For the last couple of years, Vikings have made a strong reappearance in pop culture. The Norse people originated from Scandinavia and is well-known for trading with European countries. Throughout the 8th and 11th centuries, Vikings were also known for raiding and piracy giving them a rugged appearance. They are a tribe believed to be feared as they set sail to explore different lands while sowing plunder where ever they went.
In more recent years, the obsession with this no-nonsense tribe has re-emerged. Many people studying their history are enchanted by their course way of living. While others took it upon themselves to dress up like Viking kings for special events. Learn more about Vikings and their history here: https://www.livescience.com/32087-viking-history-facts-myths.html
The fantasy of the Norse people lives on through popular television programs and movies. Many people fell in love with Ragnar Lodbrok in the earth-shattering series ‘Viking’. Men want to be as strong and courageous as the portrayed character, while women are left fantasizing of his ability to protect and honor.
Children aren’t left out of the equation with the fantasy animation series ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ becoming a crowd favorite overnight. Other movies that stirred the rediscovery of the culture are Valhalla rising, Northmen: A Viking Saga, Outlander, and The 13th Warrior.
The Northmen have become increasingly popular and influential. With their oversized fur coats, braided hair, leather boots, big swords, and of course their intricate jewelry designs.
There was a time when wearing a symbolic Norse necklace or jewelry piece was seen as extremely unfashionable. Luckily, for everyone fascinated with the Viking’s dress code, Viking necklaces are back in fashion.
What is Viking Jewelry?
Authentically, these pieces were carefully crafted by craftsmen. They were made from either simple animal bones, gold, or other types of metals. Studies have stated that it was an indication of status. The rich would wear jewelry carefully crafted by precious stones and metal like gold and silver. Whilst the poor would have to settle for pieces made from bronze, animal bones, or pewter. Other materials used to adorn pieces were stones and precious rocks.
No matter what your status or what material they were made from, they would always be carefully crafted and hold intricate designs.
An interesting fact: Vikings would use their jewelry to trade. They would break off pieces to trade for other objects. Just like we do today with coins and notes. Must be the reason why they would make it from precious metal, in order for it to hold more value during a trade.
Who Wore the Jewelry?
The great thing about Viking jewelry is that it is suitable to be worn by either men or women. Both genders loved wearing brooches, bracelets, rings, arm rings, and necklaces.
Men are known to wear symbolic brooches on their right shoulders, while women would wear one on both shoulders to keep their shawls in place.
By the amount of jewelry found during excavations and by studying Nordic history, it is very clear that less wasn’t more. Vikings would wear multiple rings, necklaces, brooches, and armbands all at once. This would show their status as well as their religious beliefs. The bigger, the better.
Most Famous Designs
The designs would usually resemble animal heads (typically ravens, wolves, or goats), twisted snakes, weapons, or various symbols associated with their culture.
Because the tribes would travel around Europe and come in contact with many other cultures, they would pick up (or steal) pieces and give them a Viking twist once they come home. Therefore, Viking jewelry pieces are influenced by many other cultures, but still have a very specific stamp.
Although craftsmen could basically incorporate any ornamental design ideas into their pieces, there were a few designs that were more sought after. During the 11th century, a snake-like animal was depicted on Danish brooches. This design was intricate and extremely popular. Other popular brooches were decorated in silver and gold details and would be cast as a drum in order for it to be more visible on clothes.
Golden arm rings were worn on the bicep and looked gorgeous on muscular arms of men and women. It was typically decorated with fine trees, bulging half-circles, and crosses. Read this for examples of intricate jewelry pieces.
Necklaces were made from different metals (gold, silver, bronze) combined together. The lace itself was made from iron wires or natural fibers that was twisted together creating different lengths and thickness. They were most commonly big and bold in size.
The necklace would most always be accompanied by a gorgeously intricate pendant. The pendant was adorned by small metallic charms, resin, precious stones, colorful glass beads, and other colorful rocks.
Most pendants were customized to the wearer, as it held great symbolic meaning. Usually depicting Nordic religious symbols or other signs that was connected to their heritage.
Viking Jewelry Today
For anyone with a slight addiction to Viking history and adornments, the Viking necklace is making a popular return into the fashion world. Manufacturers are creating high-quality replicas of the authentic pieces and selling it to fans.
You will be able to find Viking necklaces that resemble some of the most popular designs from the era, usually made from stainless steel or sterling silver.
Pendants are treated with a special technique to create an older and more authentic appeal. Showcasing animal heads (wolves, ravens, bears, and snakes) and the very popular Thor’s hammer design.
The great thing about purchasing Viking necklaces today is that you can interchange pendants and necklaces with each other. Necklaces are either made from twisted real leather, or different stainless-steel designs.
Other trendy designs include Thor’s hammer with goat heads, Viking shields, Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjostr Thor goat chains, Slavic Kolovrat with axes, Compass designs, Helm of Awe, and religious symbols.
If you haven’t jumped on the trend just yet, now is the time you can adorn your body with a little piece of Nordic history.