Ancient Egyptian Jewelry and Beauty

Ancient Egypt

Pyramids of Giza

Ancient Egypt is widely known for its pyramids, which symbolized the splendor of an era; but incredible architecture is not the only field in which Egyptians succeeded. Their remarkable culture also comprised great techniques when it came to jewelry and cosmetics. In fact, they were pioneers in the art of cosmetics, which men, women and children wore for protection from the sun.


In the Nile Valley, men and women adorned their bodies with several types of jewelry. To name a few, in Tutankhamun’s tomb, archaeologists found bead jewels of the most elaborate sort, fashioned from precious metal and inlaid with stones. Some examples are pectoral ornaments, pendants, collars, necklaces, earrings, fingering, bracelets and armlets. Stones included amethyst, calcite, carnelian, green feldspar, lapis lazuli, quartz and turquoise. Decorative techniques range from basic threading and soldering to cloisonné.

Given that Egyptians believed their afterlife would be an extension of their life on earth, many jewels were found in the tombs and their images carved into the walls of pyramids. The eye of Horus, symbolizing protection, and the beetle, representing reincarnation, were depicted in amulets and in the most valuable objects of the deceased.  

Ancient Egyptian Bracelet
Goddess Isis Jewelry


Egyptian people were also known for their wearing of kohl, or eye paint. The kohl was important for two main reasons: First, it was considered attractive and pleasing to the gods; Second, kohl protected the eyes from the sun’s glare and had fly-deterrent properties.  

Egyptians of all ages also used cosmetics to accentuate their eyes. They usually preferred a dark gray on the eyebrows and upper eyelids, and green on the lower lids. The cheeks and lips would often be red. They were able to obtain all these colors mostly by mixing minerals, such as galena and malachite, with vegetable oil or by powdering hematite.

Ancient Egyptian Cosmetics
Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra


In the Nile valley, Egyptians used oils and unguents, made of myrrh and alum, to protect themselves from the sun, wind, and dust. A recently translated set of papyri, called Ebers, shows us that the people from the Nile practiced peeling techniques as many as 3,500 years ago. They used particles of alabaster, mixed with milk and honey, to exfoliate their skin. Deodorants were made from mixtures of oils and flowers.

Ancient Egypt has not only given us incredible monuments, but a fascinating history of health and beauty to admire. Our team at TribeTats was fascinated with the mystique of Ancient Egypt, so we launched a new collection of Egyptian Tattoos in gold and black, featuring the Goddess Isis, Eye of Horus, Feathers, Lotus Flowers, Hieroglyphs and more. If you too are inspired and moved by the amazing culture of Egypt, check out TribeTats' Ancient Egypt Tattoo Collection.

Bonus Hint: Did you know you can create your own custom metallic tattoos for your brand, event or wedding?

Author: TribeTats Editorial Contributor Pam Flores-Lowry

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