As one might suspect, the jewels of a Viking were somewhat robust but very beautiful indeed. These nomadic people had exposure to many distant lands and incorporated and introduced their favoured jewels to suit their own culture.
Viking Jewels were designed for both aesthetics and functional purposes. Brooches, rings and arms bands played an important part in the life of a Viking. They could use their jewels to buy goods from local markets and trade goods, in essence some of their jewels served as a wallet or purse. The more intricate and expensive pieces were used to establish one’s worth and status within their society. To carry one’s wealth on their person was a way to keep it safe.
The jewellery was beautifully made from gold, silver, other metals and animal bones. Both men and women realised the value of their jewels as they were often buried with their jewellery and treasure. Men usually wore one brooch on their right shoulder, while the women wore one brooch on either shoulder to secure their shawls.
Necklaces were made from glass beads, semi precious stones, small metal charms and amber and resin. These pieces were strung on metal wire or a natural fibre and fell in different lengths.
The early Vikings rarely wore earrings or rings. Perhaps this was due to their hunting, nomadic and fighting lifestyle. In the latter stages of the Viking era, rings and earrings were more commonly found in hoards and graves. The earrings that have been unearthed are very intricate but would have been worn over the entire ear, rather than a hoop through the ear lobe.
Norwegians today are most proud of their Viking heritage and have brought many of the jewels into a modern day context and are easily purchased throughout Oslo.