The Vikings are usually deemed ravenous and violent people who terrorized their neighborhood by the means of war and bloodshed. But if you explore their culture closely, you may be able to understand that Vikings actually have a rich culture that cherished exploration, have sophisticated skaldic verses and are artful great craftsmen who constructed longships, forged weapons and made tasteful, rich and diverse range of jewelry.
Even today, the Vikings love to look good. They always put on eye kohl and exotic silks being imported from the East. They always wear Viking Jewelry like rings, bracelets, and necklaces to embellish themselves. Brooches were also famous and held an important status in securing their clothes. But, Viking never wore earrings.
The Vikings made their jewelry with the lost wax method. In this you need a wax mold of the desired piece and then more melted metal onto the mold. Once it cools down, the wax mold breaks away and the metal is buffed until it shines. But beyond simple trinkets, jewelry played an important role in Viking society. Warriors who wore similar bands raided and conquered together, made alliances with lords and warriors etc. Vikings are extremely loyal and they denote this by exchanging rings. Wealthy lords give away their precious rings to warriors to guarantee their allegiance. But the lords never hoarded their wealth and distributed to the community instead. These guaranteed bonds ensure mutual interest and loyalty.
Viking jewelry was worn by both men and women and was made from silver or bronze. While the wealthy ones wore the ones with gold. Viking jewelry rarely included gems or stones and separate pieces were made from such materials. Apart from being the adornments, the precious jewelry could also be used as currency. While there were coins, they were itself not a currency and the coin didn’t demark a certain value like modern currency. Coins were valued on the basis of weight in gold or silver. Hence, Viking society is deemed more as a bullion economy where the purity and weight mattered instead of the form it is presented in. and because of this pieces of precious metals were broken off the huge jewelry pieces to make up for the precise weight of the precious metal, usually silver needed for transaction. Traders usually had small scales with them because of the same reason.
Taking into account the monetary value of jewelry, you may find that it was also a symbol of their wealth and status. So, basically, they wore their wealth at all times. And for the same, the warriors decorated their weapons with precious metals. There are many imported coins available as examples today which are being made of precious metals being melted down to raw in order to make arm rings, neck rings, and brooches. There are also instances where coins are used as jewelry. There are many pendants too that served their religious purpose like the Mjolnir, Thor’s hammer. You can buy the Thor’s hammer necklace almost anywhere today. Such pendants only survived from a few graves indicating that they were not regularly worn but retained within families. Vikings are usually buried with their jewelry as they believe that they may need wealth to live a comfortable afterlife.