Jewelry and the Bible

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QUESTION: Does God approve of wearing jewelry? What does the Bible teach about such adornment?

ANSWER: The Bible has quite a bit to say about jewelry. In fact, there are several examples where God gave ornamentation to others in order to show how much he loved them. For example, the Lord commanded Moses to have the women of Israel, just before they left Egypt, take jewelry from their masters as payment for the many bitter years of labor as slaves (Exodus 3:21 - 22).

The Bible repeats the command to take jewelry from the Egyptians in Exodus 11:2 and 12:35. Such treasures included chains, earrings, nose and finger rings, trinkets and other ornamentation. It is interesting to note that the Lord also commanded that, when the children of Israel left the land of Egypt, they were to place the jewelry they took both on themselves and their children (Exodus 3:22)!

The Bible states the prophet Ezekiel was inspired to write allegorically about how God rescued the children of Israel from Egypt then took the nation to be his "wife" through the Old Covenant. The Lord describes how he personally adorned his bride with beautiful jewelry (Ezekiel 16:11 - 13). The Lord also stated that he imparted to his "wife" such beauty, through what he had given her, that even other nations recognized it was perfect (verse 14).

Precious Gemstones in Scripture!
How will gold fulfill prophecy?
Is wearing a cross idolatry?

When the Almighty created Lucifer he gave him a magnificent appearance! This beauty, which the Lord stated was perfect, was made possible through at least nine precious stones commonly used in jewelry (Ezekiel 38:12 - 13)! This means that, since the angels were created sometime before the physical universe (Job 38:4 - 7), Lucifer was honored by being decorated with a spiritual version of precious stones before they existed in the physical realm!


Picture of the Hope Diamond
The Hope Diamond (45.5 carats)
National Museum of Natural History

Many other examples exist of God endorsing the use of various materials to adorn something in order to enhance its appearance. For example, He commanded the High Priest to wear a special ornate garment when conducting his duties. This garment, called an ephod, was made of gold, purple and other fine threads. It also had embedded in it twelve dazzling gemstones such as an emerald and sapphire (Exodus 28, 39).

When the New Jerusalem is created and brought down to the earth, it will have twelve foundations made from various precious stones commonly used in jewelry. Its gates will be made of pearl and its streets will be composed of gold that is so pure it appears transparent (Revelation 21:18 - 21)!

While the Bible does not condemn the use of jewelry, it does teach that a balanced, godly perspective on its use is needed. In the New Testament, Christians (especially women) are taught that they should dress modestly and place a high priority on pursuing good works and on a godly character (1Timothy 2:9 - 10, 1Peter 3:1 - 4).

Jewelry, like so many other things (wealth, food, alcohol, etc.), is not prohibited of and by itself. What is condemned is selfishly pursuing them to the detriment of self, others, and a close personal relationship with God.

Additional Study Materials
Gems used in God's New Jerusalem
What is the beauty of the Lord?
Should women pray with heads covered?
How was silver used for adornment?


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