"a brooch, or such like heathenish adornment"
Young woman wearing a heathenish brooch
Public DomainYoung woman wearing a heathenish brooch - Credit: Joseph Karl Stieler
Ruby brooch
Creative Commons AttributionRuby brooch - Credit: Glitz UK

Theoretically, Puritans were governed by strict sumptuary laws that forbade extravagance of dress. Their new society, however, retained the social distinctions of England, and a small amount of jewelry worn by those of superior standing was tolerated as a means of giving visible form to this hierarchy. As an outcast, any adornment worn by Hester would automatically be more heathenish than if it embellished the garments of her pious critics.