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jewelry glossary

Antique jewelry glossary

Welcome to our extensive antique jewelry glossary with around 1,500 jewelry related entries.If you feel you are missing an explanation, feel free to let us know and we will add it.

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Heart scarab

A type of Egyptian scarab made to be buried as a talisman with the dead, placed on the breast in lieu of the heart which was removed upon mummification. Such scarabs, often larger than the scarabs worn as an amulet, were ritualistically carved of a variety of grey stone and mounted in gold, inscribed on the flat bottom with a quotation from the Book of dead (knowledge of which was believed to aid the journey of the soul), expressing a wish to the heart not to testify against the deceased at the moment of judgement before Osiris.

On some such pieces, made in Middle Kingdom (c. 2035 BC - c. 1668 BC), the beetle was carved with a human head.

From: An Illustrated Dictionary of Jewelry, autor: Harold Newman, publishers: Thames and Hudson

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