The Tutankhamun Exhibit
Jewelry and Ornamentation
Rigid Udjat Eye Bracelet
The central feature of this bracelet is an udjat eye. It is made of two pieces of electrum of unequal width: a front plate bearing the representation of the eye inlaid partly with lapis lazuli and partly with dark blue glass, the pupil being obsidian, and a narrower wrist strap. The two pieces are connected, at one end, by a hinge with a fixed pin and, at the other end, by a clasp that resembles the hinge in construction, but has a removable pin with a projecting eyelet at the base. This bracelet was placed immediately beneath the flexible bracelet on the right forearm of Tutankhamun's mummy.
Perhaps in order to avoid an abrupt transition in width, the artist who designed the bracelet adopted a device found in other bracelets. At each end of the strap is a V-shaped floral motif consisting of an open poppy flanked by two lotus buds. The stems of the flowers are tied by a gold band at the base so that the entire cluster is equal in width at the top to the plate and at the bottom to the strap. The petals of the poppy are represented in translucent quartz painted red underneath; the buds are made of blue glass. The strap is divided into rectangular compartments, some of which are inlaid with colored glass, quartz painted like the poppy petals, and resin; the intervening spaces are decorated with triangular designs in granular work.
Much of Tutankhamun's jewelry is adorned with minute grains of gold applied to a background of the same metal by, it is now believed, a process known as colloidal hard soldering. By this process the grains were first stuck to the background by an adhesive consisting probably of powdered malachite mixed with gum and the whole piece was then subjected to carefully regulated heat until only the copper in the malachite of the adhesive remained un-vaporized. At that stage the heat was slightly increased, and the gold in contact with the copper melted, producing a firmly welded join. Granular decoration had been used by Egyptian jewelers for centuries before the time of Tutankhamun.