There were 5 functions of Viking jewelry:
- For attaching the clothes to close them up
- For attaching as a symbol of belief and protection
- To indicate social or economic status
- Means of payment for trade exchanges.
People have always looked forward to enhancing their looks and Vikings were no exceptions. No matter if they were a farmer or a warrior, everyone loved to try many styles of jewelry to look better. It was also associated with the spiritual notion to protect themselves and have god’s help at all times.
There were four materials used to make Viking jewelry:
- Metal / Tin
Apart from the gold or silver, the Vikings also wore pearls, precious stones, and crystals to make necklaces and bracelets. Speaking of necklaces, the famous Thor’s hammer necklace is still worn today. when it comes to using the precious stones, it was only limited to the upper class as the lower class made their jewelry with amber and glass. The metal came from the coins they got from trading at Scandinavia. Then the coins are melted to make the jewelry. Silver was most commonly used to create Viking jewelry.
Types of Viking jewelry
- Brooches or pins
Pins helped in keeping the clothes in place. They were used by everyone and the design also changed as per time and became into real jewelry. In the 9th and early 10th centuries, the shape of the brooches were commonly oval and the brooches worn by women were different than those worn by men. In that era, the disc shaped brooches were made.
- Amulets and necklaces
The main distinction between the necklaces and pendants is the spiritual inclination of the latter which is mostly referred to as amulet with a protective power. Research claims that Thor’s Hammer was the most common amulet used among Vikings. Other symbols include round pendants with circular motifs that indicates the solar star, shape of miniature tools, activity, and fertility. Then, there were stick shaped pendants which denoted sovereignty. They were indicative of Odin’s sovereign power. There were also rifle shaped pendants that denoted the purifying fire as well as source of life. The cubic seat pendants denoted the thrones of Odin and Thor who were the main gods of Nordic mythology. The pendants shaped in woman’s figure denoted Valkyries.
Viking clothes were usually made of wool and flax and other animal fibers and plants were also used. Wool was perfect for the Scandinavian weather. Sheep were usually white at that era, so the wool was always white. Vikings don multiple layers of clothing due to the local climate. Linen was mostly used for underwear because of comfort factor. Silk was a luxurious item only the wealthy could afford. Fur was used in making ornaments and coats. The Vikings also dyed clothes, but it was of poor quality and the color faded overtime.