The Egyptians wore amulets alongside other pieces of jewellery. They were decorative, but also served a practical purpose, being considered to bestow power and protection upon the wearer. Many of the amulets have been found inside the wrappings of mummies, as they were used to prepare the deceased for the afterlife.
The Djed pillar amulet was one of the most common of all those placed on the mummy. A number of them could be strung around the lower torso, or placed singly on the upper chest or around the neck. The Djed pillar symbolized stability and endurance. Its form was said to represent the pole around which grain was tied, but it later became the representation of the backbone of the god, Osiris.
A spell in the Book of the Dead activates such an amulet. It says:
‘Raise yourself up Osiris! You have your backbone once more, O weary-hearted One; you have your vertebrae!’
To find out more about the use of carnelian in Ancient Egyptian culture please see our relevant blog post: The Significance of Carnelian in Ancient Egyptian Culture.