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Nose rings.

A nose-jewel is a piece of jewelry that is worn on the nose.

Most commonly associated since ancient times with women from the Indian subcontinent, these ornaments are attached through a piercing in the nostril.

In India[edit]

A bride wearing a nose ring.
A Maharashtrian woman with a nath (nose-jewel).

Double nose gems are common amongst South Indian, Pasthun, Punjabi, Rajastani and Nepali ethnic groups. These are called 'nathori'. In Maharashtra women wear one large nathori covering the side of the face. Bengali women prefer the septum piercing, indicating marriage.

The nose ring, called a nath (Hindi: नथ, IPA: [nətʰ]) in various Indian languages, became popular around the 9th and 10th centuries, and became part of various symbols of a woman's marital status. It also displays economic status; wives of kings, ministers and wealthy families wear nath made of pearls, sapphire and kundan while others wear those made of silver. From the 15th century onwards, the ornament became quite popular, and saw variations of using clove, thorns, and nails during the 17th and 18th centuries. Contemporary designs and materials arrived in the 20th century.[1]

Reference in the Bible[edit]

In the Bible, nose-jewels are mentioned in Isaiah 3:21, and referred to in Ezekiel 16:12, Genesis 24:47, Proverbs 11:22, and Hosea 2:13. They were among the most valued of female ornaments. They were made of ivory or metal, occasionally jewelled, more than an inch in diameter, and hung upon the mouth. Eliezer gave one to Rebekah which was gold, and weighed half a shekel.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Shanti Kumar Syal (2005). Pragatiśīla nārī (in Hindi). Delhi, India: Atmaram & Sons. p. 171. ISBN 9788170436478.