Home > 2011 Posts > Really Old Jewelry

Really Old Jewelry

I’m a Museovore.

And Museovores devour museums. Whole. In one bite if they can —  kind of like maple bars for the spirit.

Etruscan - Volterra, Italy

In every place I visit, any museum with ancient artifacts hasn’t got a chance. It’s gulped down during my stay. And, on departure, I buy the thickest book they have about their collection to read that evening.

From the British Museum in London to the smallest. local, single-room effort in rural Greece or Turkey, one type of artifact is always on display: jewelry. Ever since the time when Neanderthals walked the earth (not the wannabees from that state near New York, the real ones) there has always been jewelry.

Roman Pendant - Vienna, Austria

And it’s true for both sexes. Many experts have put forward a notion on the subject that I think makes sense: weapons are the male equivalent of jewelry, battle dress is the male equivalent of make-up and high fashion. Think camouflage face paint, ceremonial swords inlaid with gold and silver, Achilles’ shield, or a dashing cavalry officer’s uniform in a 19th century Viennese ballroom.

The jewelry photos here are just a few examples of over a thousand that I’ve taken on my own or at the gentle urging of my bride: “This one! Be sure to get a shot of this one!” In fact, as you may know, there is a world-wide business in high-quality replicas of ancient jewelry. Unfortunately, if I’d saved up a little every day since the reign of Tutankhamen, I still wouldn’t be able to afford many of them.

Egyptian, Old Kingdom Memphis, Egypt

But it’s always fun to browse. I think the most recent sparkly replica that jumped around my bride’s neck and just wouldn’t let go was lying in wait, ready to pounce, at the museum shop in Versailles.

Pesky replicas…

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