What does the Bible
say about jewelry?

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QUESTION: What does the Bible say about wearing jewelry? Does God approve or disapprove of a person adorning themselves with rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets and so on?

ANSWER: Scripture has quite a bit to say about jewelry. In fact, there are several examples in the Bible where God gave ornamentation to others in order to show how much he loved them and valued a relationship with them.

While Moses was living in Midian God spoke to him, through a burning bush, regarding the freeing of his people from Egyptian bondage (Exodus 3). The Lord commanded that the women of Israel, just before they left Egypt, were to take jewelry as payment for the many bitter years of labor they toiled as slaves.

21. And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. And it shall be that when you go, you shall not go empty. 22. But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, and of her that stays in her house, jewels of silver and jewels of gold and clothing. And you shall put them upon your sons and upon your daughters . . . (Exodus 3:21 - 22, HBFV throughout)

This command is repeated in Exodus 11:2 and 12:35. Note that the Lord commanded the jewelry be placed on the children and worn as the Israelites were leaving Pharaoh!

God inspired the prophet Ezekiel, in chapter 16, to write allegorically about how he 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 the following words.

11. And I adorned you with ornaments (jewelry), and I put bracelets upon your hands and a chain on your neck. 12. And I put a ring on your nose, and earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head. 13. And you were adorned with gold and silver; and your clothing was of fine linen and silk and embroidered work (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).

Under which Pharaoh did Israel leave Egypt?
What are the traits of a virtuous woman?
Is it a SIN to wear a crucifix as jewelry?

The adorning of Lucifer

When the Almighty created the angelic being name 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!

. . . 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "You seal up the measure of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. . . every precious stone was your covering, the ruby, the topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the turquoise, and the emerald, and gold"' (Ezekiel 38:12 - 13)

It was only after he polluted himself with sin that Lucifer turned himself into Satan the devil.

There is something interesting, however, often overlooked in the above verses. The Bible states that angels existed before the physical universe was created (Job 38:4 - 7). This means that God honored Lucifer by decorating him with a spiritual version of several precious stones and metals BEFORE he brought them into existence in the physical universe!

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 often used in jewelry such as an emerald, sapphire and jasper (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, gates made of pearl, and streets composed of gold that is so pure it appears transparent (Revelation 21:18 - 21)!

It's all about balance

While Scripture 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 developing a godly character (1Timothy 2:9 - 10, 1Peter 3:1 - 4). Believers should not pursue personal adornment and dress as a means to flaunt wealth, social status or their perceived superiority over others (vanity). They should not dress in order to draw undue attention to themselves or to tempt others sexually.

Jewelry, like so many other things in the Bible (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 our loving Creator.

Additional Study Materials
What does it mean to be poor in SPIRIT?
What is the beauty of the Lord?
Should women wear only long hair?

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What does Scripture say about wearing jewelry?