Which of the following minerals
were commonly used by ancient Egyptians in ornamentation? (A) Clay and malachite, (B)
amethyst and malachite, (C) feldspar and turquoise, (D) amethyst and clay.
The ancient Egyptian people used a
variety of colorful minerals, including gemstones, to construct or enhance royal
masks, jewelry, amulets, animal figurines, sarcophagi plinths, and embalming
tables. Multicolored clay was widely
abundant in the floodplain deposits of the Nile River valley. Ancient populations used clay to
make ceramic pottery, mummify corpses, and for therapeutic purposes, such as wound
healing. However, clay was not commonly used
in ornamentation. So we can eliminate the answers
clay and malachite and amethyst and clay.
This leaves us to consider
amethyst, malachite, feldspar, and turquoise. Amethyst is crystalline quartz that
ranges in color from pale lilac to a deep-reddish purple. During the middle kingdom, several
amethyst mines were established in the eastern desert that produced an exceptional
quantity and quality of amethyst and resulted in widespread amethyst distribution
across Egypt. Surviving artifacts show that
amethyst was used to create beads, scarab amulets, and necklaces.
Malachite is a copper-bearing
mineral with a bright-green color. Malachite was mined extensively
between Mount Sinai and the Suez Canal. It was worn as an eye paint, lined
the headdresses of pharaohs, and was carved into attractive gemstones, jewelry, and
While a variety of attractive
feldspar minerals were available to ancient Egyptians, recovering high-quality
intact specimens would have been difficult. So while there are surviving pieces
of ancient Egyptian jewelry and figurines made of feldspar, these objects are
Turquoise is a blue-green mineral
that was used to make beads and amulets. While there is evidence of the use
of turquoise by ancient Egyptians, turquoise was a rare commodity.
So, although there is evidence that
all four minerals were used by ancient Egyptians in ornamentation, the minerals that
were commonly used were amethyst and malachite.