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.

 

2 BirdNo 2 is this little bird pin which was part of the Galloway Hoard, a Viking treasure dug up in Scotland. I am in awe of the craftsmanship – how could the smith make such a tiny object so detailed and perfect? You see the eyes and feathers clearly, and it is all so incredibly delicate. I fell in love with it the first time I saw a photo of it, and again when I went to see the hoard in person. I would give anything to own this!

 

 

3 Mjolnir StNo 3 – No list of Viking jewellery would be complete without at least one Thor’s Hammer, either as a necklace or an amulet. This particular depiction of Mjölnir is solid gold and rather large, and it can be found in the Historical Museum in Stockholm. It’s a little too masculine for my taste, but I still love it. I can definitely see one of my heroes wearing it proudly. It would show that he is rich and powerful, and hopefully has the god Thor on his side.

 

4 TortoiseNo 4 – There is also no way one can leave out a pair of tortoise brooches, worn by most Viking women of high status. Most were made out of bronze, so not as valuable in terms of the metal used, but there were silver ones as well and the designs are exquisite. The ladies usually hung rows of beads in between, which added colour to the ornaments. This pair are a lovely example, and can be seen in the Historical Museum in Oslo, but there are loads more.

 

5 Brooch StNo 5 – Most Vikings would have worn a brooch or pin of some sort to hold their cloaks/shawls together to protect them from the cold Scandinavian weather. This is a magnificent example, probably very heavy, and would have suited a man better than a woman. I really like the animal heads and details of gold picked out on top of the silver – gorgeous! Other types feature longer pins and more subtle decoration but they are all beautiful. (This one can be found in the Stockholm Historical Museum)

 

6 Plain gold StNo 6 – Sometimes plain is best and I absolutely love these hefty gold armrings. You can’t go wrong with something like this and as an added bonus they were a way of hoarding (and showing off!) your wealth. If absolutely necessary, pieces could have been snipped off and used as payment. Having the weight of them on your wrist (or upper arm perhaps?) must be extremely satisfying and I’d be very happy to try them out. (Stockholm Historical Museum again)

 

7 Valkyrie amulet DNo 7 – This little amulet depicts a Viking woman (possibly a Valkyrie?) and I find it utterly charming. Her hair tied in two knots, literally as they seem to be made out of her tresses, is very sweet, and she appears to be wearing a fancy linen undertunic with lots of pleats. She’s irresistible! (She can be found in Copenhagen at the National Museum there). Amulets were common, carried to give luck or ward off evil. Seeresses especially had lots of them.

 

8 Necklace clasps DNo 8 – This silver necklace has intriguing clasps, very typical of the Viking style. I like the fact that they are biting the ring to keep the chain together and if this was mine, I’d wear it with the animal heads at the front to show them off. Again superb craftsmanship! It is heavy too and you could easily use part of it as payment if you were running short of other silver or gold items – just cut off a piece of the chain! (National Museum, Denmark)

 

 

9 Simple twisted gold bracelet DNo 9 – This gold armring is truly stunning! The two opposing animal heads motif recurs here but it looks as though they are snarling at each other, rather than biting anything. I bet this would look fabulous on anyone’s arm! (National Museum, Denmark)

 

 

 

 

RavensNo 10 – Finally, we have this simple little brooch depicting Hugin and Munin, Odin’s two ravens. This is a replica owned by me, but I believe the original is in Oslo. I couldn’t resist buying this for myself as I love how beautifully made the two birds are. It’s perfect for any jacket lapel or to keep your scarf/shawl secure!

 

 

Are you tempted by any of these treasures and, if so, which one would you most like to own? Or perhaps your taste runs to jewellery from a different era? Do tell!

75 thoughts on “Ten Favourite … Pieces of Viking Jewellery”

  1. GORGEOUS, Christina! I also love Viking and Scottish/Viking inspired jewelry, but have been less organized in visiting and cataloging pieces. I’m more in the “Oooh, bright shinies!” category of admirers. But I do have some nice silver modern versions of brooches with Viking ancestry.

    Reply
  2. GORGEOUS, Christina! I also love Viking and Scottish/Viking inspired jewelry, but have been less organized in visiting and cataloging pieces. I’m more in the “Oooh, bright shinies!” category of admirers. But I do have some nice silver modern versions of brooches with Viking ancestry.

    Reply
  3. GORGEOUS, Christina! I also love Viking and Scottish/Viking inspired jewelry, but have been less organized in visiting and cataloging pieces. I’m more in the “Oooh, bright shinies!” category of admirers. But I do have some nice silver modern versions of brooches with Viking ancestry.

    Reply
  4. GORGEOUS, Christina! I also love Viking and Scottish/Viking inspired jewelry, but have been less organized in visiting and cataloging pieces. I’m more in the “Oooh, bright shinies!” category of admirers. But I do have some nice silver modern versions of brooches with Viking ancestry.

    Reply
  5. GORGEOUS, Christina! I also love Viking and Scottish/Viking inspired jewelry, but have been less organized in visiting and cataloging pieces. I’m more in the “Oooh, bright shinies!” category of admirers. But I do have some nice silver modern versions of brooches with Viking ancestry.

    Reply
  6. What a wonderful collection, Christina, of some lovely pieces! I do not usually wear jewelry apart from a wristwatch, but I could surely find something on which to wear the twin raven brooch.

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  7. What a wonderful collection, Christina, of some lovely pieces! I do not usually wear jewelry apart from a wristwatch, but I could surely find something on which to wear the twin raven brooch.

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  8. What a wonderful collection, Christina, of some lovely pieces! I do not usually wear jewelry apart from a wristwatch, but I could surely find something on which to wear the twin raven brooch.

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  9. What a wonderful collection, Christina, of some lovely pieces! I do not usually wear jewelry apart from a wristwatch, but I could surely find something on which to wear the twin raven brooch.

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  10. What a wonderful collection, Christina, of some lovely pieces! I do not usually wear jewelry apart from a wristwatch, but I could surely find something on which to wear the twin raven brooch.

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  11. Thank you! Yes I think we share a love for those brooches and any jewellery that is Scottish or Viking inspired. They are just fabulous, aren’t they!

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  12. Thank you! Yes I think we share a love for those brooches and any jewellery that is Scottish or Viking inspired. They are just fabulous, aren’t they!

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  13. Thank you! Yes I think we share a love for those brooches and any jewellery that is Scottish or Viking inspired. They are just fabulous, aren’t they!

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  14. Thank you! Yes I think we share a love for those brooches and any jewellery that is Scottish or Viking inspired. They are just fabulous, aren’t they!

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  15. Thank you! Yes I think we share a love for those brooches and any jewellery that is Scottish or Viking inspired. They are just fabulous, aren’t they!

    Reply
  16. Many thanks, Kareni! Yes, it would be perfect on any lapel or perhaps holding together a pretty blouse or scarf. It is a lovely piece!

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  17. Many thanks, Kareni! Yes, it would be perfect on any lapel or perhaps holding together a pretty blouse or scarf. It is a lovely piece!

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  18. Many thanks, Kareni! Yes, it would be perfect on any lapel or perhaps holding together a pretty blouse or scarf. It is a lovely piece!

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  19. Many thanks, Kareni! Yes, it would be perfect on any lapel or perhaps holding together a pretty blouse or scarf. It is a lovely piece!

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  20. Many thanks, Kareni! Yes, it would be perfect on any lapel or perhaps holding together a pretty blouse or scarf. It is a lovely piece!

    Reply
  21. Lovely, Christina! I wonder if there was a practical purpose for the arm bands–what did they hold in place? Or were they just a walking bank account, lol?
    I like the simplicity of the crossed ravens.

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  22. Lovely, Christina! I wonder if there was a practical purpose for the arm bands–what did they hold in place? Or were they just a walking bank account, lol?
    I like the simplicity of the crossed ravens.

    Reply
  23. Lovely, Christina! I wonder if there was a practical purpose for the arm bands–what did they hold in place? Or were they just a walking bank account, lol?
    I like the simplicity of the crossed ravens.

    Reply
  24. Lovely, Christina! I wonder if there was a practical purpose for the arm bands–what did they hold in place? Or were they just a walking bank account, lol?
    I like the simplicity of the crossed ravens.

    Reply
  25. Lovely, Christina! I wonder if there was a practical purpose for the arm bands–what did they hold in place? Or were they just a walking bank account, lol?
    I like the simplicity of the crossed ravens.

    Reply
  26. Thank you Mary! Probably just showing off their wealth. As I understand it, chieftains were in the habit of rewarding/buying loyalty by giving their warriors and allies gifts too so I guess you could easily pull one off and give it away.

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  27. Thank you Mary! Probably just showing off their wealth. As I understand it, chieftains were in the habit of rewarding/buying loyalty by giving their warriors and allies gifts too so I guess you could easily pull one off and give it away.

    Reply
  28. Thank you Mary! Probably just showing off their wealth. As I understand it, chieftains were in the habit of rewarding/buying loyalty by giving their warriors and allies gifts too so I guess you could easily pull one off and give it away.

    Reply
  29. Thank you Mary! Probably just showing off their wealth. As I understand it, chieftains were in the habit of rewarding/buying loyalty by giving their warriors and allies gifts too so I guess you could easily pull one off and give it away.

    Reply
  30. Thank you Mary! Probably just showing off their wealth. As I understand it, chieftains were in the habit of rewarding/buying loyalty by giving their warriors and allies gifts too so I guess you could easily pull one off and give it away.

    Reply
  31. I would go jewelry shopping with you anytime, Christina! You have exquisite taste! I am particularly fond of the little bird in No. 2, which I was lucky enough to see at the National Museum in Scotland. Your picture is a much better representation of it than many photographs I have seen online. I keep hoping the Museum might make a replica of it (and several other pieces!) for sale in the gift shop.

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  32. I would go jewelry shopping with you anytime, Christina! You have exquisite taste! I am particularly fond of the little bird in No. 2, which I was lucky enough to see at the National Museum in Scotland. Your picture is a much better representation of it than many photographs I have seen online. I keep hoping the Museum might make a replica of it (and several other pieces!) for sale in the gift shop.

    Reply
  33. I would go jewelry shopping with you anytime, Christina! You have exquisite taste! I am particularly fond of the little bird in No. 2, which I was lucky enough to see at the National Museum in Scotland. Your picture is a much better representation of it than many photographs I have seen online. I keep hoping the Museum might make a replica of it (and several other pieces!) for sale in the gift shop.

    Reply
  34. I would go jewelry shopping with you anytime, Christina! You have exquisite taste! I am particularly fond of the little bird in No. 2, which I was lucky enough to see at the National Museum in Scotland. Your picture is a much better representation of it than many photographs I have seen online. I keep hoping the Museum might make a replica of it (and several other pieces!) for sale in the gift shop.

    Reply
  35. I would go jewelry shopping with you anytime, Christina! You have exquisite taste! I am particularly fond of the little bird in No. 2, which I was lucky enough to see at the National Museum in Scotland. Your picture is a much better representation of it than many photographs I have seen online. I keep hoping the Museum might make a replica of it (and several other pieces!) for sale in the gift shop.

    Reply
  36. Thank you Constance, I’m so glad you agree with my choices! And yes – when I saw the little bird pin at Kirkcudbright I looked for a replica in the gift shop as well. Would love to have one! Perhaps they’ll get round to making one sometime – here’s hoping!

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  37. Thank you Constance, I’m so glad you agree with my choices! And yes – when I saw the little bird pin at Kirkcudbright I looked for a replica in the gift shop as well. Would love to have one! Perhaps they’ll get round to making one sometime – here’s hoping!

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  38. Thank you Constance, I’m so glad you agree with my choices! And yes – when I saw the little bird pin at Kirkcudbright I looked for a replica in the gift shop as well. Would love to have one! Perhaps they’ll get round to making one sometime – here’s hoping!

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  39. Thank you Constance, I’m so glad you agree with my choices! And yes – when I saw the little bird pin at Kirkcudbright I looked for a replica in the gift shop as well. Would love to have one! Perhaps they’ll get round to making one sometime – here’s hoping!

    Reply
  40. Thank you Constance, I’m so glad you agree with my choices! And yes – when I saw the little bird pin at Kirkcudbright I looked for a replica in the gift shop as well. Would love to have one! Perhaps they’ll get round to making one sometime – here’s hoping!

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  41. HOLY WARRIOR, BATMAN! Christina, you have provided me with all sorts of surprises. The bird and the ring are absolutely amazing. I always considered Vikings to be more interested in exploring and conquering the world rather than creating such delicate works of art. On some level, I simply was not thinking clearly.
    I understand now. When I look at the jewelry pictured, I am drawn to pictures of the people who wore that item as well as the artist who created that item.
    I guess all these pictures are testament to the fact that since the beginning we have dreamt and thought and imagined beautiful things. Humans are never exactly what I expect.

    Reply
  42. HOLY WARRIOR, BATMAN! Christina, you have provided me with all sorts of surprises. The bird and the ring are absolutely amazing. I always considered Vikings to be more interested in exploring and conquering the world rather than creating such delicate works of art. On some level, I simply was not thinking clearly.
    I understand now. When I look at the jewelry pictured, I am drawn to pictures of the people who wore that item as well as the artist who created that item.
    I guess all these pictures are testament to the fact that since the beginning we have dreamt and thought and imagined beautiful things. Humans are never exactly what I expect.

    Reply
  43. HOLY WARRIOR, BATMAN! Christina, you have provided me with all sorts of surprises. The bird and the ring are absolutely amazing. I always considered Vikings to be more interested in exploring and conquering the world rather than creating such delicate works of art. On some level, I simply was not thinking clearly.
    I understand now. When I look at the jewelry pictured, I am drawn to pictures of the people who wore that item as well as the artist who created that item.
    I guess all these pictures are testament to the fact that since the beginning we have dreamt and thought and imagined beautiful things. Humans are never exactly what I expect.

    Reply
  44. HOLY WARRIOR, BATMAN! Christina, you have provided me with all sorts of surprises. The bird and the ring are absolutely amazing. I always considered Vikings to be more interested in exploring and conquering the world rather than creating such delicate works of art. On some level, I simply was not thinking clearly.
    I understand now. When I look at the jewelry pictured, I am drawn to pictures of the people who wore that item as well as the artist who created that item.
    I guess all these pictures are testament to the fact that since the beginning we have dreamt and thought and imagined beautiful things. Humans are never exactly what I expect.

    Reply
  45. HOLY WARRIOR, BATMAN! Christina, you have provided me with all sorts of surprises. The bird and the ring are absolutely amazing. I always considered Vikings to be more interested in exploring and conquering the world rather than creating such delicate works of art. On some level, I simply was not thinking clearly.
    I understand now. When I look at the jewelry pictured, I am drawn to pictures of the people who wore that item as well as the artist who created that item.
    I guess all these pictures are testament to the fact that since the beginning we have dreamt and thought and imagined beautiful things. Humans are never exactly what I expect.

    Reply
  46. Thank you, I’m so glad you like them Annette! Yes, I think most people think of the Vikings only as marauders and forget about their other accomplishments. They did love beautiful things – like you say, most humans always have.

    Reply
  47. Thank you, I’m so glad you like them Annette! Yes, I think most people think of the Vikings only as marauders and forget about their other accomplishments. They did love beautiful things – like you say, most humans always have.

    Reply
  48. Thank you, I’m so glad you like them Annette! Yes, I think most people think of the Vikings only as marauders and forget about their other accomplishments. They did love beautiful things – like you say, most humans always have.

    Reply
  49. Thank you, I’m so glad you like them Annette! Yes, I think most people think of the Vikings only as marauders and forget about their other accomplishments. They did love beautiful things – like you say, most humans always have.

    Reply
  50. Thank you, I’m so glad you like them Annette! Yes, I think most people think of the Vikings only as marauders and forget about their other accomplishments. They did love beautiful things – like you say, most humans always have.

    Reply
  51. A lovely post Christina and a lovely collection. While I’m not really a jewellery person, I usually only wear my wedding and engagement rings and my earrings and that’s it, I think I would like the ravens broach and actually Thor’s hammer. They appeal to me.

    Reply
  52. A lovely post Christina and a lovely collection. While I’m not really a jewellery person, I usually only wear my wedding and engagement rings and my earrings and that’s it, I think I would like the ravens broach and actually Thor’s hammer. They appeal to me.

    Reply
  53. A lovely post Christina and a lovely collection. While I’m not really a jewellery person, I usually only wear my wedding and engagement rings and my earrings and that’s it, I think I would like the ravens broach and actually Thor’s hammer. They appeal to me.

    Reply
  54. A lovely post Christina and a lovely collection. While I’m not really a jewellery person, I usually only wear my wedding and engagement rings and my earrings and that’s it, I think I would like the ravens broach and actually Thor’s hammer. They appeal to me.

    Reply
  55. A lovely post Christina and a lovely collection. While I’m not really a jewellery person, I usually only wear my wedding and engagement rings and my earrings and that’s it, I think I would like the ravens broach and actually Thor’s hammer. They appeal to me.

    Reply
  56. Many thanks, Teresa! There is definitely something about the Thor’s Hammer, isn’t there! I have a tiny one that I love and since my daughter has one the same, I sometimes borrow hers as well and use them as earrings. I usually wear hoop earrings and it’s easy to hang charms from them 🙂

    Reply
  57. Many thanks, Teresa! There is definitely something about the Thor’s Hammer, isn’t there! I have a tiny one that I love and since my daughter has one the same, I sometimes borrow hers as well and use them as earrings. I usually wear hoop earrings and it’s easy to hang charms from them 🙂

    Reply
  58. Many thanks, Teresa! There is definitely something about the Thor’s Hammer, isn’t there! I have a tiny one that I love and since my daughter has one the same, I sometimes borrow hers as well and use them as earrings. I usually wear hoop earrings and it’s easy to hang charms from them 🙂

    Reply
  59. Many thanks, Teresa! There is definitely something about the Thor’s Hammer, isn’t there! I have a tiny one that I love and since my daughter has one the same, I sometimes borrow hers as well and use them as earrings. I usually wear hoop earrings and it’s easy to hang charms from them 🙂

    Reply
  60. Many thanks, Teresa! There is definitely something about the Thor’s Hammer, isn’t there! I have a tiny one that I love and since my daughter has one the same, I sometimes borrow hers as well and use them as earrings. I usually wear hoop earrings and it’s easy to hang charms from them 🙂

    Reply
  61. Thank you, Karin! Yes, the animal motifs really appeal to me too, especially the ones with snakes, dragons or ravens. There are so many different styles of Viking jewellery (they changed slightly over the centuries) but I like the sinuous ones the best.

    Reply
  62. Thank you, Karin! Yes, the animal motifs really appeal to me too, especially the ones with snakes, dragons or ravens. There are so many different styles of Viking jewellery (they changed slightly over the centuries) but I like the sinuous ones the best.

    Reply
  63. Thank you, Karin! Yes, the animal motifs really appeal to me too, especially the ones with snakes, dragons or ravens. There are so many different styles of Viking jewellery (they changed slightly over the centuries) but I like the sinuous ones the best.

    Reply
  64. Thank you, Karin! Yes, the animal motifs really appeal to me too, especially the ones with snakes, dragons or ravens. There are so many different styles of Viking jewellery (they changed slightly over the centuries) but I like the sinuous ones the best.

    Reply
  65. Thank you, Karin! Yes, the animal motifs really appeal to me too, especially the ones with snakes, dragons or ravens. There are so many different styles of Viking jewellery (they changed slightly over the centuries) but I like the sinuous ones the best.

    Reply

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