Viking jewelries

What Does Viking Jewelry Mean?

When you think of ancient Vikings, their jewelry might not be the first thing that comes to mind. Most people imagine fierce warriors with long spears, swords, and heavy shields attacking coastal communities. However, the Norse people were also skilled artisans who made beautiful jewelry like bracelets, rings, and necklaces from materials such as bronze, iron, gold, silver, amber, and resin. Early Viking jewelry (around 800 AD) was simple, but over time, it became more detailed and sophisticated.

Viking necklace

Roles of Viking Jewelry

Both Viking men and women adorned themselves with various types of jewelry, adding much-needed glamour to their seemingly harsh and rugged lives. Viking jewelry wasn't just for show; it played a crucial role in their economy. The jewelry, often made of precious metals like gold and silver, was used as a form of currency. When conducting trade, if a piece of jewelry was too large or valuable for a transaction, it could be broken into smaller pieces to match the value of the goods being exchanged. This practice is reminiscent of how we use coins and notes today. Apart from metal, Vikings also made jewelry from beads and precious stones. Although it was uncommon for Vikings to inset stones into their jewelry, the practice existed and highlighted their craftsmanship and the value they placed on such decorative items.

Viking Necklaces

Viking necklaces were crafted from a variety of materials, showcasing their versatility and resourcefulness. Common materials included metals like silver, gold, and bronze. They also used natural fibers and iron wires, demonstrating their ability to work with different mediums. These necklaces often featured pendants made from glass beads, precious stones, resin, amber (sourced from the Baltic Sea), and small metal charms. Glass was the most prevalent material for pendants due to its ease of production and availability. Pendants held significant personal and cultural value, often serving as souvenirs, gifts, or symbols of Nordic religious beliefs. Besides necklaces, Vikings also wore neck-rings. These rings, typically made of silver, bronze, or gold, were discovered mainly in hoards rather than burial sites, suggesting they were worn by both men and women. Neck-rings served as both a display of wealth and a form of currency, crafted in standard units of weight to ensure accurate value assessment during trade.

Viking Pendants and Amulets

Pendants were a significant feature of Viking necklaces, adding both aesthetic and symbolic value. The most common pendants included Mjolnir (Thor’s Hammer), the Valknut, and Yggdrasil (Tree of Life). Thor’s Hammer was particularly popular, symbolizing protection and power, a crucial aspect of Viking warrior culture. Other pendants included miniature weapons like axes and arrowheads, perforated coins, and even crosses. The presence of crosses is intriguing, reflecting the influence of Christian missionaries during the Viking era. Despite their pagan beliefs, some Vikings converted to Christianity, incorporating Christian symbols into their jewelry. This blending of beliefs created a unique hybrid system, demonstrating the Vikings’ openness to new ideas and practices.


Beads were an integral part of Viking jewelry, typically made from amber or glass. These beads adorned necklaces and were also used as beard jewelry, adding a touch of elegance to their rugged appearance. In contemporary times, beads are relatively inexpensive and widespread, but archaeological evidence shows that Viking beads were rare and highly valued. Most Viking necklaces featured only one to three beads, highlighting their precious nature. The limited number of beads on a necklace likely indicated wealth and status, and might have also signified achievements or age milestones. Glass was the most common material for beads, with other materials like jet and amber being less frequent but equally cherished.


Brooches were essential in Viking culture, primarily used to fasten clothes. They came in various styles, with Penannular and Oval brooches being the most prominent. Penannular brooches were typically worn by Viking men and were adopted from Scottish and Irish settlers, later gaining popularity in Russia and Scandinavia. These brooches were fastened on the right shoulder, leaving the sword arm free for combat. Oval brooches, on the other hand, were worn by Viking women and were more ornate, used to fasten dresses, aprons, and cloaks. These brooches often featured detailed designs and were paired with chains of colored beads for added visual appeal. Oval brooches fell out of fashion around 1000 AD, giving way to more intricate designs that reflected changing tastes and influences.


Viking rings, worn around the finger, were a popular form of personal adornment and have been found in many archaeological sites. These rings often had uneven widths and were designed to be adjustable, allowing them to fit different finger sizes. Rings served not only as decorative items but also as symbols of personal status and, at times, as currency. The ability to adjust the size made them practical and versatile, suitable for various uses and users.


Viking earrings were the least common type of Viking jewelry and were not originally part of Viking culture. They only appeared in hoards alongside other types of jewelry. Unlike modern earrings that hang from the earlobe, Viking earrings were more intricate and covered the entire ear. Historians believe these earrings were influenced by Slavic designs, indicating a cultural exchange and trade between the Vikings and other groups. The adoption of earrings highlights the Vikings' openness to incorporating new styles and practices from other cultures they interacted with.

Arm Rings/Arm Bands

Viking arm rings or arm bands were highly popular and served both as decorative items and currency. Made from precious metals like gold and silver, these arm rings symbolized wealth and social standing. Some arm rings were spiral-shaped, wrapping around the arm multiple times, providing a firm grip and making it easy to tear off a piece for trade. Other arm rings were shorter and simpler, often used as currency due to their flat design, which facilitated breaking off pieces for transactions. The design and craftsmanship of these arm rings showcased the Vikings’ metalworking skills and their practical approach to combining ornamentation with functionality. Arm rings were not just fashion statements but also a testament to the wearer's status and economic power in Viking society.

Viking pendant

FAQs About Viking Jewelry

Q: What materials were commonly used in Viking jewelry?

A: Vikings used a variety of materials in their jewelry, including silver, gold, bronze, and sometimes iron. They also incorporated natural materials such as amber, glass, and precious stones like garnet or turquoise.

Q: What were some common motifs found in Viking jewelry?

A: Popular motifs in Viking jewelry included animals like wolves, ravens, and serpents, as well as mythological symbols like Thor's hammer (Mjölnir), Odin's ravens (Huginn and Muninn), and the Tree of Life (Yggdrasil). Knotwork designs and runes were also frequently used.

Q: Did Vikings wear jewelry for religious or symbolic reasons?

A: Yes, Viking jewelry often held deep religious and symbolic significance. It was not only decorative but also served as a means of expressing one's beliefs, social status, and affiliations with certain gods or clans. For example, wearing a hammer pendant symbolized devotion to Thor, the god of thunder.

Q: Were there differences in the jewelry worn by men and women in Viking culture?

A: While both men and women wore jewelry in Viking society, there were some differences in style and design. Men often wore brooches, arm rings, and Thor's hammer pendants, while women adorned themselves with brooches, rings, necklaces, and intricately crafted pieces like tortoise brooches.

Q: How were Viking jewelry pieces crafted?

A: Viking jewelry was typically handmade using techniques such as casting, filigree, and repoussé (metalworking techniques involving hammering from the reverse side to create a design). Skilled artisans would create these pieces using simple tools and methods passed down through generations.

Q: Is Viking jewelry still popular today?

A: Yes, Viking-inspired jewelry continues to be popular, not only among enthusiasts of Norse mythology and history but also in mainstream fashion. Many contemporary jewelers draw inspiration from Viking designs, creating pieces that evoke the spirit and craftsmanship of the ancient Norse artisans.

Q: Where can I find authentic Viking jewelry today?

A: Authentic Viking jewelry can be found in museums, archaeological sites, and specialized shops that focus on historical replicas. Additionally, there are many talented artisans who create handmade Viking-style jewelry using traditional methods and materials.

Q: What should I look for to ensure the authenticity of Viking jewelry?

A: When purchasing Viking jewelry, look for pieces that are made from authentic materials like silver, bronze, or gold. Pay attention to craftsmanship, including intricate designs and detailing. Research the seller or artisan to ensure they have a reputation for creating authentic, high-quality pieces.

Q: Can Viking jewelry be worn for everyday use?

A: Absolutely! Many people incorporate Viking jewelry into their everyday attire as a way of expressing their connection to Norse culture, mythology, or simply as a fashion statement. Just like in Viking times, jewelry can be worn for both symbolic and aesthetic purposes.

Q: What does wearing Viking jewelry symbolize today?

A: Wearing Viking jewelry today can symbolize a variety of things, including strength, courage, connection to heritage, and appreciation for Norse mythology and history. It can also serve as a reminder of the resilience and adventurous spirit associated with the Vikings.

In summary

Viking jewelry offers a fascinating glimpse into the intricate craftsmanship and cultural significance of the Norse people. While they are often portrayed as fierce warriors, the Vikings were also skilled artisans who crafted beautiful pieces from materials like bronze, iron, gold, silver, amber, and resin. From simple beginnings around 800 AD, Viking jewelry evolved into sophisticated adornments, reflecting the changing tastes and influences of the time.

Dive deeper into the world of Viking jewelry and explore pieces that capture the essence of Norse craftsmanship and symbolism. Whether you're drawn to the power of Thor's hammer or the elegance of Viking brooches, our collection offers authentic pieces that pay homage to this rich heritage. Discover the beauty and meaning behind each artifact and embrace the spirit of the Vikings in your everyday life. Visit our store today to find your perfect piece of Viking history.




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