I always view jewellery as a way of expressing one’s style. It has never occurred to me to question why some people wear excessive jewellery. I am not a huge fan of jewellery unless it is a watch because I am a minimalist. However, during one of our bible study sessions, we recently discussed the Bible’s view on jewellery. The discussion was eye-opening and left me with several questions that I seek to address in this article. One of the questions that stuck with me is, “What does jewellery symbolize in the Bible?”
Jewelry holds several symbols in the Bible, depending on how it is used. For example, jewellery is used in the book of Genesis 41:42 to symbolize authority. In this verse, King Pharaoh gave Joseph his signet ring to signify that Joseph has been given some capacity of authority. Furthermore, jewellery has been associated with worldly pleasures. Paul warns us from excessively adorning ourselves and instead focusing on our hearts in 1 Timothy 2:9-10.
Join me as I take an extensive ride on the symbolism and meaning of jewellery in the Bible. I will also discuss what the Bible says about jewellery and whether it is a sin for Christians to wear it. Keep reading to learn more.
What does the Bible say about jewellery?
Though some topics might sound non-biblical, the Bible always has something to say (directly or indirectly) about everything we interact with in the modern world. One of the topics that one might doubt if they are in the Bible or not is jewellery. The scripture has a bit to say when it comes to jewellery. In Ezekiel 16, we see the scripture permitting the wearing of jewellery.
Another instance where we meet jewellery in the scripture is in the book of 1 Timothy 2:9-10. In this passage, Apostle Paul advises women to dress modestly and not to focus on outward adornments, such as elaborate hairstyles, gold, pearls, or costly clothing. This passage emphasizes cultivating and modeling our inner beauty and a modest spirit rather than excessive external adornment.
Similarly, in the book of 1 Peter 3:3-4, Peter encourages women to focus on the hidden person of the heart rather than external beauty like putting on expensive gold jewellery. This means that we should focus on nurturing our inner qualities and character rather than putting on excessive jewellery.
Back to the Old Testament, we find instances where jewellery is used as part of cultural and religious practices. For example, Exodus 33:4-6 notes that the Israelites removed their jewellery as a sign of mourning when God’s presence was withdrawn from their midst.
Lastly, jewellery is also used symbolically in the Bible. For instance, in the book of Genesis 41:42, Pharaoh gave Joseph his signet ring, which symbolized authority and power. Revelation 21:18-21 describes the New Jerusalem adorned with precious stones, depicting the glory and beauty of God’s eternal kingdom.
Bible verses about jewellery
This passage talks about jewellery in relation to the culture and traditions of the Israelites. After being confronted with their disobedience, the Israelites were instructed by Moses to remove their jewellery and fine clothes as a sign of mourning and repentance. It could mean that outward adornments should not distract us from genuine repentance and obedience to God.
These verses are part of a metaphorical description of Jerusalem, symbolizing God’s blessings and favors upon the city. The imagery of jewellery and fine clothing is used to portray Jerusalem’s prosperity and beauty. It is key to note that this verse does not contain a direct command or moral teaching but rather depicts a historical context.
This verse uses the analogy of a gold ring or ornament to highlight the value of a wise person who offers constructive criticism. Just as a beautiful piece of jewellery enhances one’s appearance, a wise reprover can bring value and beauty to a receptive listener by providing helpful advice or correction.
This verse is part of the story of Abraham’s servant seeking a wife for Isaac. As a sign of his appreciation and acknowledgment of Rebekah’s hospitality and kindness, the servant gives her a gold ring and two bracelets. It demonstrates giving jewellery as a gesture of gratitude and honor.
In this verse, the speaker (possibly the bridegroom) admires the bride’s beauty, highlighting the adornments she wears. The mention of ornaments and jewels here symbolizes the bride’s radiance and attractiveness.
This verse appears in a symbolic description of the great prostitute or the woman of Babylon, representing a corrupt and worldly system. The use of lavish adornments such as gold, jewels, and pearls depicts the opulence associated with the wickedness and seduction represented by the woman. The verse highlights the contrast between worldly, materialistic values and the righteous path that believers are called to follow.
What are the symbolic meanings of jewellery in the Bible?
As stated earlier, jewellery carries various symbols in the Bible, depending on how it was used. Some of the symbolism jewellery holds in the scripture include;
Sign of Wealth:
In many instances (not only in the Bible alone), jewelry is associated with wealth and prosperity. For example, in the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:22, the father adorns his returning son with a robe, a ring, and sandals, symbolizing the restoration of his status and wealth.
Symbolizes authority and position:
Jewelry can also represent authority and position. As stated above, in the book of Genesis 41:40-42, Pharaoh gives Joseph his signet ring, symbolizing the transfer of power and authority. In the book of Esther, the king extends his golden sceptre to Esther, indicating her acceptance and granting her favor (Esther 8:4).
Symbol of Love and Commitment:
Jewelry can be a symbol of love and commitment in the Bible. The Song of Solomon frequently references jewellery as a token of love between the bride and groom (Song of Solomon 8:6).
The scripture also associates jewellery with beauty. In Isaiah 61:10, the author of Isaiah mentions being “clothed with garments of salvation” and “covered with robes of righteousness” as a bridegroom adorns himself with ornaments and a bride adorns herself with jewels. This symbolizes the beauty and righteousness bestowed upon believers.
While jewellery can carry positive symbolism, the Bible also warns against excessive vanity and materialism. In 1 Timothy 2:9-10, Paul advises women to dress modestly, not to focus on outward adornments such as elaborate hairstyles, gold, or pearls, but to adorn themselves with good deeds and a godly character.
Biblical interpretations of seeing jewellery in a dream
Dreaming of wearing excessive jewellery
Wearing excessive jewellery in a dream could indicate a desire for self-expression and a need to be noticed or appreciated. It may suggest that you are seeking recognition or validation for your achievements or qualities. This dream might indicate a boost in confidence or a desire to stand out in some way. This dream could also indicate a preoccupation with material wealth or a desire to attain a higher social status.
Dreaming of wearing fake jewellery
Fake jewellery often represents imitation or counterfeit items. Dreaming of wearing fake jewellery could suggest that there is a situation or relationship in your life that lacks authenticity. This dream might also symbolize feelings of inadequacy or a lack of self-confidence. It could suggest that you are not fully embracing your true worth or talents.
Dreaming of wearing fake jewellery could also be related to financial worries, such as concerns about your financial stability or the fear of being deceived in financial matters. Lastly, such a dream could indicate self-doubt and a fear of being exposed as someone who is not as competent or skilled as others perceive you to be. This dream might be an invitation to confront and overcome such feelings of inadequacy.
Dreaming of wearing gold jewellery
Dreaming of wearing gold jewellery, specifically yellow gold, is often associated with strength and inner wealth. This dream could mean that you have a rich heart and good health and are internally thriving. Some people also associate such a dream with massive wealth and abundance. This dream could also mean that you are displaying your wealth to impress others.
Dreaming of wearing silver jewellery
Wearing silver jewellery in your dream could mean you are in touch with your emotions. Such a dream could also signify that you can be insightful and solve various life problems. Other people associate this dream with one having a large capacity to understand and wisdom.
Dreaming of finding jewellery
Dreaming of finding jewellery could be a good omen as it is associated with a financial breakthrough shortly. This dream could mean that doors are going to open for you, and you are about to locate wealth that will free you from the shambles of financial struggles.
Dreaming of someone giving you jewellery
Such a dream has several meanings depending on context and personal experiences. Dreaming of receiving jewellery could mean you desire wealth or monetary goods. It could also symbolize that you yearn for emotional fulfilment and richness in your life. This could also imply that you are about to be recognized for your good qualities or connect with someone who will be quite significant in your life.
Is wearing jewellery a sin in the Bible?
The Bible does not mention wearing jewellery as a sin. However, it gives some instructions that we need to observe when putting on jewellery. However, it is key to acknowledge that this topic is quite controversial as some Christians believe that it is wrong for one to put on jewellery, despite the Bible not explicitly mentioning that it is.
One of the many passages that will guide us in determining whether wearing jewellery is a sin is 1 Samuel 16:7. The scripture in this verse notes that the Lord does not observe our outward appearance like humans but rather examines our inner world and heart. Though this verse mentions that the Lord focuses on the internal, this does not mean that our outward appearance is not important. What we put on and how we present ourselves to the words says a lot about who we are. Paul reminds us in the book of 2 Corinthians 3:1-3 that we are letters to be read by everyone who knows us. Therefore, we have to present ourselves in a manner that is acceptable to God.
Additionally, the book of 1 Timothy 2:9-10 sheds light on where jewellery stands in Christianity. This verse has many controversial interpretations, which is why some women avoid wearing jewellery. However, this verse does not rule out jewellery as a sin; Paul is just trying to shed light on the standard of dressing a woman in worshipping should portray.
Therefore, there is nowhere in the Bible that mentions that jewellery is a sin. However, there is a proper way to adorn yourself if you are a Christian. There is moderation, and you also need to have pure intentions while adorning yourself. Let your outside reflect your inside, and adorn yourself in a way that glorifies God.
What does the New Testament say about jewellery?
The New Testament does not explicitly condemn the wearing of jewellery. Instead, it focuses on deeper spiritual matters and teachings that guide believers in their attitudes towards material possessions, modesty, and inner character. As mentioned above, one of the most notable passages in the New Testament when it comes to jewellery is 1 Timothy 2:9-10. This passage encourages women to adorn themselves with modesty, self-control, and good works rather than excessively focusing on external appearance, including jewellery.
Additionally, in the book Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus teaches about prioritizing heavenly treasures over earthly ones. Though this passage does not specifically address jewellery, it highlights the importance of focusing on eternal values rather than placing our excessive value on material possessions. We need to cultivate our relationship with God and align our hearts with Him.
Therefore, the New Testament focuses more on matters of the heart, character, and spiritual priorities rather than providing specific guidelines or prohibitions regarding jewellery. However, Paul is clear that we should wear jewellery in moderation (1 Peter 3:3-4). Believers should therefore seek to exercise wisdom, discernment, and moderation when it comes to personal adornment. It is key to note that adorning yourself in moderation depends on the different cultural contexts and the impact it may have on others.
What does giving jewellery symbolize?
Giving jewellery can symbolize various things depending on the different cultural contexts. Most people exchange jewellery as gifts and also buy expensive jewellery for their loved ones. Some of the symbolisms that giving jewellery holds include;
A symbol of wealth: In the Bible, jewellery was used as a symbol of wealth and abundance. It was often associated with prosperity and blessings from God. For instance, in the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:22), the father celebrates the return of his lost son by giving him a ring, which represents the restoration of his status and inheritance.
Symbolizes transfer of authority: Jewelry, such as a signet ring, could symbolize authority and power in biblical times. In the book of Genesis, Joseph was given a signet ring by Pharaoh (Genesis 41:42), which symbolized his appointment as second-in-command over Egypt and granted him authority and privilege.
Love: Jewelry is often given as a symbol of love and affection. It can represent deep emotional connections, commitment, and romantic relationships. This could be seen in engagement rings, wedding bands, and heart-shaped pendants.
A symbol of gratitude for our loved ones: Jewelry can be given as a token of appreciation or gratitude. It may symbolize acknowledgment of someone’s efforts, support, or achievements. For example, a piece of jewellery could be given as a gift to a parent, friend, mentor, or even lover to express gratitude for their guidance or assistance.
Symbolizes connection: Jewelry can also represent the bond and connection between individuals. For example, matching bracelets or necklaces may be exchanged between friends or family members to signify their relationship and shared experiences.
What does a necklace symbolize in the Bible?
The Bible does not explicitly attach symbolic meaning to necklaces. However, necklaces and similar adornments are referenced in various contexts, and their significance can be derived from the broader themes and symbolism found in those passages. Some of the few symbolisms that can be attached to necklaces in the Bible include;
- A symbol of beauty: In several instances, jewellery, including necklaces, is mentioned as part of a person’s adornment or attire, emphasizing beauty and elegance. Isaiah 3:16-21 describes the luxurious and extravagant accessories worn by the women of Jerusalem, including anklets, sashes, perfume boxes, and necklaces. These descriptions highlight the desire for outward beauty and the pursuit of material wealth, which the passage critiques.
- Symbol of Honor: Jewelry, including necklaces, can be associated with honor and worth. In Proverbs 1, wisdom is described as a graceful garland and a necklace that brings honor to those who embrace it. This metaphor suggests that possessing wisdom is valuable and brings honor and respect.
Should you wear jewellery as a Christian?
You can wear jewellery as a Christian, as the Bible does not bar us from wearing jewellery. However, there are some things that we should observe while wearing jewellery. Apostle Paul reminds us in the book of 1 Peter 3:3-4 of the need to focus on our hearts rather than adorning ourselves with excessive jewellery. This means that though we can wear jewellery, our motives should be healthy, and we should do so in modesty and moderation.
Though some Christians believe wearing jewellery is wrong, the Bible does not say so in any way. Wearing jewellery is a great way to express your style and enhance your beauty, so long as you are doing so to glorify God and not yourself. However, it is also key to note that true beauty is inward (comes from the soul) and not from our outward appearance.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.