he secrets of ancient Egypt
are an intriguing part of his
tory. The artifacts found in the
tombs of the rulers of Egypt
were of particular interest to my
fifth-grade students. We explored one
type of artifact more thoroughly—the
jewelry worn by the pharaohs and
queens of long ago.
Students were interested in the
use of gold, silver, and electrum (a
mixture of gold and silver), and how it
was melted in pottery crucibles over
charcoal-burning furnaces and blown
with reed pipes until the introduction
of foot-worked bellows. The molten
metal was then poured into molds,
cooled, and hammered into shapes.
Ancient Inspires Contemporary
The designs of ancient Egyptian
jewelry can still be found in jewelry
that is worn and sold today. The lotus
flower, the scarab, and the cobra are
examples of reference material that
were available for students to peruse.
I encouraged them to do independent
research as well.
I introduced the term repoussé to
my students, which is a French term
meaning "to push into metal sheets."
I demonstrated a number of tech-
niques and explained how students
could "tool" 26-gauge aluminum
metal sheeting from both the front
and back to achieve a bas-relief effect.
Working with Aluminum
Students first designed their jewelry
with pencil on newsprint. I encour
aged a simple line design; it could
be a complete necklace, cuff, pen
E L E M E N T A R Y
Angelica May Rebolledo, grade five. Kristine Ballesteros, grade five.
36 MARCH 2017 SchoolArts