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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!

6 Jewelry Pieces You Will Swoon Over

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, this weekend’s Jasper52 jewelry auction features modern and vintage pieces that mingle beautifully making up a diverse collection. Tiffany, Cartier and Van Cleef are just a few of the famous names offered, boasting classic designs as well as modern interpretations.

Tiffany & Co. platinum diamond and sapphire bypass ring featuring a GIA-graded 1.78 carat old European cut diamond and a round cut sapphire with an estimated weight of 2.10cts, size 5 1/2. Estimate: $16,000-$20,000. Jasper52 image

 

The 120-lot auction saves the best items for last, concluding with a Tiffany & Co. platinum diamond and sapphire bypass ring (above), estimated at $16,000-$20,000, and a pair of Van Cleef & Arpel 18K gold diamond and mother of pearl earrings (below), estimated to bring $20,000-$25,000.

Van Cleef & Arpel 18K cabochon mother of pearl diamond earrings with .80cts of round brilliant cut diamonds. Estimate: $20,000-$25,000. Jasper52 image

 

Vintage Tiffany & Co. in the sale also includes a pendant with a pair of natural pearls and 44 old European cut diamonds. The Art Deco necklace, which is not Tiffany, measures 19.5 inches long. This diamond and pearl necklace is accompanied by a retail appraisal performed by a graduate gemologist as well as a GIA report for the natural pearls. This lovely item (below) carries a $7,000-$10,000 estimate.

Tiffany & Co. natural pearl and diamond pendant with 44 Old European cut diamonds and a pair of GIA-graded natural pearls, late 1800s. Estimate: $7,000-$10,000. Jasper52 image

 

From Boucheron, Paris, an 18K gold ring (below) featuring an oval diamond flanked by 20 round billion cut diamonds has an $8,000-$12,000.

Boucheron, Paris, diamond ring with 0.55-carat oval diamond and 20 round brilliant cut diamonds, size 6.25. Estimate: $8,000-$12,000. Jasper52 image

 

An enameled 18K gold tiger bracelet (below) by Frascarolo adds a touch of whimsy to the sale. The big cat’s eyes are rubies.

Frascarolo tiger bangle bracelet, 18K yellow gold, 7-inch circumference. Estimate: $15,000-$20,000. Jasper52 image

 

On the contemporary side is a SimonG 18 gold diamond row bracelet (below) of white and rose gold with 1.48 ctw diamonds.

SimonG 18K gold diamond row bracelet, 1.48ctw. Estimate: $8,000-$12,000. Jasper51 image

 

This sale offers a variety of fine jewelry for buyers looking for either elegant simplicity or for eye-catching intensity. View the full catalog and register to bid here.

A Beginner’s Guide to Collecting Fabergé Pendant Eggs

Fabergé’s miniature pendant eggs are an exceedingly enjoyable area to collect. In what other area can you purchase a Fabergé egg that you can also wear everyday?

Perhaps no country is better known for its Easter eggs than Russia. From the jeweled creations of Fabergé to humble woodcarvings, the holiday could not be celebrated without the decoration and exchange of numerous eggs. With the tradition dating back to the 15th century, by the 1890s wealthy families presented each other with precious miniature eggs each year. Eggs could be decorated with symbols of the season, family professions, or love tokens. Strung on gold necklaces, a lady might have multiple necklaces by her later years.

Jeweled pendant eggs can range from affordable to quite expensive, so where should a novice collector begin? Read on for 5 key tips to beginning your Fabergé pendant egg collection.

1. It’s important to begin with an established and trustworthy seller who is willing to guarantee authenticity.

Fabergé gold-mounted carved purpurine miniature pendant egg, St Petersburg, circa 1908-1917. Lot 109. Estimate: $8,500-12,000

Fabergé gold-mounted carved purpurine miniature pendant egg, St Petersburg, circa 1908-1917

2. Consider the materials you prefer: the translucent guilloché enamels for which Fabergé is famed or a more unusual material like the matte purpurine, a rare and unusual glass that is so opaque it resembles a carved hardstone. Do you want an egg with an elephant or clover, symbols of good luck, or perhaps your birthstone? Eggs are available in every style and color, and designs can be surprisingly modern.

A Fabergé amethyst and gilded silver miniature pendant Easter egg, St. Petersburg, circa 1898-1908. Lot 98. Estimate: $4,000-6,000

A Fabergé amethyst and gilded silver miniature pendant Easter egg, St. Petersburg, circa 1898-1908

3. Examine the egg or photos of the egg carefully. It should show some signs of wear. When strung together on a necklace, the eggs often bumped into one another and tiny chips or bumps can appear on enamel surfaces. Large areas of loss and repair negatively impact price while an important provenance will increase it. The Red Cross egg (featured below) has a small area of discoloration that is fairly common with enameled eggs, and the estimate reflects the tiny bit of wear as well as the desirability of the subject matter.

A Fabergé gold and guilloché enamel miniature pendant Easter egg, workmaster Andrei Adler, St Petersburg, circa 1900. Lot 105. Estimate: $2,500-4,500

A Fabergé gold and guilloché enamel miniature pendant Easter egg, workmaster Andrei Adler, St Petersburg, circa 1900

4. Spend a little time familiarizing yourself with Russian hallmarks. Pendant eggs are mostly constructed on a frame of gold and are marked on the bale, the small suspension ring from which they can be attached to a necklace or bracelet. The bale is a small space for the relatively large maker’s marks and hallmarks, especially if we compare them to the diminutive marks used in France! Russian jewelers stamped items with the numbers 56 (equivalent to 14K) or 72 (equivalent to 18K).

Detail of the 56 mark (equivalent to 14K). Lot 109.

Detail of the 56 mark (equivalent to 14K)

5. If your budget doesn’t extend to a Fabergé pendant Easter egg, consider buying a Russian pendant Easter egg. Prices are significantly cheaper and the pendants can be just as lovely, if a bit less complex.

A Russian gem-set gold pendant egg, circa 1900. Lot 107. Estimate: $1,500-2,500

A Russian gem-set gold pendant egg, circa 1900

This week’s Fine & Decorative Arts Auction features beautiful Fabergé style pendant eggs. Take a look here!


Written by Karen Kettering, Vice President at John Atzbach Antiques in Redmond, Washington.

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?

Fine Jewelry Auction Sets Stage for Premier Designers’ Gems

David Yurman, Georg Jensen, William Spratling, Cartier and Tiffany are a few of the famous names represented in this weekend’s upcoming fine jewelry auction.

Sparkling with fine creations by illustrious designers, this collection offers a kaleidoscope of exquisite pieces, including vintage and estate jewelry. Trends evolve, but diamonds, silver and gold never go out of style. Here are a few of our favorite things… from this collection:

Diamond and sapphire earrings, 1.5 ctw. Estimate: $6,000-$8,000

Diamond and sapphire earrings, 1.5 ctw. Estimate: $6,000-$8,000

Topping the list is a pair of diamond and sapphire earrings in 18K white and yellow gold. The diamonds in these flower-shape earrings have a total carat weight of approximately 1.5 to 2.0 carats (est. $6,000-$8,000).

Seven pieces designed by sculptor David Yurman are entered in the auction, including an 18K gold X crossover diamond ring. The size 7 ring features Yurman’s signature cable detail and pave diamonds (0.04 ctw).

David Yurman 18K gold X crossover diamond ring. Estimate: $900-$1,000. Jasper52 image

David Yurman 18K gold X crossover diamond ring. Estimate: $900-$1,000

A classic example of Mexican silver is a 1930s River of Life cuff bracelet designed by William Spratling, which is estimated at $1,750-$2,000.

 

William Spratling ‘River of Life’ cuff bracelet, 980 silver. Estimate: $1,750-$2,000. Jasper52 image

William Spratling ‘River of Life’ cuff bracelet, 980 silver. Estimate: $1,750-$2,000

Two postwar Georg Jensen lots will be sold: a 1 1/2-inch sterling silver No. 20 brooch and a pair of sterling silver No. 66 “Bird” earrings by Kristian Mohl-Hansen.

 

Georg Jensen sterling silver ‘Bird’ earrings by Kristian Mohl-Hansen, with screw back clasps, 1-inch diameter. Estimate: $500-$600. Jasper52 image

Georg Jensen sterling silver ‘Bird’ earrings by Kristian Mohl-Hansen, with screw-back clasps, 1-inch diameter. Estimate: $500-$600

This 18K white gold and diamond “C” heart ring by Cartier has an estimated value of $4,500-$6,000.

 

Cartier 18K white gold diamond ‘C’ heart ring, sized 5.25. Estimate: $4,500-$6,000.

Cartier 18K white gold diamond ‘C’ heart ring, size 5.25. Estimate: $4,500-$6,000.

Just “a little something” from Tiffany’s, the pair of 14K yellow gold full links shown below carry a $200-$300 estimate.

Tiffany & Co 14K yellow gold cuff links, 11.3 grams. Estimate: $200-$300. Jasper52 image

Tiffany & Co 14K yellow gold cuff links, 11.3 grams. Estimate: $200-$300

Also within this unique assortment of more than 100 lots are a Victorian gold conch brooch and a Navajo green turquoise necklace. And the best part? All bidding start at just $1.

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