Embracing Heritage: The Timeless Beauty of Viking Jewellery

The era of ancient Scandinavian society was really when the history of Viking ornaments began. Even prior to the age of Vikings (800-1000 AD), bone, wood and bronze were used to make simple adornments by those in the north. However, it was during the Viking era that things really took off.


On their voyages, Viking warriors brought home with them spoils from distant lands. The loot consisted of precious metals, gemstones, shells, ingots and other unique materials. This sudden upsurge in riches fueled creativity among the craftsmen of the period, leading to some of the most renowned Viking jewellery. 


The History of Viking Jewellery


To better understand Viking jewellery, we must first step back a bit in history. Imagine the Viking warriors crossing the stormy seas,on a quest for riches. In Viking times, jewellery acted as a symbol of status and power. Many Viking pieces have been discovered by archaeologists, ranging from brooches to metal necklaces. 


Take, for example, the famous Hiddensee treasure, which is a collection of jewellery from Viking times discovered in the German island of Hiddensee. This collection includes several silver bracelets, some plain and some adorned. They were used as amulets that people used to believe would ward off evil spirits and bring good luck to the wearer. The hoard also included several amulets in the shape of small Thor's hammers, which were tiny replicas of the mighty Mjölnir. Each pendant was believed to offer protection and guidance to those who wore them. Each rune has its own meaning and power, and to wear such amulets would be a way for a Viking to garner that power in his life.


Below we'll discuss some of the common Viking jewellery symbols and what they signified for the wearer.


The Hammer of Thor

The hammer of Thor - mighty Mjölnir. More than a symbol, it was a representation of strength and protection. Wearing Mjölnir meant one had Thor with them always, ready to rescue them from any foe who dares challenge them. It is a reminder for one to stand tall in the face of adversity and not to back down from a fight.


Raven

Ravens were considered to be sacred birds in Norse mythology, and were often associated with Odin. They symbolise wisdom, knowledge, and the ability to see beyond the present.


The Wolf

The wold amulet signifies a wild, fierce, and untamed creature. In Viking culture, the wolf was revered as a symbol of ferocity and loyalty; it showed the spirit of the warrior, always on the ready to defend its pack. Wearing the image of a wolf symbolised its strength and resilience, and being loyal to one's kin, no matter the cost.


Tree of Life (Yggdrasil)

Yggdrasil is the great world tree that is believed to connect the nine realms in Norse mythology. It symbolises how all things are connected and the cycle of life, death, and rebirth.


Valknut

Also known as the "knot of the slain," the Valknut is a symbol associated with Odin, All-Father of Norse mythology. It became known as a symbol of courage, sacrifice, and the warrior spirit.