The history of Vikings

When people talk about the Viking era (about 800 A.D.), the first thing they think of is the bearded warriors attacking defenseless communities on the coast with spears.

The Vikings, invaded the coasts of Europe and British islands from the 8th century to the 11th century, covering the vast territory from the European continent to the Arctic. This period in Europe is called the Viking age.

In Old English, “vikinger” is a person in the Bay, and “wiring” stands for pirates; “Vikingar” also means “sea adventure” in the local language of Iceland. The Vikings’ hometown is Norway, Denmark and Sweden.

At first, they only robbed the monasteries along the coast of Western Europe, and then gradually carried out organized invasion to other European countries. From Ireland to Britain, from France to Eastern Europe, the Vikings could be seen everywhere. Besides the war, the Vikings were also excellent navigators. They gradually discovered Iceland and Greenland in the west, and finally reached North America. Eastward they once reached the Caspian Sea.

However, Fearless barbarians also wore complex and beautiful ornaments, such as bracelets, rings, brooches, pendants, and necklaces.

The history of Viking Jewelry

The Vikings usually used gold, silver, bronze, iron, resin, and amber to design jewelry. Vikings with wealth and social status were happy to show themselves with exquisite jewelry, or gave gifts to others. The common design elements included geometric patterns, animals,and religious symbols, such as snakes, Odin’s wolf, the tree of life and the Thor hammer. The most common jewelry were brooches, armbands and rings. The early Vikings did not wear earrings.

These decorations were simple in the Viking era but evolved over the centuries, they become more and more sophisticated. Viking jewelry not only adds charm to the Vikings but also is used as a trading currency. Decorations that are expensive or large are broken to pay for a proper transaction. It is used like modern coins and paper money. Not only are metals used to design Viking jewelry, but even stones and gems are used. The patterns extracted from Norwegian mythology also have symbolic meanings.

Different Types of Viking Jewelry

Viking Rings

The Viking rings found in the Viking cemetery is not uniform in width and can be adjusted to be worn on different fingers.

Viking Earrings

Nordic earrings are very complex, and they are worn on the whole ear instead of modern earlobes. Historians believe that there were no earrings in the Viking culture and they didn’t wear earrings.

Viking Armbands

The armband or wristband is very popular and has a dual purpose – decorative and monetary. Silver and gold armbands are delicate and complex. They are displays of social status and wealth. You can find arm rings of different designs and shapes.

Viking Necklaces

The necklace is made of different metals, iron wire, and natural fibers. The pendant is made of gems, amber, glass beads, resin, and metal ornaments. Pendants are usually gifts, souvenirs, or religious symbols, which have emotional value to the wearer.  The most common Viking pendants include Thor’s hammer, tree of life, and Valknut.

Viking Beads

Beads were made of gold, silver, or copper and were worn by both men and women. Glass and amber were used to make Viking beads. Beads have been used as Beard jewelry, but archaeologists report that they are rarely worn. Beading has only 1, 2, or 3 beads, which can be worn alone or with additional pendants. More than 3 beads are hardly worn, which means they are very precious. It may symbolize the status and wealth of the Viking community at that time.

Viking Brooches

In some graves, small arms such as arrows, axes, crosses, and perforated coins were found. The Viking brooch is a brooch worn in Viking culture to fix clothes. This is a basic accessory used every day. Oval and round brooches are a common wearing style. The brooch is fixed on the right shoulder with the pin facing up. Women wear oval brooches to tie cloaks, aprons, and dresses. They are very fine and add visual appeal with colored bead chains.

Final Words

Viking jewelry shows that Vikings are not barbarians, but have rich cultural sophistication! You can view the Viking jewelry collection at The collection is similar to ancient Viking jewelry and has some ideas from the Nordic period.

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