Viking Jewelry: What Jewelry Did the Vikings Wear?
The Vikings whom you might be thinking as a group of savage men with beard and acting violently were not historically like what you see on the media. Movies or books are written down with the will of the authors. They are art but art is just a lie, a deceptive moonlight. Historical and archaeological evidence showed that the Vikings were hygienic, in love with colourful clothes and jewelry. We will discuss the two formers in the following blog posts. In this article, we focus on Viking Jewelry. So what jewelry did the Vikings wear in their time?
For the Vikings, jewelry was not to decorate themselves only. Pieces of jewelry presented both their social status and their religious belief. Commonly, the richer one Viking got, the more jewelry they wore to show off their wealth. The Vikings also used their jewelry as a purse or a wallet. Overall, Viking jewelry in Viking era was a multi-purpose accessory. Below are some archaeological artifacts of Viking Jewelry
THOR HAMMER PENDANT
The most famous excavation of Thor Hammer Pendant should be that in Købelev, a Danish island of Lolland. The pendant excavated in Købelev helped solve the 1,000-year mystery of the hammer-shaped pendant artifact. For years, archaeologists had doubted whether those hammer-shaped artifacts resembled Thor's hammer Mjolnir.
Viking Thor Hammer Pendant with the runic inscription reading "This is a hammer" that helps solve a-millennium mystery.
And then they found out the similar pendant in Købelev. More interestingly, there was a runic inscription on the pendant. The runic inscription reads "Hmar x is" which means "This is a hammer". The pendant dated back to 1,100 years ago.
Thor's Hammer Mjolnir Pendant Viking Jewelry was found in Ödeshög/Östergötland in Sweden
Viking Raven Thor Hammer Pendant replica of original Viking jewelry found in Scandia, Sweden.
Thor Hammer Viking accessory found in Assartorp, Gärdslöv, Skåne
Viking Jewelry Thor Hammer Pendant found in the territory of Russia and Ukraine
VIKING BROOCH PIN
Brooch is a decorative jewelry item with a pin in the back to be attached to the garments. Archaeologists have unearthed many pieces of Viking brooches by far.
The Vikings often used the brooches to hold the endings of their cloak or coat together. The decorative patterns varied. Some are found with the Borre style. Some even have the protruding loops to attach the ribbons.
One interesting finding that the archaeologists assume to be a part of Viking brooch was the artifact featuring Odin with "horned helmet". At first, the archaeologists believed that the brooch featured Odin wearing a horned helmet. This raised a question about the historical existence of the Viking horned helmet. Later, they found out that this was a broken brooch pin. And the "horned helmet" actually depicted two ravens flying with Odin. In Norse mythology, Odin had Huginn and Muninn as his constant companions.
Viking Trefoil brooch
Viking brooch to attach on Viking clothes
Viking ship-shaped brooch dating back to 9th century in Tjørnehøj II, Fyn, Denmark
Example showing how the Vikings attached their brooch on their clothes. This is a Viking tortoise brooch
Reading about Viking arm ring is awesome for both factual and mythological tales surrounded Viking arm ring. Historically, the Vikings used their arm ring as their purse/wallet. They often wore their arm ring when they went to the market. And if they bought something, they would hack a small piece from the arm ring to trade. We know it as the "hack silver".
Viking gold arm ring with subtle decoration dating back to the 9th century found in Denmark
The most famous legendary fact about the Viking arm ring revolves around the Viking solemn oath. It is said that when a Viking boy came up age, he and other boys would come and meet the chieftain. The chieftain who was very wealthy sitting on his chair and giving these boys silver or gold arm ring.
But to receive the arm ring, the boys must pledge their fidelity to the chieftain. For this, the arm ring was not merely an accessory. Rather, it became the witness of the solemn vow of the Viking boy. And in the Viking Age, it was a shame that a Viking broke their oath.
Viking dragon arm ring dating back to the 10th century
Viking twisted arm ring dating back to the 10th century
Viking wolf head bracelet replica of original Viking wolf head arm ring found in Gotland, Sweden
Viking arm ring found in Latvia dating back to the 8th century