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behind the fashion of nose jewelry

In the past couple years, nose and septum piercing chains have become popular amongst recording artists, young celebs, and all of us “regular” folk, but the nose chain actually has cultural significance to some tribal groups that have been rocking this look for way longer than a fashion minute.  Just look to India.

In many parts of India and the Middle East, nose piercings have existed for thousands of years.  From medicinal uses outlined in the Vedic texts, to indicators of marital status, modifications of the nose and septum have a rich and lengthy history.  Traditionally, the nostril of a woman would be pierced to improve her feminine health, and a chain connected from the nose to the ear or hair would be worn on the wedding day, and later removed symbolically by the new husband.  These, along with many other ancient Indian traditions, are still practiced by Indian women today.

 traditional Indian bridal nose chain

Over time, many variations of the nose piercing have been introduced and popularized, but the nose chain as an adornment has remained a constant in alternative culture.  Through the growth of primitivism and the expansion of global awareness, this cute and feminine style has come to be commonplace in the modern fashion world, gracing the runways of many a designer.  Less traditional, more westernized styles have grown to be widely available, and several of our noted celebrity icons are known to incorporate them into their styling.

modern nose chains on the runway(source: WGSN)

The nose chain is more than a youth street fashion staple, it’s a means of cultural connection to our own ancestors, as well as the traditions of our brethren around the world.  Like any true fashion icon, it has a personality all its own, and can sometimes be a little bit “complicated.”

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