Jewelry (British spelling: jewellery) (Pali: ratanābharaṇa) is a form of personal adornment that can include earrings, rings, necklaces, bracelets, etc.
One of the eight Precepts which committed Buddhists practice on half and full-moon days is not to use makeup or personal adornment. Harmless in themselves, jewelry represents the desire to make things appear different from what they actually are. At least twice a month serious lay Buddhists abstain from wearing jewelry and give themselves to recognizing, accepting and being content with the present reality. Monks and nuns are asked not to use ‘garlands, perfumes, cosmetics, ornaments and adornments’ for these reasons and also because they require so much time and expense (Digha Nikaya I,5).
Jewelry, for many is considered an art and for some Buddhists, art is seen as another attachment. While it is clear that a fully enlightened arahant may have little use and no attachment to mundane things like art, for other Buddhists and those interested in Buddhism, art can be a wholesome action and interest. The Buddha saw its value because he said monks and nuns could beautify their monasteries by painting them different colours and decorating them with various geometrical and floral designs (Vinaya 2. 117). As Buddhism spread in the centuries after the Buddha's passing his teachings gave an impetus to all the arts; painting, sculpture, poetry, drama and to a lesser degree music. There are Buddhist Vinaya rules against monks and nuns indulging in arts, shows, and games, but this rule does not apply to lay people. Monks and nuns are supposed to devote their lives to the study and teaching of Dhamma and it would look unseemly for them to be seen by lay people engaged in such things as watching movies, painting pictures, or discussing creative chess strategies.
Buddhists wear jewelry, if they so choose, but do not use them during retreats and other days when they want to focus on their meditation practice. At other times, Buddhists wear jewelry at the same rate as anyone else in the community / nation. Lay people are allowed to wear jewelry and for those who like to wear it, the use could be considered a skillful means to non-Buddhists, showing that Buddhists do not shed all wealth or give up all pleasures of modern life.
Some Buddhists prefer to wear jewelry with a Buddhist-theme, including Buddha pendants and rings, Dhamma wheel pendants and rings, mala (rosary type) beads, and Hotei pendants.