What Does a Nose Ring Mean on a Woman?

The custom of body piercing has existed for thousands of years in the Middle East, Africa, India, and North America. It is part of many traditional rituals and often marks a critical moment in someone’s life, such as entering adulthood or getting married.

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The definition of what does a nose ring means on a woman depends on the region she originates in, belief system, and the tradition in which she grew up. Nowadays, wearing a ring can be a part of a personal style, a current whim, or just a fashion detail. In some cases, it can have strong religious or sociological symbolism in traditional societies. Let’s see.

History of Nose Piercing

History of Nose Piercing
Image: something borrowed

The history of nose piercings is highly fascinating. This type of art originates in Australia around 44,000 BC. The tradition of Aboriginal people to use bones for septum nose piercing has been preserved to this day.

Among some North African tribes, there was a custom of piercing the nose with animal bones or metal rings. Still, nostril piercing as it is modern today originated in the Middle East sometime 4,000 years ago. From there, this custom spread to India in the 16th century.

The Bible also mentions nose rings in the Old Testament. In the Book of Genesis, 24:22 Abraham gave his future daughter in law a gold nose ring before she married Isaac. On the other hand, the opponents of piercings often quote Leviticus 19:28 that is against any tattoos and body marks.

The mass popularization of piercings began in the 60s and 70s with the emergence of the hippie movement. Young people from all over the globe traveled to India in search of spiritual enlightenment.

Many girls chose to wear the nose ring to symbolize their rebellion against society’s traditional values. The piercing was a symbol of boldness, rebellion, and freedom of choice.

The Symbolic Meaning of Piercings

The Symbolic Meaning of Piercings
Image: something borrowed

A nose ring has various meanings for women, depending on the culture they live in. Among the Beja and Berber tribes in North Africa, it symbolizes wealth and abundance of the family. The bigger the ring, the more respected the family is.

On the day of the wedding, a Berber man gifts his future wife with a nose ring as the sign that he can take care of her and the family. The woman wears that jewelry as a sign of respect for the family she married in.

Contrary, in South Asia, Arunachal tribes fought each other, and they are well-known for robberies and kidnappings of women. Women from of one of the tribes, the Apatani, were considered exceptionally beautiful and attractive.

Therefore, there was a custom to make a woman less appealing by piercing her nose with a large piece of cane and tattooing her face. That protected them from kidnapping and suffering in another tribe. Even today, you can see female descendants of that tribe with traditionally large nose rings.

Traditional Hindu families get the young girl’s nose pierced when they are around 12 and considered ready to marry. The golden nose ring honors the goddesses Luxmi (Goddess of prosperity) and Parvathi (Goddess of marriage).

On the wedding day, women from the family put a ring on a bride’s nose. It often has ornaments with pearls, golden or silver birds, flowers, and fish. In this way, they emphasize her beauty.

Plus, it is not uncommon that the bridal nose ring has a golden chain connected with an earring. The female nose ring is called Nath in India, and it is worn on the left or right nostril, depending on the region from which the bride originates.

Beliefs About Nose Piercing Health Benefits

Connoisseurs of traditional Chinese medicine believe that the left nostril is connected with feminine energy, while the right nose side symbolizes masculine energy. For that reason, girls wear a ring on their left nostrils to relieve their menstrual cramps and other female ailments.

Ayurveda, the Indian alternative medicine, also supports this view. According to this teaching, the left side of the woman’s nose is associated with the reproductive organs and affects fertility.

Ayurveda practitioners believe that wearing a ring on the left nostril can help solve the problem with an irregular menstrual cycle, reduce pain during childbirth, and increase sexual pleasure and libido. Therefore, many married women in India wear a nose ring all the time, believing in its healing effect.

If a young girl suffers from illness or injury, she will choose to pierce her nose as a medical treatment to ease the pain. Plus, she sometimes wears a nose stud as a form of protection from Vashikaran, a dark mantra for seduction and control.

Ayurveda believers also state that the air that woman exhales affects the health of her husband. This superstition is widespread in the rural parts of eastern India. Therefore, the married women wear golden or silver nose rings believing they purify the air they exhale. If a husband passes away before the woman, she takes off the nose ring forever.

Septum Piercing

Septum Piercing
Image: something borrowed

Throughout history, members of many tribes have preferred the septum ring instead of the nostril piercing. These included Native American, Tibetan, Nepali, Bengal, and other tribes.

The septum piercing went through the nasal septum, between the nostrils. The ring was the most common type, but some tribes used the bars or horseshoe-shaped jewelry, too.

The septum rings made of different materials also represented a status symbol. Wealthier members of the tribe used gold, silver, tusk, or jade, while the lower strata had piercings of stone, animal bones, and wood.

Members of various cultures had the right to wear septum rings while they were forbidden for others. Basically, it depended on the tradition.

For example, priests and warriors returning from the conquests used the enemies’ bones to make nose rings. On the other hand, young girls pierced their noses before marriage. The same jewelry, but different purposes!

In most cases, piercing the septum was a ritual that had a strong symbolic meaning. Boys in the Asmat tribe of New Guinea got a septum ring before their first headhunting raid. That ritual signified their adulthood and labeled them as mature men.

In other tribes, a nose ring was the jewelry that the future bride brought as a dowry. The bride’s father pierced her nose to show his wealth. It was also a symbol of courage, fertility, and intelligence.

Nowadays, both men and women wear a septum ring. Celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, and Rihanna have made this jewelry popular, and many girls choose to follow this trend. Those who are too afraid of pain or infection can get a fake ring as an alternative, which they take off when wanted.

Left vs. Right Side

Left vs. Right Side
Image: something borrowed

The average modern girl won’t pay much attention to tradition when choosing a piercing place. If you consider yourself a spiritual person or you prefer alternative medicine, such as Chinese or Ayurveda, you should pick out the left, feminine side for the nose ring. Traditionally, the piercing on the left nostril is connected with your sensual, womanly energy.

The side of the nose you choose for the piercing will also depend on the symmetry of your face. Habits such as sleeping on a particular side or hairstyle can also influence your decision. If you wear bangs crossed over your face’s left side, it is logical to wear the nose ring on the right side to be more striking and vice versa.

It will help if you take into account whether you are left-handed or primarily use your right hand. The ring placed on the dominant hand side will help you quickly remove the ring when needed. Plus, you should put your nose ring symmetrically with other piercings on the face, if you have them.

Nose Piercing in Modern Society

Nose Piercing in Modern Society
Image: something borrowed

As I have already mentioned, the beginning of the hippie movement contributed to the popularization of the nose ring. Young people traveling in Asia considered piercings exotic and accepted them as a form of rebellion against the conventional society they despised.

Piercing as a fashion detail quickly became popular in the US and Europe. With the advent of the Punk movement, it became widely accepted among members of that subculture.

Most parents looked with resentment at nose piercings. Unfortunately, a stigma was created and marked people with nose rings as rebels and apostates from traditional, generally accepted social norms. Even today, some employers reject job candidates who wear the nose ring since they consider them frivolous.

Nowadays, the mythological and religious symbolism of nose rings has almost wholly disappeared. There are no more rules on whether to pierce the septum, left, or right nostrils. Plus, both women and men wear them regardless of whether they are teenagers or adults.

Summary

Wearing a ring has had various meanings for women throughout history, depending on their religion, customs, and ethnicity. However, such symbolism is lost in modern society, and today the nose piercing is a matter of personal choice, style, and preferences.

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58 thoughts on “What Does a Nose Ring Mean on a Woman?”

  1. I’ve always disliked seeing a female of any age with any type of nose ring. It reminded me of a bovine. I couldn’t see why a female would do this to herself and make herself less attractive. I now totally see how that came from my subjective male, narrow, viewpoint. Who gives a 💩 what a man thinks. After reading why and where these customs came from and what they depict I’ve flipped 180 degree. More power to women! You continue to pursue your ideal and dream and forget the males who don’t get it. I’d like to think I’m one of those who now do “get it”. I’m 73 and it’s never too late to wake up guys!

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      • I’m an old (77) white guy who enjoys seeing young girls and appreciates their independent choices as to ripped jeans, nose rings, ankle bracelets, etc. Each girl is appreciated for who she is,

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        • I’m female and 74 and don’t want to give up my nose gem. It’s like an obsession. I don’t feel right without it! I feel more feminine.
          I’ve been fighting these feelings.

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          • 68 y o woman who detests any kind of piercing anywhere. I do not understand why anyone (male or female) would enjoy having a hole made in their body when it would be easier to use non-permanent decorations such as necklaces & items in hair.

    • I felt the same way about tattoos. Now I wish I would have gotten my first one sooner than I did. This weekend I turn 50 and I am going to get my nose pierced….maybe even a double piercing!

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    • That’s an awesome response !! Never too old to learn a new way …. We are always growing and evolving ♥️

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    • what’s the point of listening to you? life is short and you need to fulfill what you’ve got. stop giving a shit about what people wear on there body’s. it’s got nothing to do with you. If it makes you feel good about yourself i don’t see what it’s got to with you?

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    • Dear Peter,
      As a retired teacher, your response warmed my heart. You truly embody the idea of never being too old to learn.

      I’m 51 and contemplating a nasal stud. I never, ever thought that I would have a piercing beyond my ears but here I am educating myself just like you.

      Have a joyous life filled with learning!

      Yours truly,
      Ally Wright

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    • Apologies for the males that mistreated you because they were not men. Tastefully done it looks nice. Abrahaham gave a gold one to his daughter in law as a wedding gift in the bible. A man would never have been born if not for a woman . However you would not be able to speak so freely and be protected if men hadnt fought and died to give you that freedom. Other countries you would be attacked or worse. I value and respect women. And thats not happening here on my watch. The power women need to have movement is understanding, wisdom and a discerning heart. Anger is a power and power consumes the most beautiful parts of you we are supposed tp protect. You should not have go live with fear. You are to be creative and imaginitive and express your hearted observstions and they need to be heard. Domination will destroy us all. Your observing nature spots the dangers of our society. Indeed by science you are better at it. It is our job to deal with those issues. Ive treated every woman in my life well. Problem is women are too trusting and are vulnerable to words and emotions. This ” game” generation has taught the wrong narratives on both sides to get what they want. Desire is not love but a power that consumes. Love is patient, kind and respectful. Beware of the unseen. When a woman takes a partner and vice versa of any kind it touches your soul and creates a soul tie. Too many woman I have seen trapped by pieces of crap and words and future faking and fake promises for years if not for life. Intimacy is beautiful.Im a good looking fit man. Successful etc. The woman I fell in love with was scrawny but had a pretty face.Alot of shady tattoos and had nothing but her vehicle. Ive dated wealthy women, doctors and still I never met anyone so appreciative and loving and caring. Id destroy anything that tried to harm her. Sadly I was getting over a tumor. I was overweight and was ashamed of my body. I lost 170 pounds and look like the rocks smaller brother by 20 lbs. She got vulnerabke because of an old soul tie. I misunderstood something and disappeared to lose the last of my weight. I hurt her by accident and she ended up with a loser. I would not have given taken the whole world or any other woman in the world over her and all the wealth. All I wanted was God, me and her. These other males just want a replacement for mom. I would have given her anything thst was in her heart because she was perfect as a woman could be in her heart. My desire to give her my best self made me successful. You are to represent the best of us not share in our folly or foolishness. It makes real men ashamed and makes us want to be better. That my lady is worth fighting and dying for. Not anger or resentment. It was a mistake to devalue and disrespect you. Women must put their mates to the test. Do not get intimate as long as possible. It roots out the weak ones. I just dated a mother of two. As soon as she was thriving with me her lying ex promised and future faked her dreams. She pays for him and now is miserable. We were happy , I shouldnt have to have sex with a girl to claim the situation and her confusion. I believe in free will and taking your time. Women are emotional and impatient to their own destruction. Please dont believe thec words, watch the actions before you get hurt. Shes now miserable and I moved on. I really would have lived her and her children. I hope this helps. You are more valued and respected thsn you think. By those of us left.

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    • hello. after reading a couple of these comments i now realize why i do not care for the septum ring. i had not realized it but this ring reminds me , well a cow. a nose ring is kinda sexy but the septum ring, not so much. girls, my opinion should be of little to no concern to you. cavet emptor

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  2. You were right the first time. It’s hideous, barbaric, and an insult to the Creator. It’s repulsive and reprehensible. I would bet it’a almost always a signal that the person has undergone trauma and great depression and anxiety. It isn’t normal. Normal is good. Disagree all you want. May the freedom to do so always be preserved.

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    • And who are you on your thrown to determine what is normal and that normal is the only thing that’s accepted. Open your mind and just don’t judge others, how about that.

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    • Well I got my nose ring when I turned 52. No trauma as you pontificate. It was simply just because I wanted to. As far as whether it’s an insult to the Creator….nothing in the new testament about.

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      • There is a scripture that talks about excessive braiding of hair and wearing of jewelry. The key word is excessive to the point of drawing undue attention to one’s self. Is braiding hair wrong? No. Done in a way to bring unwanted attention, yes. If a person is seeking attention where ever they are, they are not humble. The Bible speaks thoroughly of being humble as bring a good trait.

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      • Check out the old testament Abraham gave a nise ring to his daughter in law to represent her being taking care of. Honestly the Bible was written and selected by men at Councel of Nicea. The ruler Constantine was Christian and decided he wanted one religion so he held the counsel and they chose the Bible. Do some reading of history if you chose to judge. Blessed Be!

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      • I’m also over 50 and recently decided to get my nose pierced after admiring it on so many others … Not looking for attention
        as far as trauma , I think we have all had our share of personal insults in one way or another ….I have a tiny hoop in my right nostril … I have nobody to answer to but myself so I got it done !!! It hurt more than anticipated… but it was over quickly and I’m not one bit sorry

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    • The only insults to the Creator are hate and intolerance!
      I am a Christian and Catholic, I have piercings, God loves me and I love God. And I fall Christ’s example, I dedicate a big part of my energy to helping others.
      No trauma! No Barbarian. Barbaric is to kills, to rape, to make others suffer. Not piercings.

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  3. I think it signals underlying psychological issues like a repressed sense of self, that needs validation through some kind of external appearance factor. If it’s pretty or not is in the eye of the beholder, to each his own…

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    • It is ridiculous to insinuate mental illness and cultural appropriation, due to origin or level of education of the person pierced,just because you happen to see them and have a master’s in something that is not even medical so you think your opinion matters or counts because it does not.

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    • As a south Asian I feel offended by your remarks. It’s traditional for us. It’s as normal as getting our ear lobes pierced. It’s not a call for validation.

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  4. I woke up one day and thought I want my nose pierced. I waited 3 months and still wanted it and at 56 yrs of age did it. I’m very fearful of needles and to my surprise I sat like a champ and got it no hesitation. #NotOnImpulse

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    • You go girl !!! Good for you !! I wanted it done for quite awhile myself … My grandson wanted it done for his 16 th birthday I saw that as my perfect opportunity to have my own done My daughter ( his mom ) decided to join us
      We made it a family thing and had a blast

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  5. I’ve always wanted one. Just a small diamond-like stud. I’ve always thought they were attractive. I’m in the legal profession though and not sure how that would go over with my colleagues.

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    • If you are a legal proffessional then you most likely you chose that career because of your beliefs a d ethics. Therefore you must believe in your freedoms of right to choose? And would feel much more comfortable hiring someone whom represents there own character as well . There ability too be sure and strong enough to stand by there choices and not be concerned what anyone else thinks. Never should anyone not do something they want because they fear how others will think about it. For we have no right to judge others for anything or reason.

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    • If it’s small enough nobody will even notice
      There are many people both men and women in many occupations who are not afraid to express themselves go for tiny and elegant it will be perfect

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  6. I believe if its old customs and people dont do the research to know what it really about how is any women now really going to really learn the true meaning of having nose ring and the benefits or disadvantages it may bring if you dont really look it up

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  7. Hi Harry,
    I am a God – fearing man and just had a big discussion about it.
    She is dead-set against this too and I want to know why the nose piercing is so offensive. Proof please.
    I am just neutral about this point, but when I saw how firm and mad my wife got concerning this issue I decided to try to do my own research. Really there is not so much material (Biblically speaking) on this issue-unless I have not looked in the right place-please enlighten me!

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  8. I am 60 years old and have had my nose pierced for 25 years as well as my belly button and a couple tattoos. These were all choices that I made because I wanted to and they express a part of my own personality and individualism and are proudly worn to this day.

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  9. Sorry <but I am old school..I think they look stupid and disgusting almost like they forgot to clean their nose…..Rings belong on cows or bulls

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  10. I don’t like any facial piercings on a woman unless it’s for a traditional/religious reason. They do look silly but if someone is plain or ugly they might make that person more interesting. They’re a downgrade for anyone who is already interesting or attractive.

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    • This is how I feel. My wife is beautiful and I find nose rings unattractive. She told me of her intent of getting one. I told her I don’t really like them but I will love her anyway. I understand some people think it’s cute or something but I just don’t see it. At least it can come out if she no longer wants it. She has had emotional issues and has a rebellious personality that could play a role in her discussion but I think it’s a fad and many people think they are cute.

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  11. funny you mention that and I guess 50 years ago when I had a friend with a nostril ring and I ran into her one night . I asked what was different about her she said she had taken her nose ring and I said lets go to my house . so I guess I had your attitude 50 years ago but I have grown and do not judge now even though I do not like Septum piercing !

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  12. Men’s comments here about how they think women should look… LOL! Thankyou for the article. Your body = your choice. I don’t go around judging old fuddy duddy men’s clothes and body shaming them. All women’s bodies are beautiful and a form of self-expression, pierced or not :).

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