VIKINGS LOVED JEWELLERY
VIKING JEWELRY – FASHION WITH A PURPOSE
Vikings enjoyed fashion and the allure of precious metals and they strived to incorporate this into their day-to-day lives by crafting beautiful ornate ornaments. However, unlike most cultures, jewelry pieces in Viking culture typically had a dual purpose, being used both for aesthetic appeal and as a form of currency, much like carrying money in your wallet or purse.
Evidently, Vikings were not the barbarians most people assume they were, they were organized, sophisticated people with a rich culture that has more in common with most other cultures of their era, such as the Saxons or the many other Germanic peoples of Europe of the time.
Here are more jewelry items popular with Vikings. This is Part 2 of my Viking Jewellery blogs, so to check out previously mentioned jewelry, please check out my Blog: Vikings Loved Bling – Viking Jewellery Part 1.
My Blogs on Viking history and society are only a guide and, though every effort is taken to ensure the information is correct, are not intended to be an in-depth or formal academic study. If you are interested in Viking history, the Internet is a great start.
Viking rings were important in Viking Jewellery by Rob Shackleford
Modern Viking-style dress rings are popular rings, like in most other cultures, were worn around the finger and were extremely popular among Vikings. There have been numerous findings of finger rings in Viking gravesites. Compared to those created by modern jewelers, the rings typically had an uneven width, with most of them being open-ended, possibly in order to allow them to fit on different sized fingers with minimal effort. However, finger rings only became popular to the Vikings in the late ages of the Viking era.
Despite the gorgeous costumery and props used in the TV show Vikings, earrings were the least common form of Viking jewelry. Earrings were only found in hoards amongst other types of jewelry, most likely looted from other peoples.
Interesting fact: Nordic earrings were worn over the entire ear as opposed to hanging from the earlobe.
Historians have suggested that Viking earrings were Slavic in origin and not an original concept forged by the Norsemen.
Earrings popularised in ‘Vikings’ were not common
Viking arm rings found in Northern IrelandArm rings/armbands or bracelets were extremely popular in Viking culture and, like neck-rings, served a dual purpose; ornamental and commercial. Some arm rings were very intricate and detailed, having been crafted from precious metals such as gold and silver. Arm rings represented societal standing and were a display of wealth.
Unlike the oath rings popularised in the series ‘Vikings’, finds of bracelet fragments tell us that they were in fact a form of wearable currency rather than an oath ring. Vikings used a bullion economy and they traded for goods and services in silver. It is believed that Vikings would cut off a piece of the silver bracelet in exchange for goods and services.
Armbands came in different shapes and designs. Some were spiral in design, wrapping themselves around the arm several times, giving them a firm grip around the arm, and making it easier for the wearer to tear a piece of the end off during a commercial transaction. Other arm rings were only long enough to wrap around three-quarters of the arm; these were the bands most commonly used as currency because they were plain and flat, which made them easier to break apart whenever needed.
Because of popular cultural trends, Viking-styled jewelry is seeing a resurgence among some and can be readily purchased off the Internet.