The first recorded incidence of body jewelry via piercing comes from the evidence of nose rings recorded over 4,000 years ago in the Middle East. Further evidence is found within the verses of the bible where in Genesis there is reference to a gold nose ring. Nose rings in the Middle East and India are used to denote social standing and family wealth. Nose piercing appears to have came to America in the 1960s when the Eastern religion and enlightenment swept across the nation.
Additional types of body jewelry have equally fascinating beginnings. Ear piercing is unarguably one of the most common forms of body jewelry. With the history of earrings going back as far as 3000 BC in parts of Asia, it appears that this form of body jewelry was used as an expression for both cultural and decorative reasons. Mummies dating back as far as five centuries have been noted to have piercings and body jewelry in their ears upon burial. These cultural adornments of body jewelry have lost some of the symbolic roots, and based upon current trends has become more of a fashion accessory.
Tongue piercing is another common form of adornment and body jewelry. Tongue piercing was part of the ritual of many tribal societies including the Mayans, the Aztecs, the Tlingit and the Haida. The blood that was drawn during the piercing was thought to appease the gods.
There are, of course, many other types of body jewelry that have their roots in ancient rituals and lifestyles. From nipples to much more personal locations, body jewelry is a current fashion trend with very old ancestry. In some cases today, body jewelry may be the result of seeking a way of honoring familiar heritage. For others, it is the attempt to find a way to make a personal statement.