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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?