Updated: Apr 21
We interviewed Cleopatra, living Goddess and Queen of all Egypt. Her passion for jewellery and her individual sense of style are as infamous as her compelling persona. During our meeting, she revealed the power that she derives from her putting on her beautiful 'armour' and how it enables her to define her feminine strength in a masculine world.
* * * * *
'Cleopatra' image courtesy of Discovery Channel
We were led into her state rooms and left to look around, admiring the elegant and ostentatious surroundings for more than three hours until a great gong was sounded and the grand doors flung open as she was carried in and plumes of incense filled the room. She said nothing, but motioned for us to sit whilst her servants busied themselves plumping her pillows.
Q: I notice a lot of your jewellery has animal symbolism, is there a creature you identify to most?
A: (She says, with a tinkling laugh) Because of my divine origins, I find it’s most natural for me to wear this falcon headdress, it keeps me grounded and amongst my people whilst still reminding them that I am a goddess.
I need to be seen in so many different roles, and assume different positions in my life so for example the people see me with the scarab and they know I’m their mother and protector. Whereas this amethyst ring I’ll wear later when I’m banqueting so I don’t feel the effects of the wine as the men do - it enables me to retain my power and composure and simply watch, observe, and remember.
Cleopatra 'Scarab' cuff image courtesy of Egypt Museum Cairo
Q: Is jewellery important to you?
A: Yes of course, but none of this is trinket, this is all an essential part of demonstrating my power. Whether it be over men, my people, or my family. The impact of image should never be underestimated especially for a woman in my unique position of majesty.
I see my jewellery as a strength and a beautiful armour. I’m not afraid to change several times a day as the occasion dictates. It’s easy to seduce with your body, however I find my mind much more of an effective method.
“I see my jewellery as a strength and a beautiful armour. I’m not afraid to change several times a day as the occasion dictates.”
Q: Do you have a first jewellery memory?
A: I don’t have one specific first memory because being a queen and goddess I’ve been constantly surrounded by the most exquisite creations here on Earth, all of which are mine by birthright. (She waves her hand to indicate the grand splendour of our surroundings)
Q: What would you say has been the greatest influence on your style?
A: I have never been influenced. I am the influencer. If I want gold, I receive it - if I wish for turquoise, it is placed before me.
Turquoise unites the Earth and sky, bringing together male and female energies, much like I have to do as queen and ruler. But I do find it charming that whenever I travel I soon find my style being copied by those of lower status and creativity. It does amuse me.
Cleopatra chest piece - image courtesy of Egypt Museum Cairo
“Turquoise unites the Earth and sky, bringing together male and female energies, much like I have to do as queen and ruler. ”
Q: Do you consider the physical weight of your ornament is symbolic of the weight of your power?
A: (She sighs) Sometimes it can be quite lonely. There are never enough hours in the days of a queen, and her nights have too many, but, as it is clearly my destiny and divine right, I carry the weight with the elegance and majesty befitting of a queen such as myself.
However, if you want to ask me about the physical practicalities, I’d have to say to be without my jewellery even for a second would feel so inappropriate for me that I really can’t remember ever not being adorned and it does not interest me to even imagine it.
Cleopatra 'Asp' cuff - image courtesy of Egypt Museum Cairo
Q: Your style and your power are so legendary, has anybody ever taken it upon themselves to choose a piece of jewellery for you? And if so, do you wear it?
A: (She smiles knowingly) There was quite a famous ruler of Rome who gave me a string of pearls, so I ground them up and drank them with vinegar. They were so precious to me that I wanted to absorb them and I felt that their pearlescent quality could only add to my natural radiance.
But the asp that I wear here on my arm I actually commissioned as recognition of my union with another great Roman gentleman, we both love asps, they’re just so sexy, don’t you think?
Q: You have four sons - do you think that they will appreciate your jewellery collection, as they get older?
A: (Her demeanour stiffens) Well it’s not theirs to appreciate – do you think I will leave it for them to scrabble over? No - it will journey with me when I leave this physical realm and continue to adorn me – it is mine and it is me.
And with that she turns her heavily kohled eyes from us and with a subtle nod to the servants at the grand doors it is obvious that our audience with the Queen is over. The doors are opened and we are led away.