Viking Brooches: Beauty Standard of Viking Accessories
According to the historians, the Viking brooches were the essential accessories for the Vikings. Back to the Viking Age, most of Viking women owned a pair of Viking brooches for their clothes.
Viking brooches were also a historical witness of Viking international trade because the Vikings allegedly learned to make their brooches from other tribes whom they did business with. Also, it was true that the Vikings raided around Europe and they could have looted the brooches then learnt how to make it themselves.
As a result of the raids and trade, the Vikings possessed more silver and precious metal from which they could produce their own brooches.
The Viking brooches could be in the form of penannular brooch, the oval brooches, and trefoil brooch. The Vikings usually used a pair of brooches attached to the upper breast of them or to fasten the gown.
Penannular brooches of the Viking Age
Artifact of Viking oval turtle brooch
Viking trefoil brooch found in Birka, Sweden.
On the surface of the brooch, the craftsmen could decorate it with the patterns that once were trendy in the Viking Age.
Regarding the oval brooches, the Vikings could mass-produce them with the moulds. Below are the steps that the Vikings used to follow to make their brooches (The illustration taken from “Mass Production in the Viking Age” by Signe Horn Fugelsang).
A new master mound was made based on a ready-made brooch or a new one
Casting models formed. Each model was retouched and sometimes details added
A mould was made by covering wax with layers of heated clay
The wax having been melted and runs away. It was the lost-wax casting process. Wax pegs inserted for the hinge plates and catch-plate.
A piece of cloth was pressed in the melted wax. This determined the shape and thickness of the final product.
The lower piece of the mould built up over the cloth with tempered clay. The complete mould was heated and the melted wax ran out.
Two pieces separated and the cloth was removed.
The mould got heated and bronze melted in a pot. The molten metal was poured into the mould while it stood in the hearth.
The mould gradually cooled down and it broke and the brooch removed.
Reworking upper surface of the brooch
Holes were bored in the hinge plates and the pin attached.