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Viking jewelry has a rich and long history going back over 1,200 years. The Viking people loved their jewelry and most of their pieces had deep and profound meaning in their lives. Like a wedding ring; arm rings, necklaces, brooches and rings had much more meaning than as decoration. They were important symbols of status, community, family, tribe, loyalty, manhood and love. They were also worn to gain the protection and blessing of their Norse Gods. What could be more powerful and meaningful to a man or woman of the Viking age?
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You will wear your Viking ring with pride. We have a huge collection of rings to choose from including our Hammer of Thor Viking rings. Symbols such as Mjolnir, the lightning hammer, were very popular in the late Viking age. It was seen as a symbol of resistance against the encroachment of Christianity across Europe. Other Viking symbols included the tree of life, the three triangles of Valknut, Vegvisir, a symbolic Viking compass, dragons, ravens and wolves. Each had their special mystical meanings and powers of protection for their followers. Protection of the Norse Gods!
Viking rings have been found across Europe in hidden hoards, burial mounds, bogs and swamps. Viking wedding rings of tin, iron, bronze, silver and gold. Bracelets, arm rings, broaches, pins and necklaces as well. The Vikings loved their jewelry as do people today. They were an indication of a person's status, family, tribe and loyalty to their leader. They could also be used as a form of currency. Viking jewelry could be cut apart into smaller pieces and used to pay for goods and services. Silver was the most popular as currency. When Vikings were exposed to coinage in their travels they started minting and using coins of their own or those that they raided or traded for. They also melted down coinage and other raided items of metal and remade them as jewelry. After all, the jewelry could then invoke the blessings and protection of the Gods and still be used as a means of currency for trade.
A common method of jewelry making was the lost wax method. This method has been used by artists for over 6,000 years. Vikings probably learned the technique during their distant travels. The jeweler would make a wax model of the item they were creating and then encase it in wax to create a mold. The artist would then pour molten metal into the mold. After the metal cooled and hardened, the artist would break and remove the wax mold revealing the piece. Vikings became very skilled at creating very intricate and beautiful jewelry of tin, iron, bronze, silver and gold.
Raiding and trading across Europe and beyond had its advantages. Vikings were able to procure materials, methods and ideas from different cultures around the known world and bring them home for the benefit of their families and communities. This included their jewelry making techniques.
The most common method for creating Viking jewelry was the “lost wax” method. In this method, the artisan carves a beautiful model of the item he wants to create. The final appearance of the piece hinged on this handmade model, thus they had to be meticulously created by skilled hands. Once the jeweler was happy with the model he would create a hollow mold of the piece out of wax. Molten metal was poured into the wax mold. Once the metal had cooled and hardened, the wax mold was broken and the piece of jewelry was removed from within. The lost wax method of jewelry making is over 6,000 years old. The Vikings learned it from other cultures during their travels and brought the knowledge and materials home with them.
The most significant piece of jewelry a warrior or shield maiden may have had was a Viking arm ring. Their arm ring was a clear sign of their loyalty and membership in their tribe and family. This had deep meaning and symbolism for a Viking as they all depended on the loyalty and protection of their family and community members. Vikings lived in very harsh times, of course they wanted the protection that a tribe and their Gods could provide.
Raid our hoard of Viking jewelry here. Its much easier than raiding across Europe.