DETAIL: A 4,000 year hand carved midnight blue lapis lazuli scarab, a manifestation of the ancient Egyptian God “Kepri”, similar in form to the scarabs portrayed in the blockbuster movies Mummy and The Mummy Returns. The amulet is constructed of gold-flecked (iron pyrite) lapis lazuli, a highly favored semi-precious gemstone not only Ancient Egypt, but in ancient Mesopotamia as well. Evidence suggests that lapis lazuli has been utilized as a gemstone for at least 10,000 years, making it along with pearls, turquoise, carnelian, and amber amongst the “oldest” gemstones utilized by ancient cultures for decorative purposes. This carved scarab beetle possesses glittering highlights of golden iron pyrite inclusions ("fools gold"). Scarab amulets were the focal point of many pieces of ancient Egyptian jewelry, including pedants, bracelets, as well as rings.
The ancient city of Ur had a thriving trade in lapis lazuli as early as the fourth millennium B.C., and it seems likely it might have been the source of lapis lazuli for the ancient Egyptians. Following the ancient Egyptians and Sumerians, the ancient Sumerian, Greek, and Roman cultures also highly favored lapis lazuli. Renaissance artists used ground lapis as pigment for the fabulous blue in the era’s masterpieces of art. Still very popular in Eastern Europe, the columns of St. Isaac's Cathedral are lined with lapis, and the Pushkin Palace (both in St. Petersburg) has lapis lazuli paneling! This exquisite amulet was hand carved from lapis lazuli over 4,000 years ago. This exquisitely preserved amulet is shown here mounted into a contemporary sterling silver ring. Included at no additional cost for the winner will be his or her choice of a sterling silver setting (see here) in a variety of standard sizes. Upon request both custom sizes and 14kt gold settings are available as well. Whether worn as a gold or silver ring, the scarab is quite striking, and can be worn with elegance and distinction.
CONSTRUCTION: The amulet is carved from a single piece of blue lapis lazuli. In addition to being very beautiful, lapis was soft enough to be easily worked (cut, polished, drilled, carved), but hard enough to be quite durable. This specimen is intricately carved, even to the finer details of the little legs and carapace seams. Being constructed of semi-precious lapis lazuli, it is very well preserved. Amulets such as these, even though assuredly ancient, were "mass produced" for the populace at large. It is worth noting that the exceptional condition of an artifact often not only takes into account the state of preservation, but oftentimes can also be due to the superior workmanship and artistic qualities present in the finished amulet. The detail and technique present in the finished amulet is a reflection of a skilled artisan of that distant past who left a living testament to his craftsmanship, which still speaks of his pride and abilities over forty centuries later. Conversely, a poorly skilled artisan might produce an amulet which even today may easily be recognized as an inferior product, often not much more than a crudely shaped lump of material, poorly featured with coarse detail.
HISTORY: One of the greatest civilizations of recorded history was ancient Egypt. For a mere hundred dollars or thereabouts, you can possess a small part of that great civilization in the form of an ancient amulet. These magical talismans are amongst the most sought after and highly collectible artifacts from ancient Egypt. Religion was very important to the ancient Egyptians, and they worshipped many gods. These gods and goddesses often represented the natural world, such as the sky, earth, sun, or wind. The gods took the form of animals or animal/human figures. The ancient Egyptians wore amulets, small representations of these gods, as magical charms to ward off danger. They believed that these amulets, or talismans, would not only protect them in life, but in death as well, and would endow the individual wearing them with magical powers and capabilities.
While religious beliefs in ancient Egypt played a very important role in life, they played an even larger role in death. The ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead prescribed 104 different types of amulets be buried with the mummy in order to protect the deceased on his or her journey into the afterlife. Typically pinned to or wrapped within their burial shroud, it was not uncommon to find even thousands of amulets in the possession of the mummified remains of more prominent members of that ancient civilization. Typically when mummifying the deceased, there could be as many as 80 layers of linen, and it was not unusual to place at least one amulet representation of each of the more significant deities within each layer. The manufacture of amulets and the application of the magic spells for the benefit of the deceased, were almost always overseen by Egyptian priests.
Most ancient jewelry typically used one or more of three gemstones; carnelian, turquoise, and lapis lazuli. Some of the most splendid ancient jewelry ever unearthed by archaeologists was found in Queen Pu-abi's tomb at Ur in Sumeria dating from the 3rd millennium B.C., and in the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamen's tomb. In Queen Pu-abi’s crypt she was laid to rest covered with a robe of gold, silver, lapis lazuli, carnelian, agate, and chalcedony beads. The lower edge of the robe was decorated with a fringed border of small gold, carnelian, and lapis lazuli cylinders. Near her right arm were three long gold pins with lapis lazuli heads, and three amulets in the shape of fish. Two of the fish amulets were made of gold and the third was lapis lazuli. On the queen's head were three diadems each featuring lapis lazuli.
The famous mask covering the head of Tutankhamen's mummy was inlaid primarily in lapis lazuli, with accents of turquoise and carnelian. Many other pieces of jewelry and various amulets fashioned from lapis lazuli were also found within the tomb. Lapis lazuli was also certainly popular in 3,100 B.C. with the Egyptians who used it in medicines, pigments, eye shadow, and of course, jewelry. Lapis lazuli has also been used since ancient times for mosaics and other inlaid work, carved amulets, vases, and other objects. With respect to this particular form of amulet, the scarab played a very important role in the spiritual beliefs of ancient Egypt.
The scarab is a type of dung beetle common throughout Egypt. The scarab's habit of laying eggs in animal dung, rolled into balls and pushed across the ground, was noticed by the Egyptians. The subsequent hatching of the eggs led to the Egyptians associating the scarab beetle with renewal, rebirth and resurrection. The scarab's habit of rolling up dung and pushing it across the ground eventually caused them to be associated with ancient Egyptian “Sun God” Khepri. Khepri was conceived by the ancient Egyptians as a gigantic scarab beetle rolling the Sun before him across the sky. Khepri was believed to renew the sun each day before rolling it above the horizon and carrying it through the under world after sunset. Khepri was variously represented as a scarab, a man with the face of a scarab and a man whose head was surmounted by a scarab.
Thus the sun beetle, giving light and warmth, became a popular amulet and was placed in tombs as a symbol of new life. Scarabs, as with other amulets from ancient Egypt, were buried typically for between 2,000 and 4,500 years before being unearthed inside of tombs within the last century or two. Amulets typically are between one-half and two inches in size. Amulets were extremely important to the ancient Egyptians, a focal point of both their life and their belief in the hereafter. Amulets were oftentimes worn about the neck by the ancient Egyptians, typically on a beaded necklace, though amulets were also incorporated into and worn as pendants, collars, bracelets, as well as rings.
SHIPPING: These antiquities come from a number of collections which by and large originated here in Eastern Europe. As well, additional specimens are occasionally acquired from other institutions and dealers, principally in Eastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. All of these artifacts are now in the United States and are available for immediate delivery via U.S. Mail. All purchases are backed by an unlimited guarantee of satisfaction and authenticity. If for any reason you are not entirely satisfied with your purchase, you may return it for a complete and immediate refund of your entire purchase price. A certificate of authenticity (COA) is available upon request.
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