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Bold Viking jewelry in Feb. 28 auction ready to wear

Viking warriors roamed northern Europe from the eighth to late 11th centuries. While gaining much notoriety as raiders, they were also farmers, traders and explorers, and the craftsmanship seen in their jewelry demonstrates considerable artistic skill. Jasper52 will present an online auction of nearly 100 lots of authentic Viking and medieval jewelry – all professionally refurbished and ready to wear – on Wednesday, Feb. 28.

Viking lunar eclipse pendant, A.D. 850-1050, gilt bronze, 7/8 in. wide. Estimate: $825-$1,100. Jasper52 image

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Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

Viking, Roman jewelry paired in Jasper52 auction Jan. 31

Ancient Roman and medieval jewelry, including iconic Viking items, comprise a Jasper52 online auction to be held Jan. 31. These striking pieces of jewelry are enriched with history as well as beauty.

Viking women’s coil bracelet 9th-10th century, 2 ¾ in inside diameter, gilt bronze, Estimate $600-$800. Jasper52 image

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Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

Thor’s Hammer: Mighty Symbol in Viking Jewelry

Thor is, without a doubt, one of Marvel’s main men, both in comic books and on the big screen, as is evident in movie-going audiences flocking to theaters to see the hammer-wielding character in action. According to boxofficemojo.com, gross ticket sales from the three Thor films combined top nearly $2 billion. Leading the way is the 2017 release of Thor: Ragnarok, bringing in more than $844 million.

Promotional poster for the film Thor: Ragnarok, produced by Marvel Studios, and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The film, released in October of 2017, is the sequel to the 2011 film Thor and Thor: The Dark World, released in 2013. This scaled-down low-resolution image of the poster qualifies for fair use under the copyright law of the United States.  

The popularity of these films, as well as Marvel’s Avengers, and History Channel’s Vikings series, certainly plays a part in the growing interest in Norse history and lore. Yet, Thor’s revered status as a symbol of strength, protection and provision dates back centuries. That fact is evident in the presence and popularity of the Thor’s Hammer amulet in Viking jewelry.

To help us understand Thor and his ever-present hammer a bit better, we turned to fine art specialist Sydelle Rubin-Dienstfrey, PhD Art History, who is manager of the research and writing department at Artemis Gallery.

“The Thor’s Hammer is perhaps the best-known symbol of Norse mythology,” Rubin-Dienstfrey said. “Thor was the powerful god tasked with guarding Asgard, home of the Aesir tribe of deities. Thor tirelessly defended the Aesir from the giants, and the hammer was his trusty weapon. Interestingly, the name Thor literally means ‘Thunder,’ and Thor seemed to personify the spirit of a storm whose thunder was experienced as the resounding boom of his hammer as it decimated his adversaries.”

This solid silver Viking Thor’s Hammer pendant, dating to between 800 and 1100 AD, weighing 11 grams, has been cast as one piece with a long handle that ends in a loop for suspension. The surface of the pendant has been stamped with a unique decoration of the period – a triangle with three small raised pellets inside the triangle. The pendant sold for $1,100 in Artemis Gallery’s Dec. 2017 auction. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers and Artemis Gallery

While this image of Thor is what comes to mind when you hear his name, it is one element of a more complex role within the world of the mythology, Rubin-Dienstfrey explained.

“In addition to serving as a weapon, the Thor’s Hammer played a major role in sacred rituals related to birth, marriage, and death. Some historians also believe that rituals involving people beating hammers were intended to protect communities from evil spirits. So, the Thor’s Hammer was not only a weapon possessing the might and power of a storm but also an instrument of protection against ill will.”

With the Hammer of Thor bearing such meaning, it is easy to understand why the symbol is represented in various forms of Viking artifacts, most specifically as amulets/pendants.

In 2014, a Viking artifact reportedly from the 10th century in the shape of the Hammer of Thor was discovered on the Danish island of Lolland, and it bore an inscription. According to an article posted on www.ancient-origins.net, the text was translated to “this is a hammer,” and it was one of the more than 1,000 similar items discovered throughout northern Europe, referred to as the Mjöllnir amulets, to include such an inscription. The inscribed Mjöllnir amulet currently resides in the National Museum of Denmark.

The only Mjöllnir amulet of more than 1,000 discovered in northern Europe, to bear an inscription. Circa 10th century AD. National Museum of Denmark image

Museums and historical programs provide an ideal opportunity to gain a better understanding of Norse people, their traditions and beliefs. One such example is the traveling museum exhibition “Vikings: Beyond the Legend,” said Rubin-Dienstfrey, who attended the exhibition with her fellow staff members from Artemis Gallery.

“I think that one of the greatest things about it was that the organizers did their best to bust generally accepted myths about the Vikings that Hollywood sometimes perpetuates,” she said. “For instance, there is this misconception that the Vikings were filthy brutes. However, some of the most commonly excavated artifacts of Viking Era include tweezers, combs, razors and ear spoons. This suggests that they were fairly focused on cleanliness and grooming. What’s more, many scholars estimate that only a small percentage of Vikings were warriors. Most were artisans, farmers, and traders.”

This rare bronze Thor’s hammer amulet with stylized raven heads, circa 900 AD, sold for $190 in Jasper52’s Oct. 29, 2017 auction. Jasper52 and LiveAuctioneers image.

The discovery of ancient Viking jewelry in a myriad of designs, created using a variety of metals and materials (bronze, silver, and stone), is another example of a culture that is more than one-dimensional.

“When one examines examples of Norse visual culture, it becomes apparent that their immense artistry defies common stereotypes of Vikings as horned helmet-wearing barbarians who went around raping and pillaging whomever and whatever crossed their paths,” said Rubin-Dienstfrey. “In addition to some stunning Thor’s Hammer pendants, we have had the privilege of handling incredible bracteate [beaten] pendants that display extremely sophisticated filigree and granulation techniques, as well. To create these works of wearable art clearly required advanced techniques and a keen sensibility.”

This coin, reportedly from that of King Regnald I of York and the Bossail Hoard, dates to 919-921 AD and bears an image of Thor’s hammer on the obverse with three pellets positioned above the hammer, a symbol not known to have been included on any other die It sold for £3,000 ($9,479) during a February 2016 auction at TimeLine Auctions Ltd. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers and TimeLine Auctions Ltd.

Although ownership of artifacts does not necessarily require one to possess an understanding of the culture surrounding it, as many will attest, the value in acquiring that knowledge is immeasurable.

“I think that collectors love the Thor’s Hammer because of its many layers of symbolism. The hammer is associated with the Norse god of thunder, lightning, storms and strength – who protected so many – so by extension, the amulet is believed to protect its wearer,” Rubin-Dienstfrey added. “Finally, the fine workmanship and immense artistry exemplified by these beautiful works make them incredibly desirable.”

Gilt bronze raised heart-shape pendant enclosing an abstract face, possibly that of Thor, substantially symmetrical, in the shape of a heart, which stood for bravery, fortitude, loyalty, and integrity. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers and Jasper 52

In case of Thor’s Hammer, there is so much more to it than meets the eye, as is the case with so many relics of centuries ago.

Jasper52 offers double shot of Viking jewelry Dec. 5

Jasper52 will present two online auctions featuring Viking and Medieval jewelry on Dec. 5. The first auction, which starts Tuesday at 7 p.m. Eastern time, consists of jewelry and artifacts that date back to the Middle Ages, when the Vikings roamed both sea and land. The second auction, which follows at 9:30 p.m. presents a huge variety of fine ancient jewelry from the Bronze age to Post-Medieval.

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Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

Diverse antiquities offered in 3 Jasper52 auctions Nov. 4-5

Jasper52 delves into ancient history this weekend with three online-only auctions featuring rarely encountered antiquities. Standouts in the auction catalogs include works of art, jewelry and coins, all sourced from long-standing collections.

Byzantine gold and garnet cross, circa 11th-12th century, 1½in. high. Estimate: $1,400-$2,500.

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Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

Ancient Jewelry Pieces for the History Buffs

This week’s fine ancient jewelry auction offers a wide range of artifacts, from Bronze Age pins and bracelets to post-Medieval religious pendants. The curated sale also includes a large collection of Viking-era jewelry such as rings, mythological pendants and warriors’ amulets. History buffs and jewelry fanatics will love these spectacular pieces.

Heading the list of more than 125 lots is a bronze Viking pendant that depicts the god Odin on horseback. Obtained from an old British collection, the pendant is expected to sell for $1,000-$1,500.

Rare Viking pendant depicting the god Odin on a horse, circa A.D. 900-1100. Estimate $1,000-$1,500. Jasper52 image

 

A Viking-era silver ring with a pale blue stone is wearable and in fine condition. It has a $300-$400 estimate.

Viking silver ring with pale blue stone, circa A.D. 900-1100. Estimate: $300-$400. Jasper52 image

 

The eagle was a powerful symbol of strength and bravery in Viking culture. A bronze Viking era pendant bearing a  double-headed eagle motive is a rare artifact in excellent condition.

Viking era bronze pendant depicting a double headed eagle motif, circa A.D. 900-1100. Estimate: $700-$1,000. Jasper52 image

 

A bronze Celtic bracelet decorated in a snake motif is from the Hallstatt Culture, 800-500 B.C. It is a rare artifact in excellent condition.

Celtic Bronze Age coiled bracelet with snake terminals, Hallstatt culture, circa A.D. 1500. Estimate: $250-$350. Jasper52 image

 

A great example of Medieval jewelry is a fancy pair of Renaissance earrings of gold gilded silver and having elaborately decorated hinged central sections with tassels and gems. Obtained from an old Austrian collection, the earrings are estimated at $500-$700.

Pair of Renaissance gold-gilded earrings, circa 1600. Estimate $500-$700. Jasper52 image

 

Dating to ancient Rome is a pendant depicting Eros, the god of erotic love. The bronze pendant is in excellent condition.

Rare Ancient Roman bronze pendant depicting Eros; integral loop, circa A.D. 100-300. Estimate: $500-$700. Jasper52 image

Take a look at the full collection and find yourself traveling back in time.

A Treasure Chest of Viking Jewelry

It would not be too surprising if when perusing through this curated catalog of Viking and Medieval jewelry you think you’re raiding a treasure chest from the 9th century. The collection is truly an adventure for the ages, so let’s dig in to our favorite picks.

Rings and pendants once worn by Viking warriors are abound in the auction. Leading the charge is a Viking warrior’s ring having heart bezel decorated with an incised floral design. For Vikings the heart stood for bravery, fortitude, loyalty, integrity – all attributes of a warrior. The warrior’s heart ring defines the very essence of his place in society and the spiritual world. The large ring in the auction carries an estimate of $250-$275.

Viking warrior’s heart ring, circa 900-1050, heart bezel with incised floral design, size 10 1/2. Estimate: $250-$275. Jasper52 image

 

Also popular in Viking culture was the coil ring with nearly three full coils with tapering terminals. This large example dates to A.D. 850-1050.

Viking coil ring, circa 850-1050, size 12. Estimate $250-$280. Jasper52 image

 

Another classic form in the sale is an ancient Viking lunar pendant, circa A.D. 850-950. Exhibiting fine patina, the crescent-shape pendant is topped with spheres representing celestial bodies. As expert navigators, the constellations signified mystery and power to Vikings. The moon was personified as Mani, brother to Sol, the Sun, and is abundantly represented in Norse literature. Lunar pendants were won as pectorals as well as suspended from belts, other clothing and horse harnesses.

Ancient Viking lunar pendant, circa 850-950, nearly 1 in. wide. Estimate: $100-$200. Jasper52 image

 

Dolphins were both feared and revered by Romans, and are highly visible in Roman mythology. A gilt bronze dolphin pendant dating to the second century is expected to sell for more than $600.

Roman dolphin pendant, second century, gilt bronze, 2 1/8 in length. Estimate: $600-$675. Jasper52 image

 

A silver bronze Jerusalem Cross pendant worn by a Crusader nearly 1,000 years ago is another star lot in the auction. The nearly 1-inch round pendant depicts five crosses in one, representing the five wounds of Christ. The form is said to have originated with Godfrey of Bouillon, a Frankish knight of the First Crusade.

Crusader’s cross pendant, silvered bronze, 11th-13th centuries, just under an inch in diameter. Estimate: $310-$350. Jasper52 image

 

Another fine medieval French pendant is a stunner. Flanked by foliage, the pendant is formed with a connecting central band detailed with a fine circle motif.

Medieval French pendant, 13th-15th centuries, gilt bronze, 1 1/8 in. diameter. Estimate: $210-$240. Jasper52 image

Fresh Waves of Viking Jewelry

Jumping on the recent trend in auctions, authentic Viking Age jewelry along with medieval and Byzantine pieces have been curated in this week’s unique jewelry auction. Rings, amulets, pendants, and bracelets that hold symbolic meaning in their shapes, often embodying the great strength of Viking warriors who bore them, are being offered in this collection. Professionally refurbished and ready for wear, these pieces of gilt bronze jewelry are enriched with history as well as beauty.

To the Vikings, who were expert seafarers and navigators, the constellations signified mystery and power. A dazzler in the collection is a Viking lunar pendant from the ninth or 10th century, fashioned as the crescent moon.

Ancient Viking lunar pendant circa A.D. 900-1000, gilt bronze, nearly 1/2 in. high, fashioned as the crescent moon. Estimate: $135-$150. Jasper52 image

 

Another lunar pendant in the auction is an elongated crescent with terminals representing Sol and Mani (sun and moon) connected by a wave motif representing the sea. Lunar pendants were often worn as pectorals as well as suspended from belts and clothing.

Ancient Viking lunar pendant, circa A.D. 800-900, gilt bronze, 1 1/2 in. wide, elongated crescent with terminals representing the sun and moon, connected by a wave motif representing the sea. Estimate: $200-$225. Jasper52 image

 

Another highlight in this collection is a 10th century Viking C-form bracelet decorated with a continuous diamond motif.

Tenth-century Viking bracelet, gilt bronze, hand cut with continuous diamond motif. Estimate: $300-$300. Jasper52 image

 

Ancient Romans were also seafarers and understood the bond between dolphins and sailors, and many tales of dolphin rescues and assistance have been recorded. A second-century Roman pendant being offered represents a bottle-nosed dolphin. At least one fibula (decorative garment pin) with the body of a dolphin very similar to this is known. This example may well have been worn en suite with a matching fibula.

Roman dolphin pendant, second century, gilt bronze, 2 1/8 in. long. Estimate: $600-$700. Jasper52 image

 

Another rare Roman piece is a key ring, A.D. 300-500. Its narrow flat band was made with an intricately toothed key projection. These rings were used to open jewelry boxes, the ownership of which was prestigious. As a result, many were made for show only and worn where no such box existed.

Roman key ring, A.D. 300-500, gilt bronze, size 10 1/4. Estimate: $230-$260. Jasper52 image

 

Representing medieval times is a Spanish pendant that would have been worn by a woman. An inch in diameter, the delicately pierced radial splay of globes on stalks, finely chased and polished, surround a raised bezel with original clear glass or stone mount.

Woman’s pendant, Spanish, circa 1450, gilt bronze, 1 in. diameter, finely chased and polished, surround a raised bezel with original clear glass or stone mount. Estimate: $250-$275. Jasper52 image

 

This collection is filled with unique treasures, sure to strike any fancy. Take a look at the full catalog and discover your own treasure.

 

 

Finding Hidden History in Viking Jewelry

Collectors look for estate jewelry, those vintage treasures that have often been handed down from one generation of a family to another. But for jewelry truly steeped in history and heartiness, one need look no further than this collection of Viking, Byzantine and medieval jewelry.

This collection consists of 72 lots of jewelry – warriors’ rings, sorcerers’ amulets, Byzantine pilgrims’ crosses and French ladies’ pendants – all professionally refurbished and ready for modern wear.

Many of the items hold symbolic meaning in their shapes, often embodying the great strength of Viking warriors who bore them. A fine example is a Viking warrior’s heart ring, circa 850-100 AD. For Vikings, the heart stood for bravery, fortitude, loyalty, integrity, all attributes of the warrior.

Viking warrior’s heart ring, A.D. 850-1000, gilt bronze, size 9 3/4. Estimate: $300-$400. Jasper52 image

 

This next warrior’s ring is in the classic coil form decorated with hand detailed chevrons. It is from the 10th or 11th century.

Fine ancient Viking warrior’s gilt bronze ring, 10th-11th century, classic coil form. Estimate: $300-$400. Jasper52 image

 

Small pendants in the shape of a duck’s foot have been found in the graves of Vikings believed to have been sorcerers. One such silvered bronze amulet is offered in the sale.

Viking sorcerer’s amulet, 9th-10th century, silvered bronze, just under 1in high, shaped as a duck’s foot. Estimate: $300-$400. Jasper52 image

 

A Viking bracelet of gilt bronze in this collection has an acorn form terminals and an intricately modeled medial crest. It dates to the 10th century.

Rare ancient Viking bracelet, 10th century, gilt bronze, 2 1/4 inches inside width. Estimate: $300-$400. Jasper52 image

 

Also from the 10th century is a women’s gilt bronze bracelet in a broad oval C form with centralized X flanked by twin medial ridges.

Viking women’s bracelet, gilt bronze, 10th century, just under 2 5/8 inches inside width. Estimate: $300-$400. Jasper52 image

 

A striking Medieval gilt bronze ring that features a stone set in a raised bezel dates to the 13th-15th century.

Medieval gilt bronze ring with central clear stone on raised bezel, 13th-15th century, size 8 1/4. Estimate: $300-$400. Jasper52 image

 

View the full catalog of jewelry and step into a treasure trove of unique pieces.

6 Jewelry Pieces Embodying Viking Strength

This collection of jewelry is like taking a peek inside the jewelry box of a Viking. It’s filled with rings, amulets, pendants, and bracelets that all hold symbolic meaning in their shapes, and embody the strength of the Viking warriors who bore their name. Let’s take a look inside this jewelry box of treasure…

A viking warrior’s ring is the perfect accessory for a man or woman who is ready to take on the world. This first large ring has been professionally conserved and refurbished, originally from the 10th century.

Viking warrior’s ring, 10th century, gilt bronze, size 13 1/4, professionally conserved and refurbished with the gold overlay restored. Estimate: $600-$700. Jasper52 image

 

The next warrior’s ring features a heart-shape bezel. For Vikings, the heart stood for bravery, fortitude, loyalty and integrity – all attributes of the warrior.

Viking warrior’s heart ring, gilt bronze, A.D. 850-1000, size 10 1/4, professionally conserved and refurbished with the gold overlay restored. Estimate: $500-$600. Jasper52 image

 

A traditional Viking jewelry form is the coil ring, but few survive due to their fragility. The gilt bronze piece in this auction is size 10 and consists of a slightly rounded face spiral of there full turns.

Viking coil ring, gilt bronze, A.D. 850-1,000, size 10, professionally conserved with the gold overlay restored. Estimate: $500-$600. Jasper52 image

 

As expert navigators, the Vikings viewed the constellations as signifying both mystery and power. Lunar pendants were worn as pectorals as well as suspended from belts, other clothing and horse harnesses. One such pendant is fashioned as a narrow crescent moon with double tips flanking a central column, a common motif with astrological significance.

Viking lunar pendant, gilt bronze, circa A.D. 900-1000, professionally refurbished with the gold overlay restored for contemporary wear. Estimate: $500-$600. Jasper52 image

 

Another pendant in this collection is in the shape of a heart and adorned with stylized foliage.

Viking heart pendant, gilt bronze, 9th-10th century, 1 1/4in high, professionally refurbished with the gold overlay restored. Estimate: $500-$600. Jasper52 image

 

And what about some wrist jewelry? This intricately decorated gilt bronze bracelet dates back to the 10th century.

Viking bracelet, gilt bronze band, 10th century, just under 1/2in width at the center and tapering slightly to the ends, professionally refurbished with the gold restored. Estimate: $500-$600. Jasper52 image

 

Discover more unique items from this treasure chest of jewelry in this week’s Viking Jewelry auction. Register to bid today!