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05.02.2020

Viking Jewelry

Brooches were the main means of holding clothing in place. As such, their main function was a practical one, but their design kept up with the fashions of the Viking Age as well. During the ninth and tenth centuries, the shape of the brooches was typically that of an oval dome. The third brooch on a woman’s dress varied more in its shape, but was often three-armed. Over the course of the tenth century, disc-shaped brooches replaced the earlier oval domes.

Silver and gold rings – arm rings, neck rings, and finger rings – served as particularly ostentatious displays of wealth, but also served as bullion when the need arose.

Both men and women sometimes wore necklaces. These could be true necklaces strung around the neck, or, for women, they could be festoons hung from brooches. The beads on the necklaces and festoons of lower-class people were made of amber or glass, while those that adorned upper-class people were frequently made out of expensive, imported gemstones and crystals.

In addition to beads, these necklaces and festoons sometimes contained pendants. Some of these were amulets, such as Thor’s hammers, crosses, or miniature thrones or seats that some scholars believe to be associated with the worship of Odin (who looked out over all the world from his seat Hlidskjalf).

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