A gold trinket discovered in a 3,200-year-old tomb in southern Egypt is believed to have belonged to Queen Nefertari, favorite wife of Pharaoh Ramses the Great, an expert said.

A worker found the trinket under layers of dust while Egyptian and foreign experts were restoring Nefertari's badly damaged tomb at Luxor.Luis Monreal, director of the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) of Los Angeles, said they believed the gold piece, with a floral design and hieroglyphics, belonged to Nefertari.

He said it was found in a small chamber off the main sarcophagus room in February, but the discovery was kept secret to keep people away from the tomb while work continued.

"It seems to be a small fragment of a bracelet. The hieroglyphics reading `True of Voice' in the feminine form are a strong suggestion that it belonged to Nefertari," said GCI project director Miguel Angel Corzo.

"True of Voice" was a ritual phrase inscribed by ancient Egyptians for the dead, he said.

Nefertari's mummy has not been found, and the only other item recovered from her tomb, in 1904, was the lid of her sarcophagus (stone coffin).

Restorers last month ended two months' work to remove salt crystals blistering the tomb's murals. Monreal said plaster was being glued to the rock.