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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