Mary wearing jewelry or makeup?


I was wondering if Mary might have worn simple jewelry, or even a very light dusting of cosmetics, during her life for, let’s say, very special occasions, such as the Wedding at Cana. I don’t think it would have been considered too vain, even for her, if it was just a little, enough to look a little more special. I just thought of this the other day, and thought to wonder.


We just don’t know. Nothing in the Bible tells us. However, accredited apparitions of Our Lady such as Lourdes and Fatima may give us a guide to her preferences which seem to be simple and use of flowers in a natural manner.
I for one, will not be asking her if I get to meet her, although if I get to Heaven, I think my room will be a fair way off her neighbourhood. However, if in the crowds of her passing, i will keep my eyes out for you.


Well cosmetics were already used even back in Isaac’s time. Of course the richer the person was the more ostentatious the regalia and makeup worn was.

Perhaps our Lady did indulge in some perfume and used some jewelry made of bronce for special occasions.


Most people back then would use scented oils, on their hair, etc… I think it may depend on which stage of life Mary was in as to whether or not she´d wear makeup or jewelry. I seem to recall that if a woman was widowed she would not wear any makeup or jewelry.


1 Peter 3:3 Your adornment should not be an external one: braiding the hair, wearing gold jewelry, or dressing in fine clothes,

4 but rather the hidden character of the heart, expressed in the imperishable beauty of a gentle and calm disposition, which is precious in the sight of God.

5 For this is also how the holy women who hoped in God once used to adorn themselves

On the other hand:

**Revelation 12:1 ** A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.

The two go together I’d think … even though they represent pretty broad perameters. :wink:

Apparitions of Our Lady usually report her to be beautifully clothed - Our Lady of Guadaloupe comes to mind - though there it does not appear Our Lady is wearing any “makeup” but that her simple beauty shines through.


Mary walked with Jesus all day. She was a part of his ministry, as was his aunt, also named Mary (or Miriam in Hebrew), and later Mary Magdalene. I would doubt that any of the three, walking all day in the hot, dusty desert would wear makeup or jewelry. And presumably, Mary was a widow. Widows would not wear jewelry or makeup, as one poster already pointed out. They did, however, perfume their hair with oils, but this was a very expensive habit, so I doubt they did it often. I think Our Blessed Mother’s sinless natural beauty was adornment enough.


She probably wore whatever was usual for women of that time, for her age and area.
At that time, I think make-up was more for the wealthy and higher class.



Yes, I agree with this assumption. She probably wore, as a married woman, the coins of her betrothal–the kind Jesus talked about in the parable of the lost coin. It’s still a Middle-Eastern custom for Bedouin women to wear these coins. When widowed the coins were meant to help support her and her children or to be passed on to a daughter–as I understand it. But make-up was reserved for the higher classes of women, the ones who were married to government officials or had money. Mary was a simple peasant woman who probably never even thought about wearing make-up in her cultural milieu.

This topic is often brought up to compare our cultural norms to “what would Mary do” as if Mary’s lifestyle has any bearing on what is normal and proper for women in our culture. I believe it isn’t. Modesty isn’t about wearing jewelry or make-up or not, but knowing how to wear both in a way that doesn’t draw undue attention to oneself. Some women prefer not to wear either, and that’s their choice and if fine, of course. But some, who hold jobs or social positions that require they blend into that strata of society can wear both without shame, again as long as it’s not a matter of vanity but of fitting in within the bounds of propriety.


You’re right. Jewelry was more ubiquitous than makeup was, and it was not a women-only thing: both men and women owned it. (Some Middle Eastern cultures have this practice of tattooing as a form of ornamentation, but that was taboo among the Jews.) Obviously the rich are gonna own a lot more bling and would wear them more often (working peasants - i.e. those who are not wealthy, which is basically everyone else - would have reserved most of the jewelry they owned for special occasions), but AFAIK the only people who wouldn’t own some form of jewelry or ornamentation are the utterly destitute.


I think of Her as having been beautiful inside and outside. Outside beauty is very important too. I’ve always thought of her as being very pretty, delicate, with long soft dark hair and golden skin, and wearing a long white gold-trimmed veil and gown (in her shining apparitions) I think she probably wore a little makeup and jewelry for special occasions, and I do like the idea of her having washed her hair in scented oil. Sometimes I wish I had lived back in that ancient time.


Mary appears in glorious raiment in her apparitions because she is glorified in heaven, not because she would have dressed like that in her earthly life. As a widow she would have worn black with no ornamentation of any kind–because that was the norm for her culture. Being of the peasant class, she wouldn’t have worn make-up for special occasions. The Jews didn’t think that way. The most she may have worn was black lining around her eyes to shield them from the bright summer sun, as many middle-eastern people did at the time. Mary didn’t go to parties–she would have attended weddings and other family affairs, but she wasn’t of the class that threw parties because they didn’t entertain dignitaries at their gatherings in the way ladies of the rich might have done.


Why is outside beauty “very” important? (Don’t get me wrong; I think Our Blessed Mother was probably beautiful, and those who have seen apparitions of her describe her as beautiful, with black hair, which you can’t see much of because it’s covered, white and blue clothing, and a lovely, sweet, gentle face.)

It’s funny. In our church a statue of Mary sits on one side of the altar and a statue of Jesus on the other side. Mary has very light skin and light brown hair, whereas Jesus is very olive skinned with black hair! I think Mary probably had very dark hair and olive skin because she was from the Eastern Mediterranean area.

But what about people who don’t have much outward beauty? Many of our most cherished saints did not possess a lot of outward beauty. It was their inner beauty that shone through.


Only tangentially related to the topic, but I like looking at 19th century photographs of Palestine and its people.


I didn’t “get you wrong”:slight_smile: I know, it sounded kind of shallow to say outside beauty is very important, but I guess it is my weakness. I guess I compare it to a flower. God made beautiful things so we could enjoy them. He wouldn’t have wanted, I don’t think, to make a flower some awful-looking thing. If something is meant to be beautiful, He’s most times made it beautiful on the outside too. As for the saints, I remember reading about many of them all throughout my growing up. Some of them even cut off their curls beause they were afraid it would lead to vanity. Some were beautiful on the outside and tried to make themselves so they weren’t because they thought it would humble them even more. That was good of them, but, small confession…I could just never do it.:o


God made weeds, too, that most people find unattractive and kill on their lawns. Weeds are considered to mar the beauty of a green lawn, however, God loves the weeds as much as he loves the lilies.

I have below waist-length, thick, dark hair that people find extremely beautiful, however, I would cut it off in a second for Jesus.


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