If you think about the Vikings and the Norse era, their precious stones and jewelry must not be the first thing that comes to your mind. What you may be imagining are their savage looks that ready to conquer another island or their long and hairy beards that can be seen from their boats. You may also think about their swords, spears, and shields that they commonly used to attack communities along the coast.
However, while they are fearless warriors, the Vikings also created unique and intricate jewelry and ornaments. They always wear countless bracelets, necklaces, rings, earrings, and a lot of others. These pieces of jewelry are usually made from different kinds of materials:
About Viking Jewelry
The jewelries are usually beautifully handcrafted with materials such as gold, bronze, silver, and animal bones. You can read the making of Viking jewelry on many sites and learn more about how these ancient Norse people incorporated precious stones, beads, and other decorations into their accessories.
Know that both men and women are fond of ornaments and this is to let others know about their status in the community.
It is not only the rich that can craft their brooches and rings. The poor were also known to make their bracelets from pewter, bronze, and the bones of animals that they have hunted.
The Vikings are always changing their styles according to the country that they are visiting or conquering and adapt other people’s traditions as their own. They are known to twist materials into snake shapes and other images of many animals when they find that these are popular in other areas.
The Purpose of the Custom Trinkets
Both men and women in the community know that wearing the trinkets and accessories can add a bit of glamor and sophistication to their world. But many bracelets or rings may have secondary purposes, and they are often used for trading. Most Vikings use precious metals since these can also act as currencies to their needs. You can do a bit of reading about the history of Vikings in this link here.
If the ornament is too valuable or large in a specific trade, most of them will break small pieces here and there to match a particular deal. The small chunks can be compared to the modern-day coins and notes that are used all over the world today.
However, not all jewelry is made from precious metals and stones. Some of them may have applied insets of beads, stones, and precious rocks. It’s rare for Vikings to decorate their rings with stones, but it happens sometimes.
The necklaces can be made from gold, silver, and bronze. The trinkets are woven through iron wires and natural fibers with different sizes and lengths. Most of the necklaces are paired with pendants made from glass, amber, precious stones, or resin. They are often used as souvenirs or charms, and the wearer may hold religious meaning to a particular accessory.
To add to their necklaces, Vikings may also wear the ever-famous neck rings. These are made from bronze, silver, and gold, and they are also designed to be traded. A small piece of the neck ring can be cut depending on the total amount needed for a commercial trade to be completed.
Here are other histories about neck rings that you may be interested in: https://historydaily.org/what-you-didnt-know-about-the-practice-of-neck-elongation.
Amulets and Pendants
The pendants are decorative pieces that are hung from the chain of a bracelet or necklace. The most common designs used by most Vikings are Thor’s hammer or the Mjolnir. Others may opt to get the miniature weapons such as arrowheads or axes.
The rings are trendy in the Viking culture. For many, the curls don’t just have ornamental value, they are also used to cement the lord’s bonds with his warriors in a society where men live and die protecting their honor. Other materials used for rings are copper, silver, and gold. Some of the groups may use the rings as a form of currency that they can easily protect or transport in any place that they will go.
The brooches are very popular in the Viking culture, and these are even considered every day essentials. They are responsible for holding the clothes in place of both men and women. They come in many styles, and they can be oval or penannular in shape.
The men are the ones who exclusively wear penannular types. This later became a trend to Irish and Scottish settlers. They fasten the brooches on the men’s shoulder, and the pin faces upwards. This let the men have a free sword-arm as much as possible for a more straightforward combat.
The women are the typical wearers of the oval brooches. These ornaments are used to fasten aprons, dresses, and cloaks. They are more ornate and detailed when compared to the penannular varieties. The single brooches are fastened into a woman’s clothing, and they are decorated with chains of beads for a more visual attraction.
The armbands are trendy ornaments like the neck rings. They can serve two purposes like the other accessories, such as being used for cosmetic reasons or something that can be used in trading. Some of the bands are detailed and intricate. The more beautiful and unique the band’s design is, the more it will show the people around that the wearer is powerful and wealthy.
The armbands can be in different designs and shapes. Most are spiral, and they wrap themselves several times on the wearer’s arms. This makes it easy to tear a piece for a commercial transaction.
The other arm rings are long enough to wrap around one-half of one’s arm. Straight bands are the most commonly used currencies because they are flat and simple. They are easier to break whenever there’s a need for them.
The Bottom Line
Vikings were not able to resist the allure that is found in precious metals and stones. They were able to incorporate their daily life into their jewelry and show their status through their accessories. But the purpose of the jewels may be different from other cultures as they typically carry their trinkets as a form of currency.
Vikings are not the barbarians that most people perceive them as they were. They have a rich culture that consisted of organized and sophisticated people. They have a lot in common when it comes to others’ cultures in their era, and the way they are making their jewelry is proof of this.