A Brief History of Scandinavian Jewellery

Talking about Nordic jewellery, the first impression on us may highly be expensive, and the second crude. Although it does lack the delicacy of Western European design and the style of middle-ages, heirloom jewellery lovers are still obsessed with those Norse pieces. After all, the gorgeous and enduring style is more in line with our pursuit of timelessness and ultimate art.

The pricy Nordic jewellery seems to be a result of the relatively high living cost of the locals and the sparse population which naturally leads to high labor cost. Other factors, the likes of processing efficiency, supply chains and jewellery design also play a significant coefficient role in the markup. Since it is a typical in Stockholm to see second-hand American jewellery sold by weight, one can easily realize the fact that Nordic countries lack metal resources. It can take you months scouring the Danish antique market to finally find a dozen of silver rings.

Crude, as the other stereotype related to Nordic jewellery, we usually connect it with the features of Vikings - masculine warriors fighting each other in their silver helmets and heavy armors. And those tough men are obsessed in making jewellery using bronze, brass, silvers and gold. This can date back to 800BC and their craftsmanship is escalating to even superb.

Viking beading, usually made of amber or glass, was the most common ornament on necklaces. Raw materials like glass are usually imported from Western Europe. Because they were handcrafted, none of them were found identical. Although glazed beads are widely used today, archaeological evidence from Viking tombs suggests that these ornaments are rare. And even the Viking ornaments with beads were only one or two or three. At the time, beads could be worn alone or with other pendants. For example, Thor's hammer was very suitable for beading on both sides. It is extremely rare to find more than three beads on a same item, suggesting that they are both precious and rare, symbolizing a person's wealth and social status.