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Ancient Adornment

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Vikings is back on the History Channel! You may have caught the premiere of the new season last night. We’ve been captivated by this historically inspired drama since it started a few years ago. The sets are incredible, the costumes are gorgeous, but the characters have to be the best of all. Lagertha is my personal favorite. A mother, a shieldmaiden (or female warrior), a farmer, and many other things I’ll leave off the list to prevent spoilers; Lagertha is one of the most unconventional and deep female characters on television right now.

Lagertha

The rainbow moonstone necklace she got from her fling with a King remains one of my all-time favorite television jewelry pieces.

She had a scene with a softly hooting owl in last night’s premiere. Once source said Vikings used to use owls to signal an attack; is this foreshadowing the actions Lagertha briefly mentioned in her fight scene? What other trouble might Ragnar’s return bring about? How will his sons fare in England and the Mediterranean? What’s going on with Queen Kwenthrith and Magnus? I don’t think you want to lick the seer’s hand, so I guess we’ll have to keep watching this season to find out.

 

Vikings have a well-deserved warlike reputation. The history channel show Vikings does little to gloss over that fact. Because of this, it can be easy to overlook other aspects of their complex society. This culture was full of incredibly skilled, spiritual craftspeople. Jewelry was a surprisingly relevant part of their lives. They wore silver arm rings that could be used as currency; you could break a piece off to pay for certain goods that you needed. This type of arm ring is called hack silver. These hack silver arm rings would either have easily removable pieces for quick spending, or be made from one solid piece meant to help you save your wealth until you really needed it.

 vikings arm bands

Silver was the most common metal used for adornment, although they also used bronze and more rarely gold. Much of this jewelry has been found buried in hoards, as this was most likely the safest way to guard your wealth in that time, besides wearing it. They wore gemstone beads, but rarely wore gemstones set in precious metals as we often do today. The technology to do so had been around for some time, it just never came in to fashion. Their beads were commonly iolite, carnelian, and amber. The most common jewelry item they wore were Viking brooches. Beautiful and practical; these were used to hold up their cloaks. The brooches sometimes depict anthropomorphic figures, thought to symbolize the link between physical and spiritual worlds. Rings on the fingers or earrings were less commonly worn. They were using the lost-wax method for creating jewelry long before we were, and a lot of their chains don’t look too different from certain styles of chain we wear today.

 cloak brooch

cloak brooch

We hope you’ll join us in watching this season of History Channel’s Vikings. Let us know down below in the comments who your Vikings crush is, even if we already know it is Lagertha. While you’re watching, wear our Morelia Three Bar Pendant - the snake ribs will help you connect to your inner shield maiden. Just don’t get too immersed; if you have food delivered, you may try to break off a bar to tip the driver.

morelia three bar

Curious Insight

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