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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!

Lord of the Rings: 7 Viking Rings With Nordic Symbols

Viking tales often recall stories of bloodthirsty behaviors of war and violence, so it may surprise you to learn about the Vikings’ rich history in jewelry-making. The Vikings were masters of metalwork, which ranged from the production of weapons to the crafting of jewelry. From the 8th-15th centuries, the Vikings produced rings, amulets, pendants and more, which all held symbolic meanings to their culture.

Below you’ll find 7 outstanding examples of Viking rings, each with their own unique display of Viking symbols.

Viking Warrior’s Ring

This warrior’s ring features a narrow band flaring to the top, in the form of an eye with rounded stippled edges. The field is decorated with panels of geometry, the central of which enclose small crescents, which are lunar references. As expert navigators, the constellations in the jewelry pieces signified mystery and power to Vikings.

Viking Warrior's Ring, 900 A.D., size 10, gold overlay. Estimate: $400-$500. Jasper52 image

Viking Warrior’s Ring, 900 A.D., size 10, gold overlay. Estimate: $400-$500. Jasper52 image

 

Rare Viking Signet Ring

This narrow band features a large circular bezel incised with four designs. The surface is covered with uniform frosty patina from a burial. This ring has been professionally refurbished with the original gold overlay restored.

Rare Viking signet ring, ca. 900 A.D., gilt bronze, size 8.5. Estimate: $250-$300. Jasper52 image

Rare Viking signet ring, ca. 900 A.D., gilt bronze, size 8.5. Estimate: $250-$300. Jasper52 image

 

Man’s Wedding Ring

This copper ring was a man’s wedding band, circa 850-1050 A.D. The use of unalloyed copper is specific to the Vikings, who were highly skilled metallurgists. Vikings traditionally exchanged wedding rings on the pommel of the groom’s sword.

Viking Man's wedding ring, 850-1050 A.D., size 10 3/4. Estimate: $100-$150. Jasper52 image

Viking Man’s wedding ring, 850-1050 A.D., size 10 3/4. Estimate: $100-$150. Jasper52 image

 

Warrior’s Heart Ring

For Vikings, the heart symbolized bravery, fortitude, loyalty, and integrity – all attributes of the warrior. The warrior’s heart ring defines the very essence of his place in society and the spiritual world.

Viking warrior's heart ring, 850-100 A.D., gilt bronze, size 10 1/2. Estimate: $300-$400. Jasper52 image

Viking warrior’s heart ring, 850-100 A.D., gilt bronze, size 10 1/2. Estimate: $300-$400. Jasper52 image

 

Warrior’s Coil Ring

This gilt bronze coil ring was delicately made with six full rings. The coil is a repeated theme in Viking jewelry and adornment, but few rings survive due to their fragility and finding one this complete form is very rare.

Viking warrior's coil ring, 10th century A.D., size 9. Estimate: $100-$200. Jasper52 image

Viking warrior’s coil ring, 10th century A.D., size 9. Estimate: $100-$200. Jasper52 image

 

Twisted Viking Warrior’s Ring

This traditional 9th century Viking warrior’s ring features an overlapping split band, which was specific to the Vikings. The top features a heavily corded twist form, another signature of Viking design.

Viking warrior's ring, 9th century, size 10 1/4. Estimate: $300-$400. Jasper52 image

Viking warrior’s ring, 9th century, size 10 1/4. Estimate: $300-$400. Jasper52 image

 

Great Plague of London Ring

While not of Viking origin, this medieval piece of jewelry is revolutionary in its construction with the band of rolled brass and bronze, with a pattern imparted by the roller. The bronze flower bud top was cast separately and the two were joined by brazing. The process of rolling was in place in the 15th century.

Child mortality was indigenous to the culture and it was expected – barely half of the population lived to adulthood. Burial in the church brought you close to God, but space was limited and those nearer our hearts had priority over those whose names were forgotten. Graves were periodically dug up, and the bones removed to storage, making space for newcomers. It happened all over Europe, north to south and no jewelry is preserved with the bones. From extensive research of the time period, it is believed this rings were produced in England and recovered from graves of children who perished in the Great Plague of 1655-56 in London.

Great Plague of London ring, 15th-17th century. Estimate: $100-$150. Jasper52 image

Great Plague of London ring, 15th-17th century. Estimate: $100-$150. Jasper52 image

 

View all these rings and more exquisite pieces in this week’s Jasper52 auction of Viking & Medieval Jewelry.

Viking Jewelry: Your Perfect Halloween Accessory

Vikings and ancient Scandinavian culture and lore have attracted increased interest in recent years. This awareness has led to a fascination with the skillful metalwork of Vikings, both in regard to weaponry and jewelry. Discoveries of the divergent representation of masterful Viking metalwork continue to occur in the UK and other western European countries.

While silver appears to have been the Vikings’ metal of choice, a few gold and bronze objects are featured in an upcoming sale on Jasper52, just in time for halloween. A few highlights below:

A Viking man’s ring in gold overlay has already attracted early bidding. The size 11 3/4 ring dates to A.D. 850-1000 and is expected to sell for up to $200.

Large Viking man's ring, gold overlay, size 11 3/4, A.D. 850-1000. Estimate: $165-$200

Large Viking man’s ring, gold overlay, size 11 3/4, A.D. 850-1000. Estimate: $165-$200

Examples of Viking mythology and their religion can also be seen in ancient jewelry. For example, a pendant shaped in the form of a duck’s foot is thought to have belonged to a 10th century Viking sorcerer. This bronze and silver overlay pendant is estimated to sell for $250-$300.

Viking sorcerer’s pendant, bronze with silver overlay 10th century, 1 inch. Estimate: $200-$250

Viking sorcerer’s pendant, bronze with silver overlay 10th century, 1 inch. Estimate: $200-$250

Vikings metalsmiths were skilled in first creating weapons, armor and tools, but also excelled in making jewelry that has stood the test of time. Those skills are also evident in elaborate jewelry designs that include hearts, crescents and earrings. 

The heart had special meaning for Viking warriors as a male symbol for bravery, fortitude, loyalty and integrity, and it embodied the Viking spirit.

The heart symbol embodied the Viking spirit. Viking heart pendant, gold overlay, A.D. 850-1050. Estimate: $250-$300

Viking heart pendant, gold overlay, A.D. 850-1050. Estimate: $250-$300

Not loving the Viking look? The scope of this auction extends beyond the reach of just the Vikings. For example, a silvered bronze Jerusalem cross pendant, likely worn by a Crusader, is expected to sell for $200-$300. The pendant is actually five crosses in one, which represent the five wounds of Christ. These crosses originated with Godfrey of Bouillon, a Frankish knight known as Baron of the Holy Sepulcher and the Crusader King, ruler of the Kingdom of Jerusalem following a victorious siege in the First Crusade.

Crusader’s cross pendant, Byzantine pilgrim’s reliquary cross, silvered bronze, A.D. 1000-1200, 1 inch. Estimate: $200-$300

Crusader’s cross pendant, Byzantine pilgrim’s reliquary cross, silvered bronze, A.D. 1000-1200, 1 inch. Estimate: $200-$300

So, will you be dressing up as a viking this halloween season?

Viking Jewelry: Everything You Need to Know

Vikings and ancient Scandinavian culture and lore have attracted increased interest in recent years, largely in part to film and television programming (have you heard of Game of Thrones?). This awareness has led to a fascination with the skillful metalwork of Vikings, including their weaponry and jewelry. Discoveries of the divergent representation of masterful Viking metalwork continue to occur in the UK and other western European countries, according to Bob Dodge, owner/director/founder, Artemis Gallery Ancient Art, which specializes in antiquities and ancient art.

Below we outline the key facts and info behind Viking jewelry, so you can start your collection:

Gold Ring

Viking 22K gold ring, Northern Europe, found in Britain, ninth to 12th century. Composed of two gold wires twisted together and hammered and welded at the terminals, displaying traditional Viking techniques. Artemis Gallery image

Viking 22K gold ring, Northern Europe, found in Britain, ninth to 12th century. Artemis Gallery image

While silver appears to have been the metal of choice, a small number of Viking gold pieces and bronze objects have come to auction, Dodge said. This gold Viking ring from the ninth to the 12th century was found in Britain.

While we may not know the exact meaning behind the designs, we do find indicators or origins. Shield forms probably paid homage to the importance of this item of warfare to the expansionist dreams of the Vikings, said Dodge.

Sorcerer’s Amulet

Viking sorcerer/seer amulet, A.D. 850-1100, shaped as a duck’s foot and pierced. Jasper52

Viking sorcerer/seer amulet, A.D. 850-1100, shaped as a duck’s foot and pierced. Jasper52

Examples of Viking mythology and their religion can also be seen in ancient jewelry. For example, this pierced amulet, shaped as a duck’s foot is similar to a necklace found at the grave of a woman of wealth and societal status, along with a wand and other items. It was believed, based on the discovery of the items in the grave, that the woman was a sorcerer or seer.

Silver Ring

Viking silver ring, ninth to 11th century, found in U.K. Artemis Gallery image

Viking silver ring, ninth to 11th century, found in U.K. Artemis Gallery image

Efficient design and ease of use are at the core of ancient Viking jewelry. This heavy overlapping coil of silver band has been twisted and incised with “feather” pattern along most of its length. Rings are a common type of Viking jewelry discovered today, second only to bracelets, Dodge explained.

Garment Brooch

Viking silver brooch, twin-paneled brooch or fibula, each side decorated with grape patterns, Western Europe, ninth to 12th century. Artemis Gallery image

Viking silver brooch, each side decorated with grape patterns, ninth to 12th century. Artemis Gallery image

Vikings used brooches to hold clothing in place and guard against the impact of swords during battle.

Hoop Earrings

Viking 22K gold hoop earrings, Northern Europe, ninth to 12th century. Artemis Gallery image

Viking 22K gold hoop earrings, Northern Europe, ninth to 12th century. Artemis Gallery image

Long before advancements in fabrication, Vikings created weapons, armor and tools that stood the test of time and completed the tasks at hand. Those skills are also evident in more elaborate jewelry designs like that of these gold hoop earrings. Other shapes seen in Viking jewelry include hearts, crescents and axes.

Interested in starting your own Viking jewelry collection? Discover Viking Jewelry on Jasper52.

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Adapted from original article featured on Auction Central News by C.A. LEO