Nose rings and all that bling

Sophia Ayub explores the history of piercings within different cultures, whilst sharing her own personal favourites …

Sophia Ayub
11th May 2021

When it comes down to piercings, I wouldn’t self-proclaim myself as some form of expert, however, I must admit, I’ve had my fair share of horror tales. Despite this, I without a doubt am obsessed with every single one of my little pieces collection and look towards a potential expansion in my piercing collection. Before sharing my favourites, here’s a little history on the story behind this highly favoured beauty trend that has revolutionised accessory trends. 

Piercings have been apart of ancient tradition for centuries

Research has shown that the earliest record of body piercings, from evidence within a stone relief, was found in Nimrud, Iraq from around the 9th century BC. As well as this, the remains of what is believed to be a 5,000-year-old mummified body, maintain evidence of a 7-11 mm diameter piercing. Reasons behind piercings vary from tribal branding to reflections of class status, as demonstrated by the ancient Egyptians, who even reserved certain piercings to members of royalty. Earrings particularly gained popularity within the Elizabethan and renaissance period, where pearl drops and diamond studs were fashioned to display one's wealth. 

In the last hundred years, piercings were fashioned predominantly by hippies and travellers who adopted the practice from countries such as India. Growing up I identified body piercings, as well as tattoos to correlate with the punk aesthetic. They also signified an outcasted, rejected style. I remember when first piercing my lobes, my primary and high school requested I’d cover my newly pierced holes with tape, as they didn’t look ‘appropriate’. Over the past couple of years, society has adapted and welcomed all new types of body art expression.

We’ve adapted our perception of our individual choice to modify and express our bodies. Piercings have quickly become largely popular in our social culture. 

In regards to my specific favourite piercings, I would without a doubt refer to the piercings situated on the left side of my face. As well as having both my earlobes pierced from a young age, I have a nose ring as well as a scaffolding piercing. 

The scaffolding piercing I remember was the one I was specifically very hesitant to get. Prior to this piercing, I had a botch job performed on my right upper cartilage provided by an unqualified individual and an online purchased piercing gun, (always do your research and consult a professionally trained individual). However, to my surprise, the piercing itself was a breeze. I barely felt it. I’ll admit, however, the two-year healing process was a journey, nonetheless a journey worth the wait. 


My nose ring was more culturally inspired. My south Asian cultural heritage celebrates nose rings heavily amongst women. Most women in my family fashioned one, and I couldn’t wait to join them. There was a specific piece of jewellery adorned by traditional south Asian brides that I knew I always wanted to wear one day, which fashioned a nose ring connected to an earlobe piercing by a singular chain. My nose ring holds special significance, and for me, it represents more than body art, but a piece of my culture as well as heritage. 

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