In many of our previous blogs, we have spoken of Egypt and its use of gold and gems. Egyptians were the first to have organized production of jewelry and their work in advancement of metallurgy and collection of gems impacted jewelry development in every civilization that came after.
One piece of jewelry, the funerary mask of King Tutankhamun, has captivated the world since its discovery in 1925 in Tut’s burial chamber in the Valley of the Kings. Found in the innermost of three coffins, the gold mask rested on the shoulders of the mummy and weighs in at 24 pounds. It is constructed of two sheets of gold, hammered together. The mask has two alloys of gold, 18.4-karat for the face and neck and 22.5-karat for the rest of the mask. The mask includes gems as well – lapis lazuli for the eye surrounds and eyebrows, quartz for the eyes, obsidian for the pupils. The collar includes carnelian, feldspar, turquoise, amazonite, faience and other stones. The tomb also include over 100 pieces of jewelry including beads, bracelets, rings, amulets and necklaces.
Our fascination with King Tutankhamun and his treasures is endless. Have you seen the mask and other jewelry of Tut in person? Share your impressions and favorite pieces on Bridgewaters Facebook page.