An ornamental ring worn on the nose. It was inserted either through the left or the right side of the nose or through the partition separating the nostrils and was especially worn by women. (Gen. 24:22, 30, 47; Isa. 3:21) Ishmaelite men, however, according to some translations, also wore nose rings.—Judg. 8:24-26.
The Hebrew word for “nose ring” (neʹzem) can also be applied to an earring and, in some cases, there may have been little difference in the forms of these ornaments. Sometimes the context makes it possible to determine whether a nose ring or an earring is meant.—Compare Genesis 24:47 with Genesis 35:4; Ezek. 16:12.
Though nose rings were generally made of gold, other materials, such as silver, were also used. Nose rings might be ornamented with beads, pieces of coral, or jewels, suspended from them as small pendants. The diameter of nose rings varied from one to as much as three inches (2.5 to 7.6 centimeters). Hanging down over the mouth as it did, the nose ring had to be moved when eating.
At Proverbs 11:22 an outwardly beautiful woman who rejects sensibleness is compared to a “gold nose ring in the snout of a pig.”