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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.