Ten Favourite … Pieces of Viking Jewellery

Christina here with a new feature on Word Wenches, where we will list favourite objects in a category of our choice. Today I have chosen Viking jewellery, because I find it fascinating and beautiful to look at, and there is so much to choose from!

As part of my research into the Vikings, I have obviously visited an awful lot of museums to view artifacts from that era. I am always especially drawn to the jewellery and although it was incredibly difficult to choose, below is a list of my top ten favourites so far. The Vikings were superb craftsmen and I would happily own any/all of the following:-

1 Min ringNo 1 has to be the ring that inspired the first of my Viking stories. It is kept at the Historical Museum in Stockholm, and as I’ve mentioned previously I own an exact replica of it. Some jewellery company was given the right to reproduce part of the treasures kept in Scandinavian museums and I was lucky enough to be given this by my parents. The ring is a stylised snake or dragon with two heads, and I love the intricate design as well as the overall simplicity.

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Hidden in the Mists

Hidden In the Mists mediumAnne here, and today I'm interviewing Christina Courtenay about her new book, HIDDEN IN THE MISTS (released yesterday 18th August). As expected, this is a Viking story — and just as an aside, Christina's Viking stories have brought me happily back to this genre, after I'd thought I'd given up on Viking stories. Hers are fresh, original and really well researched. But this time Christina has departed from the time-slip plot and written a dual timeline story, one set in Viking times and the other in modern times.

Here’s a short summary: Skye Logan has been struggling to run her remote farm on Scotlands west coast alone ever since her marriage fell apart. When a handsome stranger turns up looking for work, it seems that her wish for help has been granted. But echoes of the distant past wont leave them alone, and it seems that the ghosts of the past have secrets … and they have something that they want Skye and Rafe to know.

Anne:  Christina, what inspired this story?

22 ViewChristina:  HIDDEN IN THE MISTS was written during the Covid pandemic when we were in lockdown here in the UK. Usually I like to travel to the places where my stories are set, but as we weren’t allowed to go anywhere I decided I had to use a location I’d already visited. Scotland is one of my favourite places and it seemed ideal as I wanted to write a dual time narrative that was partly about Vikings. They raided and settled along the west coast of Scotland and the islands there quite early on. It helped that I happen to have a very good friend who lives there and she was able to assist me whenever I needed any precise details. As I mentioned in last week’s blog post, the spark for this book also came from the Galloway Hoard, the fabulous Viking treasure found in 2014. The plot grew from there and the various elements came together in my imagination.

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All that glitters …

Poster… isn’t gold – but sometimes it IS!

Christina here. Next week my latest book will be released and the idea for this story was sparked by the Galloway Hoard, a magnificent treasure found in Scotland in 2014. As soon as I heard about it, I was fascinated. I could only imagine how amazing it must feel to discover something like that. Despite having bought myself a metal detector a few years ago, I’ve never found anything other than a few rusty nails and a piece of iron pipe, so I decided I would have to fulfil this dream in my imagination instead. Add to this the fact that the hoard was of Viking origin and it seemed like serendipity! That’s when Hidden in the Mists started to take shape in my mind.

BirdThe hoard was probably buried around 900 AD and consists of various gold and silver items, as well as other more ordinary things. It’s one of the most incredible treasures ever found in Scotland and the richest one from the Viking age. I read all the articles about it when it was first revealed and couldn’t wait for it to go on display. That took a while as obviously the items had to be conserved and assessed first. Eventually, I was fortunate enough to see it in person, and I was enthralled by the many precious objects. My absolute favourite was a little gold pin in the shape of a bird which I had already used in another story, Whispers of the Runes. The hero of that book is a silversmith/jeweller and I had him make a pin just like this. I saw it as a bird of prey or a raven judging by its curved beak, but archaeologists felt it more resembled a flamingo. Most probably it’s a fantasy bird but either way, I just love how intricate it is, despite being so small!

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