loved to wear broad necklaces, which we call collars. Most paintings or
statues of well-off Egyptians show them wearing a collar, and many actual
collars have been found. Most of these are made from tube-shaped beads, or
beads shaped like flower buds. Some collars were made from actual flowers,
now dried up after thousands of years. The rich could afford collars made
from gold and semi-precious stones, like carnelian, turquoise, lapis lazuli,
Ramses I wearing a
Collar of faience (glass) beads in the Manchester Museum
Tutankhamun's Gold Falcon Collar
Here is one of Tutankhamun's collars. It represents a falcon and is made
from sheet gold, engraved.
Many collars had a counterweight at the back. This was to balance the
collar. The front half could be quite heavy and so the collar would tend to
fall forward. The counterweight stopped this.
The Egyptian for collar was 'wesekh', which means 'wide'.
Inside his innermost coffin Tutankhamun was buried
with six collars, each with falcon heads at the ends. This amazing example
was found draped over the king's thighs.
The collar has 11 main
sections made of gold, as well as a counterweight. Each section has 8 rows
of plaques, made of coloured glass. The glass was meant to imitate
semi-precious stones: light blue for turquiose, dark blue for lapis
lazuli, and red for carnelian. The ninth row represents flower buds.
This collar is made from dried up flower petals, leaves, papyrus,
berries, faience beads, and linen cloth. It was found in Tutankhamun's
embalming cache - a store of items related to Tutankhamun's burial - in
the Valley of the Kings. It is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in
The plants are: olive
leaves, persea leaves, cornflowers, blue lotus petals, Picris flowers, and
Collar of Neferuptah
This stunning necklace belonged to Princess Neferuptah of the 12th
dynasty. It was found in her tomb, which was near the pyramid of her
father, King Amenemhat III (who ruled around 1860-1814BC).
collar is made of hundreds of beads, made from gold, carnelian, feldspar
and glass paste. Once again there are flower buds at the bottom and
falcon's heads at the ends, with a counterweight at the back.
This colourful collar is made of faience (glass) beads, shaped and
coloured to look like the buds, petals, and fruits of various plants.
The collar was made in the time of pharaoh Akhenaten, around
1353-1336BC (just before Tutankhamun was born).
At parties someone
might wear a collar of real leaves and flowers; this version would last
much longer and was more suitable for the afterlife.