Goldsmiths and jewellers

Gold ring with cloisonné inlays,
New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty,
1332 – 1323 BC

The place to which the gold and semi-precious stones collected during royal expeditions were taken for safekeeping was the royal palace treasury, which also housed the workshops of the goldsmiths and jewellers. These artisans were tasked with turning the materials found into royal ornaments and pieces of jewellery (including crowns, necklaces, bracelets, rings, mirrors, fans, harps, vessels, smaller objects, gold masks, magnificent weapons and furniture ornaments) mainly for use by the royal court or royal family either in life or in the afterlife (as grave goods), but sometimes as gifts or awards for deserving subjects. They also created golden objects used to perform the daily religious rituals in the temples. These included altars, libation vessels, statues, statuettes and pennants. Private people were able to acquire goldsmiths’ works only to a limited extent – a privilege that was to become more widespread in the New Kingdom.

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