Egyptian burial sites and tombs have contained enormous caches of beads. "Mummy beads" as they are called consist of glass, gemstone, and brass. The earliest beads, made of meteoric iron, were found in Egypt as early as 2500 B.C. Egyptians also made small ceramic beads of clay, resulting in exquisite earth tones of light green, blue, and soft red. Pharaohs were often buried with a type of beaded netting, covering the face and body.
There was a delightful 'revival' of the Egyptian style in jewelry in the 1960's. This is the best discussion I found on the internet of this phenomenon, with some great examples/photos: