. Additional common associations between amulet and stone type are sub-metallic hematite for the “headrest” amulet (see fig. Glass with red. This was translated from the original Hebrew in Alexandria during the Ptolemaic Period and the Septuagint’s many references to gemstones reflect Figure 5. meaning “true. The other gemstones in Table 1 were rarely used in comparison. lapis lazuli (large dark blue oblate spheroid beads—both smooth and ribbed). Possibly from Saqqara. and gold. sapphire. The color of a material was. 123 124. Amethyst and carnelian continued to be among the principal gemstones of Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt. nevertheless. as is evidenced by the combination of cheap glass and costly gemstones in much of the royal and elite private jewelry from the Middle Kingdom onward. The most commonly used gemstone in Dynastic Egypt was carnelian. with amazonite (large bluish-green convex bicone and oblate spheroid beads—both smooth and ribbed). including aquamarine. coral. 8). green. emerald.
The colors of these gemstones are certainly partly responsible for the high esteem in which they were held. Harrell et al. Egypt. Petrie 1906: 34 . although there is no archaeological evidence to support this. Wyart et al. Harrell Figure 7. 1970: 18). Figure 8.302). 6 and 7. amethyst at Abu Diyeiba and Wadi el-Hudi (nos. Harrell. 1993. Shaw et al. UEE 2012 10 . possibly Middle Kingdom. Gübelin 1981.169. Nevertheless. 2 and 3. at each end. in fig. 1994) and lapis lazuli was brought from the Badakhshan region of northeast Afghanistan (Herrmann 1968. The most frequently mentioned gemstones in Dynastic texts. Engelbach 1933: 68 . 1981) and possibly also adjacent areas in Pakistan. 387. Shaw and Jameson 1993. and turquoise. 1). 1. Figure 9. Andrews 1994: 103) that some of it was imported at great expense from the ancient mine at Zuma in southeast Libya’s Eghei Mountains (Jérémine et al. 16 in fig. Egypt. amazonite is a relatively scarce gemstone in Egypt and so it has been suggested (e. 1. Bloxam 2006). to some degree what was then popular in this Mediterranean emporium (Harrell 2011). fluorite at Gebel el-Ineigi (no. Klemm et al. Jennings et al. respectively. carnelian. Giveon 1978: 55 . but they were difficult to obtain and so this also contributed to their value. lapis lazuli. 5 in fig. 2004 and 2008: 285 . 15 in fig. 1. Certainly in the 18th Dynasty as well as in the Ptolemaic and Roman Periods. emerald at the six Mons Smaragdus mines (nos. beads of carnelian (orangey red). Lucas 1962: 394. Submetallic hematite headrest amulet. Sidebotham et al. de Michele and Piacenza 1999). 1. 2006. 1. Egypt. In addition to amazonite and turquoise. respectively. String of spherical beads of red garnet and. ancient Egyptian mines are known for carnelian and the common and green chalcedonies at Stela Ridge (no. Gemstones.. 2002.69 and 1938: 372. 8 . 4 and 14. in fig. Turquoise came from the Sinai Peninsula’s Serabit el-Khadim and Wadi Maghara mines (nos. Harrell 2004. Metallic hematite Taweret figure. Sidebotham et al. amazonite came from Egyptian mines on the Eastern Desert’s Gebel Migif and Gebel Hafafit (nos.13 in fig. Dynasty 26. and peridot on the Red Sea island of Zabargad (no. Harrell and Sidebotham 2004.285). are amazonite. respectively.g. 1951.135. El Ramly et al. often together and in connection with other precious materials. 1. Late Period. 1999. ChartierRaymond et al. Fakhry 1952. 2008: 277 . and workings from other periods may yet be discovered in this region where more amazonite deposits are known (Harrell and Osman 2007). in fig.
Rock crystal (colorless quartz) cosmetic jar with hieroglyphic inscription: “offering given by the king” and “towards the gods. the only known example of its use is for the scarab at the center of a famous pectoral belonging to king Tutankhamen (Cairo Museum JE 61884). Amenemhat III. and silicified wood) are known to occur in the Eastern Desert or Sinai and these regions are probably where they were obtained. red garnet. onyx. muscovite mica. Egypt. malachite. 1998). Dynasty 12. Malachite scarab amulet. common microcline. and sardonyx) are not known to occur in Egypt. possibly Middle Kingdom. jasper. Egypt’s Western Desert is another possible source for silicified wood and it certainly supplied the famous Libyan desert glass (de Michele 1997. common calcite and Iceland spar.” Egypt. Figure 10. hematite. Obsidian sphinx figure. Egypt. Harrell. Figure 11. but it is conceivable that they are Figure 13. milky quartz. possibly Ptolemy XII. Peridot ring stone carved with male head. Gemstones. possibly New Kingdom. rock crystal. Ptolemaic Period. For the latter. possibly of and Bloxam 2010). Most of the other rock and mineral gemstones in Table 1 (common agate. Figure 12. mid-first century BCE. Egypt. A few of the Dynastic rock and mineral gemstones in Table 1 (nephrite. UEE 2012 11 .
present and their deposits have merely been overlooked. String of convex bicone and barrel beads of common agate (black/dark gray and white wavy banding). The only known mine is the aforementioned Stela Ridge in Egypt’s Nubian Desert. respectively. during the late Ptolemaic and Roman Periods. Harrell. sapphire. Where the Egyptians obtained the prodigious amounts of carnelian used both before and after the Middle Kingdom is unknown. Chalcedony buttons of both the common (white) and carnelian (orangey-red) varieties. onyx (black/dark gray and white planar banding). and ostrich shell (Phillips 2000) and hippopotamus ivory (Krzyszkowska and Morkot 2000) would have come from Egypt’s Eastern Desert and Nile Valley. This site. sardonyx (reddish brown and white planar banding). Figure 14. Egypt. Dynasty 6. and. dates mainly to the Middle Kingdom but also bears faint traces of Old Kingdom and Roman activity. onyx. It is often repeated in the Figure 15. and sardonyx) from India and Sri Lanka. String of convex bicone and drop beads and central “leg” amulet of carnelian with inhomogeneous coloring. 2000) and elephant ivory (Krzyszkowska and Morkot 2000) from the southern Red Sea region. and carnelian (solid orangey-red). red garnet. In addition to lapis lazuli. Egypt. Roman Period. gemstones imported from distant sources included amber probably from the Baltic region of northern Europe. Figure 16. The source of ancient Egypt’s most popular gemstone. Bavay et al. obsidian (Zarins 1989. UEE 2012 12 . Tell Dafana. and tortoise shell undoubtedly came from the Mediterranean or Red Sea. a variety of gemstones (mostly aquamarine. possibly Late Period. carnelian. which also supplied the common and green chalcedonies. Egypt. mother-of-pearl and other mollusc shells. Gemstones. Coral. is something of a mystery. pearl. but not amethyst as commonly reported.
Egypt. Figure 17. Dynasty 17). Harrell. Dynasty 18. Second Intermediate Period (reign of Sobekemsaf II.74) and so may have been imported from there. on sides and bottom. 1994: 284). The Fourth Cataract is also a possible source for the red garnet used by the Egyptians. it is conceivable that during the Dynastic Period some carnelian came from distant Asian sources such as the famous carnelian deposits in western India’s Gujarat state. this gemstone.” “great. Egyptological literature that carnelian pebbles are commonly found in the wadi gravels of the Eastern Desert (e. El-Amarna. The claim is based on an early misidentification of ordinary (non-chalcedonic) quartz pebbles with reddish (iron oxide) coloring as carnelian. Dark green jasper heart-scarab amulet set in hollow sheet-gold plinth. Red jasper girdle-tie-of-Isis amulet. UEE 2012 13 .” and “he is strong. Yellow jasper plaque of Amenhotep II inscribed with figure of a horse and hieroglyphs for “Amun. Qurna. de Heinzelin and Paepe 1965: 45). Figure 18. but similar deposits have also been reported along the Nile in Nubia near Wadi Halfa (e.” “majesty. Dynasty 18. along with common agate and sardonyx. which are known to have been exploited since the third millennium BCE (Kenoyer et al.. New Kingdom. Lucas 1962: 391). as this area has abundant gem-quality Gemstones.g.g. However. Amber Taweret amulet.. Chapter 30B. Hieroglyphic inscriptions from Book of the Dead. Given that lapis lazuli was able to travel from Afghanistan to Egypt as early as the late Predynastic Period.” Egypt. Figure 19. Egypt. is found in the Nile terrace gravels in the Fourth Cataract region of northern Sudan (Harrell 2010: 72 . Figure 20. but this is not true.
Hippopotamus ivory figure of a woman. Berenike. Roman Period. Predynastic Badarian Period. ElBadari. Although copper and. Egypt. they were too soft to work the hard igneous and metamorphic rocks in which most gemstones occur. Figure 23. Predynastic Badarian Period. but the small crystal masses and thin veins where gemstones are typically found resulted in generally smaller workings. and for these the stone tools were superior. Gemstones. Egypt. later. Egypt. the crystals found so far are all of either poor quality or minute size. Elephant-ivory cosmetic jar in the form of a hippopotamus. Stone tools were largely replaced by “iron” ones (actually low-grade steel) toward the end of the Late Period. bronze picks and chisels were available during the Dynastic Period. Figure 21. crystals in the placer deposits of the seasonally dry Nile River channels (Harrell 2010: 81 . Gold wire and pearl earring. second century CE. Both hand-held and hafted stone tools known as pounders or mauls were used to hack out pieces of gem-bearing bedrock. El-Mustagidda. Harrell. Mining and Carving The extraction technologies employed at ancient Egyptian gemstone mines are essentially the same as those at the ornamental stone quarries (see Harrell 2012b). UEE 2012 14 . Although rocks with red garnet are relatively common in the Eastern Desert and Sinai.82). Mine excavations were usually surface pits Figure 22.
Second Intermediate Period. and which they had in great abundance. but there is no credible archaeological evidence for this. with beads being the most common. massive macrocrystalline quartz ( silicified sandstone or quartzite). It is often claimed that the Egyptians used emery (a granular combination of corundum and iron oxide. Harrell. Figure 25. Dynasty 12. El-Mustagidda. and trenches. Figure 24. always occurring in relatively small pieces. and polished by the material itself—the process simply takes longer than when a harder abrasive is used. Mohs = 8-9) as an abrasive. was silica (SiO2) in its many forms. Mother-of-pearl shell pendant or amulet inscribed with cartouche of Senusret I. (2000: 12 . Egypt. Egypt. the latter probably done on a slab of silicified sandstone. Such drills were equipped with a bit consisting of either a chip of chert or a copper/bronze wire that was used together with fine quartz sand. and loose macrocrystalline quartz (sand). especially for the harder gemstones like emerald (Mohs = 7. would have been carried from the mines on the backs of men or pack animals (probably donkeys).13) report a notable collection of tiny chert drill bits and partially drilled Gemstones. Raw pieces of gemstone were first roughly shaped by a combination of chipping and grinding. During the Dynastic Period. but those for emerald and turquoise also involved underground excavations like those found in the ancient gold workings. diamond (Mohs = 10) and corundum (Mohs = 9) were almost certainly imported into Egypt from India and used as abrasives. most notably: massive microcrystalline quartz (chert or flint). Pan-grave culture. Emery from Mediterranean or Eastern sources may also have been employed as an abrasive at this time. which were the many quartz varieties with a Mohs hardness of 7. ground. the Egyptians had no abrasive material harder than the hardest gemstones they worked. UEE 2012 15 . What the Egyptians surely did use.5-8) and sapphire (blue corundum). Shell-bead girdle or belt. During the late Ptolemaic and Roman Periods. Silica was thus a sufficiently effective abrasive for the Dynastic gemstones. Any material can be cut. which did the actual cutting under the impulse of the wire bit. They were brought to workshops where they were laboriously fashioned into their many forms. Bavay et al. The raw gemstones. Hand-powered drills were used to pierce beads and other objects carved from gemstones.
and statues. was probably done with a chert graver or perhaps the same kind of drill used to perforate beads. but for the larger objects it was probably accomplished through rubbing with a fine quartz sand paste applied. London. If. An especially vivid example of this is the Roman-era mummy portrait in Figure 28. mummy coffins. and this process is illustrated in an 18th-Dynasty tomb scene in Figure 27. they were nevertheless effective as experimentally demonstrated by Gorelick and Gwinnett (1990) and Stocks (2003: 203 . carnelian. and rock crystal beads and flakes that were recovered from a deposit at Hierakonpolis dating to either the Early Dynastic Period or Old Kingdom (now in the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology. in the case of seals and other glyptic works. Dynasty 6. Archaeologists and art historians have not only the gemstone objects themselves to study. and if this was a hard rock like silicified sandstone. apparently with spoons. The gemstone being drilled is not specified. Egypt. then it seems only a rough smoothing effect could be achieved by this means. Thus sand was added not only to the drill holes. Drills were originally driven by hand with a backand-forth twisting motion. This is depicted in the right vignette of the 6th-Dynasty tomb scene in Figure 26. the worker at the center of the scene is bent over a table and rubbing the beads over one another by hand. UEE 2012 16 . where the hieroglyphic text above says “lapidaries (msnSdw) boring (wbA) carnelian (Hrst). These same manufacturing techniques would have been applied to other gemstone objects. but the orange color of the finished bead strings to the right of the workmen suggests that it was carnelian. UC 14877). but also to the mass of beads being polished. Carnelian bead-manufacturing scene from tomb of Aba at Deir el-Gebrawi. are vessels. The two workmen appear to be rubbing pieces of carnelian across the surface of a rock slab. perhaps. which must be for the quartz sand abrasive. Polishing may also have been done the same way as it was for beads. In Figure 26.” The rotation was done more efficiently with bows. the text above the left vignette says “lapidaries polishing (snaa) carnelian” but it is not clear how this was accomplished from the drawing. but also many depictions of gemstone jewelry on tomb and temple walls. amethyst. fine quartz sand had been added to the slab’s surface then this could conceivably result in polishing. with a piece of cloth or leather. Although the ancient Egyptian bead drills were primitive and cumbersome. obsidian. Figures 26 and 27 also illustrate the final step in the preparation of beads: polishing. Figure 26. Carving and engraving. Gemstones. where the bowstrings were intertwined around one or more drill shafts. however. On the ground. Harrell. In Figure 27. and in this way polishing them. The woman in this portrait wears emerald and amethyst necklaces of similar date and appearance to those shown in Figure 2.224). below him and the workers with bow drills.
Aldred (1971). with the latter replacing the still useful Lucas (1962). and Wilkinson (1971) are earlier but still valuable accounts of Egyptian Gemstones. Vilímková (1969). and outer necklace of amethyst and gold with two pearls dangling from the large emerald cabochon in center. (Note that the two necklaces resemble those in Figure 2. Bibliographic Notes The most comprehensive treatments of ancient Egyptian gemstones are Andrews (1990: 37 . Figure 28. UEE 2012 17 . Dynasty 18. both with many excellent color photographs. Harrell. (2000). Figure 27. Roman Period. early second century CE. Mummy portrait of woman wearing earrings and inner necklace of emerald and gold. Egypt. Andrews (1990 and 1994) are the best references on ancient Egyptian jewelry and amulets. Carnelian bead-manufacturing scene from tomb of Sobekhotep at Thebes.) Hawara.65) and Aston et al.
library.112. 2012c) on building stones. ed.). Aston. Vincenzo 1998 The “Libyan Desert glass” scarab in Tutankhamen’s pectoral. and Harrell (2012a. Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press. Thierry. London: British Museum Press. pp. Barbara Adams. G. References Aldred. 277 . London: Egypt Exploration Fund. F. (Republished 1991 as Ancient Egyptian jewelry. Journal of Social Archaeology 6. Bavay. Nicholson and Ian Shaw.ucla. New York: Harry N. Sahara 10. Related UEE articles are Bloxam (2010) on general quarrying and mining. 2010 Quarrying and mining (stone). Gemstones. Jacques Navez. Paul T. El Ramly. London: Thames and Hudson. Harris (1961: 95 140) discusses ancient Egyptian names for gemstones. de Michele. Cyril 1971 Jewels of the pharaohs: Egyptian jewelry of the Dynastic Period.. ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. DePutter and Karlshausen (1992) provide examples of Egyptian objects made from many of the gemstones (as well as ornamental stones) and supply good color photographs of them. Ivanov. 5 . S. and Benito Piacenza 1999 L’amazzonite di Eghei Zuma (Tibesti settentrionale. Maryvonne. O. Claude Traunecker. Milan: Segrate/Pyramids. de Heinzelin. pp. ed. Carol 1990 Ancient Egyptian jewellery. In Willeke Wendrich (ed. Los Angeles. and G. 3 . and utilitarian stones.) 1997 Silica ’97: Meeting on Libyan Desert glass and related desert events: Proceedings. Cahiers de Recherches de l’Institut de Papyrologie et d’Égyptologie de Lille 16. 107 . James A. pp. Andrews. El Ramly. M.77.do?ark=21198/zz0026jkd5 Chartier-Raymond. Laurent. de Michele. 30 . Amer.62) consider mining and trading expeditions for Egyptian gemstones. Harrell. Bloxam. Fred Wendorf. 2012b. Vincenzo. 31 . Jean.20. Elizabeth 2006 Miners and mistresses: Middle Kingdom mining on the margins. (2003: 53 . Davies. M. pp. jewelry. 109 . F. 5 .) 1994 Amulets of ancient Egypt. pp. S. and Luc André 2000 The origin of obsidian in Predynastic and Early Dynastic Upper Egypt. pp. Sahara 11. Z. UEE 2012 18 .27. pp. Abrams. Bruxelles: Connaissance de l’Égypte Ancienne. and Christina Karlshausen 1992 Les pierres utilisées dans la sculpture et l'architecture de l'Égypte pharaonique: Guide pratique illustré. and Shaw (2002) and Wendrich et al. and Ian Shaw 2000 Stones. Cairo: United Arab Republic Geological Survey. and Roland Paepe 1965 The geological history of the Nile Valley in Sudanese Nubia: Preliminary results. S. S. Kochin 1970 General review of the mineral potentials of Egypt. Abteilung Kairo 56. Ivonov. de Michele. Gachechiladze. and A. ornamental stones. DePutter.77. D. Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts. F. In Ancient Egyptian materials and technology. Norman de Garis 1902 The rock tombs of Deir el-Gebrawi I: Tomb of Aba and smaller tombs of the southern group. Barbara. http://digital2.56. respectively.303. Thierry De Putter. In Contributions to the prehistory of Nubia.edu/viewItem.109. Moharram. Harrell. In Studies on some mineral deposits of Egypt. London: British Museum Press. UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology. Vincenzo (ed. and Jean-Marc Vinçon 1994 Les sites miniers pharaoniques du Sud-Sinaï: Quelques notes et observations de terrain. Libia). Brigitte Gratien.
pp. geological and archaeological assessment of the Septuagint. (Forthcoming. UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology. Jérémine. pp. Cairo: Service des Antiquités de l’Égypte. Iraq 30.14. Steven Sidebotham. and John Koivula 1993 Emeralds and green beryls of Upper Egypt. Minerva 15(6). pp. Herrmann. John Raymond 1961 Lexicographical studies in ancient Egyptian minerals.250.edu/viewItem. 141 . John Gwinnett 1990 Innovative lapidary craft techniques in Neolithic Jarmo. 100 . pp.. Ahmed 1952 The inscriptions of the amethyst mines at Wadi El-Hudi. pp. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Bridget Allchin. Klein. In Living traditions: Studies in the ethnoarchaeology of South Asia. Bulletin de la Société Géologique de France 6(1). In Willeke Wendrich (ed. Los Angeles. 243 .74. Gübelin. 71 .172. ed.do?ark=21198/zz002c10gb 2012b Ornamental stones. UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology.306.. James A.edu/viewItem.390. 1938 The mines of the western Nubian Desert and the ancient road to Tushka. Giveon. Harrell. Harris. 26 . Jennifer Gates. Massimo Vidale. 2004 Archaeological geology of the world’s first emerald mine. Gustave Calderon. Egyptian Archaeology 30. and A. pp. Gemstones. Geoscience Canada 31(2). James A. Jennings. and Jean-Louis Rivard 2006 The Ptolemaic to early Roman amethyst mine at Abu Diyeiba in Egypt’s Eastern Desert.76. Elisabeth. http://digital2. Harrell. 16 . In Willeke Wendrich (ed. Sudan. James A. 65 . pp.). James. Cornelis. Robert. Bulletin de l’Institut français d’archéologie orientale 106. and Kuldeep Bhan 1994 Carnelian bead production in Khambhat. Los Angeles. Tokyo: Gakuseisha. 12 . Gems and Gemology 29(2).84. James A. Gems and Gemology 17(1). Engelbach. and Barbara Dutrow 2008 Manual of mineral science: After James D.ucla.ucla. Berlin: Akademie Verlag. Hoboken: John Wiley and Sons. Minerva 21(6).). pp. André Kovaltchouk. Kenoyer. Bulletin for Biblical Research 21(2). Gadansk Archaeological Museum African Reports 7.28. http://digital2. 127 . Archeomaterials 4. Jonathon. and Ali Osman 2007 Ancient amazonite mines in the Eastern Desert. and Elizabeth Bloxam 2010 Egypt’s evening emerald. Sandréa 1951 Sur une pegmatite à amazonite du Tibesti. Harrell. pp.57. 25 . In Willeke Wendrich (ed. Dana (23rd ed.library.library.162. Edward 1981 Zabargad: The ancient peridot island in the Red Sea. Gorelick. Fourth Nile Cataract. pp. and Steven Sidebotham 2004 Wadi Abu Diyeiba: An amethyst mine in Egypt’s Eastern Desert.) 2012c Utilitarian stones. 281 . Roger Bagnall. Harrell. 2011 Old Testament gemstones: A philological. Harrell.).). Mohamed El Baz. Annales du Service des Antiquités de l’Égypte 38. UEE 2012 19 . Fakhry. Sylvie Marchand. Reginald 1933 The mines of the Western Desert: A preliminary report. Maurice Lelubre. pp. Los Angeles. pp.8. Robert Kammerling. 2010 Archaeological geology of Hosh el-Guruf. 2 . pp. 21 .19. Leonard. pp. 369 . and A. Annales du Service des Antiquités de l’Égypte 33. Georgina 1968 Lapis lazuli: The early phases of its trade. India: An ethnoarchaeological study.. 2012a Building stones.115.32. UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology. pp. Raphael 1978 The stones of Sinai speak.do?ark=21198/zz002bqsfg Harrell. 69 .
London: Routledge. Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 79.251. Paul T. Harrell.). Badakhshan.215. pp. and Hendrikje Nouwens 2008 The red land: The illustrated archaeology of Egypt’s Eastern Desert. pp. Olga.87.. Sahara 15.). Gemstones. Jean. (Republished 2006 in Excavating Asian history: Interdisciplinary studies in archaeology and history. Journal of Economic and Social History of the Orient 46(1). Paul T.) Wilkinson. Read.190. Hendrikje Nouwens. 7 . and Ian Shaw. Shaw. Harrell 2004 Preliminary report on archaeological fieldwork at Sikait (Eastern Desert of Egypt) and environs in 2002 – 2003. Phillips. Pierre Bariand. Ian 2002 Life on the edge: Gemstones. and Andreas Murr 2002 Geo-archäologischer survey im Wadi el-Hudi.66.30. pp. Cairo: American University in Cairo Press. politics and stress in the deserts of Egypt and Nubia. London: British Museum Press. ed. pp.ucla. Rosemarie.97. In Ancient Egyptian materials and technology. Journal of Roman Archaeology 12. and Roger Bagnall 2003 Berenike crossroads: The integration of information. Peter 2005 Gemmology (3rd ed.66. pp. Alix 1971 Ancient Egyptian jewellery. Harrell. Shaw. revised and enlarged by John Richard Harris.do?ark=21198/zz0017jtts Petrie. 15 . ed. Geburstag am 12 März 2000. London: Edward Arnold. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Nicholson. Shaw. James A. A. ed. Stocks. 53 . Wyart. pp. and Jean Filippi 1981 Lapis lazuli from Sar-E-Sang. pp. 320 . Klemm. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. Steven. Klemm. Roberta Tomber. Vilímková. pp. 203 . Nicholson. ed. and Robert Morkot 2000 Ivory and related materials. Steven Sidebotham. UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology. Denys 2003 Stoneworking technology in ancient Egypt. Steven. Ian. Krzyszkowska. Lucas. London: John Murray. Afghanistan. Martin Hense. Martin Hense. Judith Bunbury. Gems and Gemology 17(4). In Festschrift Arne Eggebrecht zum 65. René Cappers. 244 . 81 . A. UEE 2012 20 . Jacke 2000 Ostrich eggshells. Sidebotham.) Nicholson. Wendrich. http://digital2. Alfred 1962 Ancient Egyptian materials and industries. In Egypt and Nubia: Gifts of the desert. Hildesheimer Ägyptologische Beiträge 48.331. Paul T. 332 333. 184 .edu/viewItem. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. London: Paul Hamlyn. and James A. pp. Sidebotham. In Willeke Wendrich (ed. Los Angeles. London: Muthuen and Company. Milada 1969 Egyptian jewellery. Willemina Z. (Originally published 1926. London: NAG Press. and Ian Shaw. William Matthew Flinders 1906 Researches in Sinai. Hildesheim: Gerstenberg Verlag. Ian. 46 . Arne Eggebrecht. Renée Friedman. In Ancient Egyptian materials and technology. and Robert Jameson 1993 Amethyst mining in the Eastern Desert: A preliminary survey at Wadi el-Hudi. and Robert Jameson 1999 Emerald mining in Roman and Byzantine Egypt. 2009 Faience technology. 4th edition. Dietrich D.library.
carnelian (orangey-red).5 cm. University College. British Museum EA 35116. Photograph courtesy of The Brooklyn Museum of Art. Thebes.6 cm.8 cm. Egypt. el-Lahun. Metallic hematite Taweret figure. Length of necklace 82 cm. width of pectoral 8. Possibly from Saqqara. London. Amulet in form of Ba bird with cloisonné inlays of lapis lazuli (dark blue). lapis lazuli (large dark blue oblate spheroid beads—both smooth and ribbed). Necklaces. Gemstones. London.1. Photograph copyright: Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology. pp. and turquoise set in gold. ed. British Museum EA 8308. Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology UC 51423. Figure 9. Early third century CE. width 6. London. London. Harrell.2 cm. Width 2. Dynasty 18. London.804E.4 cm. London. length 5. Roman Period. beads of carnelian (orangey red). Egypt. Necklace with drop beads of amazonite (light bluish green).1 cm. and gold. Height 2. Inner: gold and amethyst cabochons. Albert Leonard and Bruce Beyer Williams.5 cm. British Museum EA 2731. Figure 5. plus pectoral with cartouche of Senusret II and cloisonné inlays of carnelian.9 cm. Photograph courtesy of The British Museum. Egypt. Second century CE. dark blue glass (large oblate spheroid and tiny cylindrical beads replacing lapis lazuli in the design). Length of necklace 45. Malachite scarab amulet. Photograph courtesy of the British Museum. lapis lazuli. Tomb of the Three Princesses. Photograph courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Zarins. width 4. and smaller spherical beads of amazonite. Obsidian sphinx figure. Figure 8. Image Credits Figure 1. Dynasty 12. possibly of Amenemhat III. and. Middle Kingdom. turquoise (light blue). Juris 1989 Ancient Egypt and the Red Sea trade: The case for obsidian in the Pre-dynastic and Archaic Periods. Chicago: Oriental Institute. British Museum EA 66827.5 cm. Length 40 cm. Roman Period. Map of ancient Egyptian gemstone mines (numbered). Tomb of princess Sithathoryunet. Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology UC 52072. In Essays in ancient civilization presented to Helen J.0 cm. height of amulet 2. New York. Figure 4. Necklace with convex bicone beads of amethyst and a central amazonite Ba bird amulet. Photograph copyright: Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology. Length 41. Egypt. carnelian (large orangey red convex bicone and tiny cylindrical beads). width 1. Kantor. amethyst (purple). Brooklyn Museum of Art 37. possibly New Kingdom. Figure 10. possibly Middle Kingdom. Figure 7. London. Egypt. turquoise (light blue). Dynasty 26. Length approximately 58 cm. Late or Ptolemaic Period. possibly from Egypt. Dynasty 12. Outer: gold and emerald beads (hexagonal crystal segments). Photograph courtesy of The British Museum. String of spherical beads of red garnet and. Figure 11. 339 368. London. Figure 3.3. Drawing by author. Originally loose jewelry elements restrung as a necklace. British Musuem EA 2749. University College. Height 3. depth 1. Photograph courtesy of The British Museum.5 cm.3 cm. width 1. and gold.8 cm.16 cm. Height 2. Submetallic hematite headrest amulet. Figure 6. and gold. Late Period. British Museum EA 65506. Length of outer string 65. London. Figure 2. Photograph courtesy of The British Museum. on shoulder and tail. brownish-gray steatite in gold setting. UEE 2012 21 . London.8 cm. at each end. Metropolitan Museum of Art 16. lapis lazuli (dark blue). similar to those depicted in Figure 28 mummy portrait. British Museum EA 64594. Egypt. Height 6 cm. with amazonite (large bluish-green convex bicone and oblate spheroid beads—both smooth and ribbed). Brooklyn. Photograph courtesy of The British Museum. London.
El-Mustagidda. London. Shubin Collection ms-010. Roman Period. Height 8. London. Chapter 30B. Length approximately 51 cm. Photograph courtesy of The British Museum. possibly Middle Kingdom. Egypt. London. width 7. Gold wire and pearl earring. Egypt. Mother-of-pearl shell pendant or amulet inscribed with cartouche of Senusret I. width 3. possibly Late Period. Hieroglyphic inscriptions from Book of the Dead.1. Height approximately 1. Figure 20.4 cm. Figure 19. Egypt. Berenike. thickness 1. Figure 12. Height 6.” Egypt. Height 2. String of convex bicone and barrel beads of common agate (black/dark gray and white wavy banding).4 cm. Photograph courtesy of The British Museum. El-Mustagidda.” Egypt. Chalcedony buttons of both the common (white) and carnelian (orangey-red) varieties. thickness approximately 0. Egypt. Length 3.0 cm. London. Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology UC 68089. Michael J. Figure 14.7 cm. Egypt.7 cm. British Museum EA 65268. second century CE. New Kingdom. University College. Egypt. Dynasty 12.” “great. Harrell. Figure 18. Photograph copyright: Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology. Figure 17. London. Figure 23. thickness 2. sardonyx (reddish brown and white planar banding). British Museum EA 63057.4 mm. Egypt. Ptolemaic Period. University College.2 cm.3 cm. Red jasper girdle-tie-of-Isis amulet. possibly Ptolemy XII. Egypt. Figure 22. Photograph courtesy of The British Museum. 2436 b-D-4848.3 cm. Elephant-ivory cosmetic jar in the form of a hippopotamus. University College. Photograph courtesy of The British Museum. length 1. Figure 21. Figure 24. Dark green jasper heart-scarab amulet set in hollow sheet-gold plinth. Figure 16. Amber Taweret amulet. width approximately 1. Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology UC 69831. London. Qurna. Photograph courtesy of The British Museum.8 cm. London. Peridot ring stone carved with male head. UEE 2012 22 . London. Egypt. Dynasty 18.3 cm.2 cm. El-Amarna. Photograph courtesy of Lisbet Thoresen. University College.5 cm.6 cm.” “majesty. Height 14 cm. British Museum EA 20641.7 cm. Shell-bead girdle or belt.1 . thickness 3. Photograph courtesy of The British Museum. British Museum EA 7876. El-Badari. Photograph copyright: Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology. London. Egypt. Tell Dafana. String of convex bicone and drop beads and central “leg” amulet of carnelian with inhomogeneous coloring.9 cm. London. on sides and bottom.5 mm.036. Pan-grave culture. onyx (black/dark gray and white planar banding). Dynasty 18. Photograph copyright: Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology. mid-first century BCE. Photograph copyright: Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology. Egypt. Photograph courtesy of The British Museum. Roman Period. width 1. width 1. British Museum EA 4077. Dynasty 17).0 cm. width 3. British Museum EA 63257. London. Height 5. Length 35 cm. length 7. width 2. Gemstones. Figure 13. Figure 25. Rock crystal (colorless quartz) cosmetic jar with hieroglyphic inscription: “offering given by the king” and “towards the gods.2 cm.8 cm. Hippopotamus ivory figure of a woman. Diameter 11. Second Intermediate Period. London. London. Dynasty 6. British Museum EA 23471. Height 0. Excavation registry number BE97-17. Photograph courtesy of Berenike Project/Bastiaan Seldenthuis. London.5 cm.1 mm. and carnelian (solid orangey-red). Figure 15.8 cm. London. Length 2. Yellow jasper plaque of Amenhotep II inscribed with figure of a horse and hieroglyphs for “Amun. Second Intermediate Period (reign of Sobekemsaf II. Diameter 1. Predynastic Badarian Period. Predynastic Badarian Period. Photograph courtesy of The British Museum. British Museum EA 59648.” and “he is strong. London.1 cm. Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology UC 51356. Length 55. Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology UC 58016.
and outer necklace of amethyst and gold with two pearls dangling from the large emerald cabochon in center. Egypt. British Museum EA 920. Photograph courtesy of The British Museum. London.5 cm. Figure 26. Drawing adapted by author from Davies 1902: pls. Dynasty 6. Mummy portrait of woman wearing earrings and inner necklace of emerald and gold. UEE 2012 23 . British Museum EA 74706.2 cm. Dynasty 18. Harrell. width 20. Carnelian bead-manufacturing scene from tomb of Sobekhotep at Thebes. 13 and 14 (the original color painting is still in situ). Carnelian bead-manufacturing scene from tomb of Aba at Deir el-Gebrawi. width 79 cm. (Note that the two necklaces resemble those in Figure 2.) Hawara. Outlines of the word for carnelian (herset) have been added. Figure 28. early second century CE. Egypt. Height 38. Roman Period. London. Photograph courtesy of The British Museum. Figure 27. Height 66 cm. Gemstones.
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