Twisted Viking Jewelry
As art expert and collector with really wide scope of interests from Paleolithic Stone Age to Post Medieval times Art, I discover one thing that Viking age historians and archaeologists usually missing.
It’s related to main shape of Viking age jewellery. Majority of known rings, bracelets and torques of the period have snake or serpent design. For Norse art expert it’s not possible at all to answer why all people man and women and kids wore same type of the rings? Viking elite silver and gold and poor people and kids in bronze but everyone had one. It is clear what it was not related to fashion and what is also interesting that “snake” ring and other jewellery design disappeared after Norse people adopted Christianity as main religion.
To answer this question correctly, we should understand the roots of Pagan beliefs of Norse people. And it’s really old story. The first European Gods figurines carved in stone and woolly ammoth tusk usually dated 30.000 BC. The cult of Mother Goddess in Europe and its high level of acceptance by early European farmers can be dated 7-2 Millennium BC.
It is confirmed that snake symbol was one of the main symbols of Mother Goddess – it’s symbol of life, birth, death and rebirth. Its one of the infinity symbols and that is important for our study – its Symbol of protection. The “Good snake” is home protector as per our ancestors early Pagans beliefs. We understand that in grain storages, Old Europe farmers were keeping snakes to save the crop from rodents during long winters and it was crucial for human beings to survive.
We should also say here that most beautiful Viking Age jewellery its for sure twisted Torques and Bracelets usually made in silver. Vikings not produced silver and gold and price of the metals were incredibly high – precious metals were coming from trade and raids:) and of course silver jewellery pieces with weight of 50 – 300 grams and more cost a fortune.
Vikings brings metals home: silver Islamic Durham and some better quality European / Anglo-Saxon coins togather with silver jewellery from their trades. Later it was all melted to produce that we know today as High Status Vikings Norse jewelry of Viking Jarls and Kings.