What Jewelry did the Vikings wear?

When mentioned "Vikings", I believe that what comes to mind is a warrior wielding a spear, a sword, a heavy shield, and a helmet with two horns to fight against looting, not jewelry. However, the fact is that they have also made exquisite and intricate jewelry, mainly using materials such as bronze, iron, gold and silver, amber and resin.

Viking Jewelry History

Nordic jewelry can be traced back to the early Viking era (around 800 AD), and has become more refined with the development of craftsmanship. Ancient Vikings, both men and women, like to wear multiple pieces of jewelry, which are printed with various symbols from Norse mythology to Thor's Hammer. Viking jewellery products are very polarized, either clumsy and heavy, and can withstand the test of war; or extremely delicate, which is a manifestation of wealth and status.

Thousands of years ago, Vikings with wealth and social status would be happy to use exquisite jewelry to show themselves or give gifts to relatives and friends. Very common design elements include geometric patterns, flora and fauna, and religious symbols such as snakes, Odin’s wolf, the tree of life, and Thor's hammer. The most common jewelry is brooches, bracelets and rings. Early Vikings did not wear earrings, even though the Vikings learned about and snatched earrings through contact with people from other ethnic groups.

Silver, copper, gold, and amber jewelry have been unearthed from Viking cemeteries all over Europe. Among them, silver and copper are the most common, and craftsmen use the dewaxing casting process to process them into various shapes. Those who are not rich wear animal horns, bones and iron ornaments. Surprisingly, the Vikings have mastered the glass making method, and multi-color glass beads have become popular among ladies. 

Now, with the spread of Viking culture, Viking jewelry has gradually become popular. Designers incorporated Viking elements into different materials to design jewelry that meets the aesthetics of modern people.

The culture of Viking jewelry

Every Viking jewellery has its own meaning, and the symbols and patterns on the jewellery all have meanings.

Viking Ring

Before the late Viking era, there was very little tradition of wearing a ring, but now, rings with Viking motifs, such as runes, Ægishjálmr, valknut, etc., are very popular. 

Like many other jewelry design concepts in other regions, the purpose of Viking jewelry is to emphasize the power of the wearer. the Fenris Wolf Ring is a hope that the Viking warrior will be as powerful as the wolf in Norse mythology, a match for all the gods.

Viking pendant 

The thunder god Thor's hammer pendant, which represents thunder and lightning, is by far the most popular pendant design. These mysterious Viking symbols not only appear on jewelry, but also carved on rune stones and weapons in the form of images, text and stories. In addition to being designed as abstract patterns, it also contains images of animals, nature and gods. 

Some scholars believe that some Viking jewelry may also have religious significance. The pendants preserved in several tombs are engraved with religious symbols such as Mjolnir (Thor’s Hammer), Valknuts and Yggdrasil (Tree of Life). Vikings often placed jewelry in the tomb and believed that having wealth can lead to a comfortable life in the afterlife.

Viking bracelet and necklace

Bracelets and necklaces are the jewelry most worn by Vikings. In addition to being used as decorative jewelry, Viking jewelry was also used as currency in the Viking era. The Vikings wore silver arm and neck ornaments, and when they needed to pay the bill, they cut off some fragments and paid as broken silver. This kind of jewelry is called "Huck Silver", which saves you the trouble of carrying a wallet. Merchants therefore usually carry small scales with them.

The Viking armband is an ornament for Viking men, and the armband is made of special materials. It is made of looted silver metal. For Viking pirates, it is not only a symbol of status, but also It has the characteristics of decoration. But now, there are more materials for Viking bracelets, stainless steel is common, the price is favorable, and the bracelet is exquisite and not easy to damage, it is the first choice for cheap jewelry.

In short, the Vikings like fashion and precious metals. They work hard to make exquisite ornate decorations and pay attention to integration with daily life. Obviously, the Vikings are not barbarians that most people think, but an organized group with mature social relationships. They have their own rich culture, even surpassing the civilization of most other regions of the time.

Thank you for reading. If you want to read more articles about Viking jewelry, read here. Or you can just read our previous posts here. 

What is your favorite Viking jewelry? Feel free to leave your comments.

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