What Does Jewellery Symbolize in the Bible

By Paul King •  Updated: 09/27/23 •  12 min read

In the biblical context, jewellery holds profound symbolic significance, serving as a visual representation of various spiritual, social, and material concepts. The significance of jewellery is evident in the numerous mentions of different types of adornments in the Bible, demonstrating its importance in ancient times.

One of the most prominent symbols associated with jewellery in the Bible is gold. Gold is often associated with purity, divinity, and the presence of God. In the book of Exodus, when describing the construction of the Ark of the Covenant, it is mentioned that the Ark was overlaid with pure gold, signifying the holiness and sacredness of the object (Exodus 25:10-11). Gold is also mentioned in relation to the adornments of the Tabernacle and the priestly garments, emphasizing the importance of gold in religious rituals and ceremonies (Exodus 39:2-3, 25-26).

Another significant aspect of jewellery in the Bible is the use of precious stones. Precious stones, such as diamonds, rubies, and sapphires, are mentioned in the Bible as symbols of beauty, wealth, and spiritual blessings. In the book of Exodus, it is stated that the High Priest’s breastplate was adorned with twelve precious stones, each representing one of the twelve tribes of Israel (Exodus 28:15-21). These stones symbolized the unity and importance of each tribe in the eyes of God.

Jewellery in the Bible also represents wealth and status. In the story of Job, after regaining his prosperity and blessings, it is mentioned that Job was adorned with gold and silver (Job 42:10-12). This highlights how jewellery was seen as a reflection of one’s material success and social standing.

In addition to its material symbolism, jewellery in the Bible carries spiritual meaning as well. In the book of Proverbs, wisdom is compared to a precious jewel, emphasizing its value and importance (Proverbs 3:15-18). The book of Isaiah also mentions the spiritual significance of jewellery, stating that the Lord will beautify His people with ornaments of salvation and righteousness (Isaiah 61:10).

One particular story from the Bible that showcases the significance of jewellery is the parable of the prodigal son. In this parable, the father welcomes his wayward son back with open arms and adorns him with a ring, a symbol of authority and acceptance (Luke 15:22). This illustrates how jewellery can represent forgiveness, reconciliation, and a restored relationship.

Overall, the multifaceted nature of jewellery in the biblical narrative is evident through its symbolism of purity, divinity, wealth, status, and spirituality. It serves as a visual reminder of God’s presence, blessings, and the importance of faith in the lives of believers.

Key Takeaways

The Significance of Jewellery in Biblical Times

The significance of jewellery in biblical times cannot be understated, as it held great cultural customs and historical importance. It was not merely decorative, but rather carried deep spiritual and symbolic meanings. The Bible itself provides us with insights into the importance of jewellery in the lives of ancient people.

One such story that exemplifies the significance of jewellery is the account of the Israelites during their time in the wilderness. After their escape from Egypt, the Israelites were instructed to make offerings for the construction of the Tabernacle, a sacred place of worship. In Exodus 35:22, it is mentioned that the people willingly brought various kinds of jewellery as offerings: ‘All who were willing, men and women alike, came and brought gold jewelry of all kinds: brooches, earrings, rings and ornaments.’ This demonstrates that jewellery was not only seen as a form of adornment, but also as a way to honor and worship God.

Moreover, the Bible also sheds light on the symbolic value of different materials used in jewellery. Gold, for instance, is repeatedly mentioned as a precious and valuable material. In the book of Exodus, when Moses was instructed to build the Ark of the Covenant, God commanded him to overlay it with pure gold (Exodus 25:10). This choice of material emphasizes the sacredness and importance of the Ark, which was believed to be the dwelling place of God’s presence among the Israelites.

Precious stones, such as diamonds, rubies, and sapphires, also held symbolic value in biblical times. In the book of Exodus, the high priest’s breastplate, known as the ‘breastplate of judgment,’ was adorned with twelve precious stones, each representing one of the twelve tribes of Israel (Exodus 28:17-21). This not only highlighted the unity and identity of the Israelite people, but also served as a constant reminder of God’s covenant with them.

Furthermore, jewellery played a significant role in religious rituals and ceremonies. In the book of Leviticus, it is stated that the high priest wore a gold plate on his turban, engraved with the words ‘Holy to the Lord’ (Leviticus 8:9). This inscription served as a reminder that the high priest was consecrated and set apart for God’s service.

Symbolism of Gold and Precious Stones in the Bible

Gold and precious stones hold great symbolism in biblical texts, representing divine attributes and the glorification of God. These materials are not just decorative objects, but powerful symbols that connect the physical realm with the divine.

In the book of Exodus, we see the significant role of gold and precious stones in the construction of the tabernacle. According to Exodus 25:7, God commanded the Israelites to bring offerings of gold, silver, and precious stones for the construction of the tabernacle. This shows that these materials were valued and considered worthy of being used in the worship of God.

The use of gold and precious stones in the tabernacle highlights their spiritual significance. Exodus 28:17-20 describes how the high priest’s breastplate was adorned with twelve precious stones, each representing one of the twelve tribes of Israel. This symbolized the unity and importance of the Israelite community before God.

Furthermore, the book of Revelation provides further insight into the symbolism of gold and precious stones. In Revelation 21:18-21, the New Jerusalem is described as being adorned with gold and precious stones. This imagery emphasizes the beauty, purity, and abundance of the divine dwelling place.

Additionally, the story of the wise men visiting baby Jesus in Matthew 2:11 showcases the symbolic value of gold and precious stones. The wise men brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to honor Jesus. Gold represented his kingship and divine status, while frankincense and myrrh symbolized his priestly and sacrificial roles.

Jewellery as a Representation of Wealth and Status in the Bible

Jewellery in biblical texts serves as a visual representation of an individual’s wealth and social status, as well as holding a deeper spiritual meaning. It signifies the material possessions and social hierarchy within society, but also serves as a symbol of faith and devotion.

Let us explore some biblical stories and verses to understand the significance of jewellery in a more profound way:

  1. Aaron’s breastplate: In Exodus 28:15-21, it is described how the breastplate of the high priest Aaron was made. It was adorned with twelve precious stones, each representing one of the twelve tribes of Israel. This breastplate symbolized Aaron’s authority and position in the religious hierarchy, as he carried the names of the tribes upon his heart. It was a tangible reminder of the responsibility and intercession he had for God’s people.

  2. Queen Esther’s crown: In the book of Esther, we learn about Queen Esther’s courage and her role in saving her people from destruction. Although the Bible does not explicitly mention Esther’s crown, her position as queen symbolized her royal status and authority. Through her bravery and faith, she was able to use her position to protect her people, demonstrating the power that can be associated with jewellery and regal adornments.

  3. Joseph’s signet ring: In Genesis 41:42, it is written that Pharaoh took off his signet ring and placed it on Joseph’s finger. This act symbolized Pharaoh’s trust and authority given to Joseph, making him second in command in all of Egypt. The signet ring held great significance as it represented Pharaoh’s seal and authority. This story highlights how jewellery can be a mark of elevated status and authority, signifying one’s position and responsibilities.

  4. The golden calf: In Exodus 32:1-4, we read about the Israelites’ desire for material wealth and worldly possessions. When Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments, the Israelites grew impatient and asked Aaron to create a god for them. Aaron then collected their gold earrings, melted them down, and formed a golden calf. This idol made from jewellery represented their misplaced priorities and spiritual downfall. It serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of materialism and the importance of placing faith above worldly possessions.

These examples from the Bible show how jewellery played a significant role in biblical times, representing wealth, status, and the desire for material possessions. However, they also emphasize the deeper spiritual meaning that jewellery can hold. It is not merely about the outward display of wealth and status, but also about the faith, responsibility, and devotion associated with it. As we reflect on these stories, let us remember that true wealth and status come from a heart dedicated to God and aligned with His teachings.

The Spiritual Meaning Behind Jewellery in the Bible

Adornments in biblical texts hold a deeper spiritual significance, representing faith, devotion, and the responsibility associated with one’s position. Jewellery in the Bible is not merely a superficial symbol of wealth or status, but rather a tangible expression of one’s spiritual connection to God. It serves as a reminder of the divine presence, a physical representation of one’s devotion and commitment to their faith.

In the book of Exodus, we find a powerful example of jewellery as a symbol of God’s covenant and blessings. After the Israelites escaped from Egypt, God commanded Moses to construct a tabernacle where His presence would dwell among them. Within this tabernacle, there was a sacred piece of jewellery known as the breastplate of judgment, worn by the high priest.

Exodus 28:15-21 describes the breastplate as a beautiful piece adorned with twelve precious stones, each representing one of the twelve tribes of Israel. The stones were engraved with the names of the tribes, symbolizing their unity and connection to God. The breastplate served as a constant reminder to the high priest of his responsibility to intercede for the people and seek God’s guidance in making judgments.

Furthermore, in Exodus 39:8-14, we learn about the construction of the golden lampstand, also known as the menorah. This intricate piece of jewellery was made of pure gold and had seven branches, symbolizing completeness and perfection. The lampstand served as a source of light in the tabernacle, representing the presence of God and His guidance for His people.

These examples from the Bible demonstrate that jewellery holds a significant spiritual meaning and is deeply intertwined with one’s faith and devotion. It is not simply a decorative accessory but a powerful tool for spiritual connection and expression.

Moreover, jewellery in the Bible also symbolizes God’s covenant and blessings. In Genesis 24, we read the story of Abraham’s servant seeking a wife for Abraham’s son, Isaac. The servant, upon meeting Rebekah, gave her a nose ring and two bracelets as a sign of God’s favor and blessing upon her.

Genesis 24:22 says, ‘When the camels had finished drinking, the man took a gold ring weighing a half-shekel, and two bracelets for her arms weighing ten gold shekels.’ This act of giving jewellery was not merely a gesture of wealth, but a symbol of God’s providence and guidance in finding the right wife for Isaac.

Jewellery as a Symbol of God’s Covenant and Blessings

Throughout biblical texts, various objects have been used to symbolize God’s covenant and blessings, including precious items worn or displayed by individuals. Jewellery, in particular, holds significant spiritual meaning in the Bible. It serves as a form of worship and devotion, as individuals adorn themselves with jewellery to demonstrate their faith and dedication to God.

In the book of Exodus, we see the importance of jewellery in the construction of the Tabernacle, a place of worship for the Israelites. God instructed Moses to create various pieces of jewellery, such as the breastplate of the high priest, which was adorned with twelve precious stones, each representing one of the twelve tribes of Israel. This symbolized the unity and covenant between God and His people.

Moreover, jewellery is seen as a means of protection and divine intervention. In the story of Daniel in the lions’ den, we see how God’s presence and protection were symbolized through a simple piece of jewellery. When Daniel was thrown into the den of hungry lions for his faith, God miraculously closed the mouths of the lions, sparing Daniel’s life. This event demonstrated God’s power and presence, and it serves as a reminder that God can use even the smallest object, like jewellery, to display His mighty acts.

Another example is found in the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers and eventually became a high-ranking official in Egypt. As a sign of God’s favor and blessing, Joseph was given a gold signet ring by Pharaoh, symbolizing his authority and position. This ring not only represented Joseph’s status but also served as a reminder of God’s faithfulness and divine intervention throughout his life.

Furthermore, jewellery has been used to demonstrate God’s blessings and provision. In the book of Proverbs, we read, ‘A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies’ (Proverbs 31:10). This verse highlights the value and significance of a virtuous woman, comparing her to precious gemstones. It emphasizes that a woman who fears the Lord and walks in His ways is a true blessing from God.

Paul King

I post written versions of my powerful sermons exploring topics like prayer, praise, biblical truths, and more expressions of faith. My church has a deeply spiritual culture, which I try to convey through vivid storytelling and applications in our everyday life. I spread the Good Word with lots of conviction and passion.