Faience openwork collar

From Tell el-Amarna, Egypt
Mid-18th Dynasty, around 1345 BC

Polychrome faience openwork collar with inlaid terminals

Faience was a very versatile material and extremely well suited to making small items such as elements of jewellery. The material, sometimes termed 'glazed composition' from the technique used, was produced by heating crushed quartz and natron, with a pigment, until they fused. Pottery moulds were used to make small objects, such as necklace elements and amulets. Many of these moulds have been found littering the sites of faience workshops at the city of Tell el-Amarna.

Faience was cheap to make and could be used to manufacture jewellery on an industrial scale. The addition of pigments to the ingredients allowed a range of colours to be produced, which in the New Kingdom (1550-1070 BC) included red, yellow, green, blue and white. The most popular time for polychrome faience was in the mid-eighteenth Dynasty, during the Amarna Period.

This openwork collar is typical of the type of jewellery produced in the Amarna Period. The collar is made up entirely of floral designs. The lotus flowers on the rectangular terminals are inlaid with blue, turquoise and red glazes. The vertical spacers consist of yellow mandrake fruits, green palm leaves, and purple tipped white lotus petals. These are separated by tiny beads of blue, yellow and red.

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Faience openwork collar

  • Men at work making faience bead collars

    Men at work making faience bead collars


More information


C.A.R. Andrews, Eternal Egypt: treasures from, exh. cat. (Hong Kong, Museum of Art, 1998)

S. Quirke and A.J. Spencer, The British Museum book of anc (London, The British Museum Press, 1992)


Length: 50.800 cm

Museum number

EA 59334


Gift of the Egypt Exploration Society


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