We want it back: 1920 Egyptian revival jewelry

We want it back: 1920 Egyptian revival jewelry
11/10/2016 Alicia L.

We’re not worried because we know it’ll be right back! Fortunately, the Egyptian revival jewelry trend returns every few decades.

This topic is part of the Orientalist fever that took Europe by storm after the arrival of Napoleon in Egypt in 1789, raising the profile of Egyptian art in the West.

That was the time when Egyptian motifs and the exotic aesthetic began to be popular.

egypt napoleon

Pyramids and sphinx at Giza from Description de l’Égypte Antiquités, v. 5. A mirage in the desert, from Camille Flammarion, L’Atmosphere (Paris, 1873).

This love for the Oriental iconography crossed the ocean and arrived in America with the Chicago World’s Fair exhibition in 1893.

A little village of Cairo with costumes and belly dancers was recreated.

It caused a big shock and interest in the Middle East and North Africa began to grow.

The discovery of King Tut’s tomb

After the discovery of King Tut’s tomb in 1922 it grew even more. This interest remained into the early 60s.


Howard Carter discovers the King Tut’s tomb

All this interest was called Orientalism and was merged with the organic Art Nouveau style of that moment, embracing architecture, graphic art, interior design, and most of the decorative arts including jewelry, furniture, textiles… as well as the fine arts.

1920 Egyptian revival jewelry

The more prestigious fine jewelry firms around the world experimented with the Egyptian symbols and motifs like palm trees, sphinxes, lotus flowers, the goddess Isis, an eye of Horus, scarabs, hieroglyphs, pyramids, cobra snakes, the Ankh symbol and even mummies.

Designers such as MonetJoseff of Hollywood and Polcini were influenced by this great era of exotic jewels.

1920 Egyptian revival jewelry

1920s Pharaoh King Tut Face Head Bracelet

Egyptian jewelry linked to ancient gold opulence with semi-precious stones, so bigger was always better, especially for exotic pieces like headbands with dangling forehead pendants, oversized BIB necklaces, or heavy chain-link “slave” bracelets.

1920 Egyptian revival jewelry

Linda Darnell “Everybody Does It”, 1949

We are sure it will be back! It’s too good to be left behind! And you? Which trend of the past would you like to see back?

Via: collectorsweekly.com

Comments (11)

  1. Kat 4 years ago

    This was a interesting read, Thank you. Love how the Egyptian made use of precious stones. and animal images in there jewelry. Yes indeed, to good to leave behind!

  2. Star of the East 4 years ago

    On of the most amazing civilizations ever, what an era!

  3. Anna 4 years ago

    I love minimalist jewellery but 20’s have a special charm with the long necklaces, the beautiful hats and shoes.

  4. petitplat 4 years ago

    Egyptian jewelry is indeed quite gorgeous.

  5. Nyuta 4 years ago

    When all ladies where beautiful hats with gloves! When ladies looks like ladies 🙂

  6. Ruby 4 years ago

    Eek, this is a subject I completely lack knowledge on but this was a very nice read! I guess a trend I like is cowrie shell jewellery, possibly because I am from Africa 🙂

  7. ameba verde 4 years ago

    definitivamente demasiado recargada para mi.. jajjaa!

    • Author
      Alicia L. 4 years ago

      pero…y lo bonicas que son? qué poderío 😉

  8. millie 4 years ago

    I always loved walking on the Louvres museum, at the Egyptian corner as a young girl… Looking at all the wonderful jewelry.
    Thanks for sharing!

  9. Tina 4 years ago

    Egyptian civilization is so interesting. Very impressive pieces, would’ want to wear a snake though. 🙂

  10. Ildi 4 years ago

    Yes, I love this style!!!! Thanks for writing a small history of it:)

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