Viking Jewelry: Everything You Need to Know

Vikings and ancient Scandinavian culture and lore have attracted increased interest in recent years, largely in part to film and television programming Have you heard of Game of Thrones?). This awareness has led to a fascination with the skillful metalwork of Vikings, including their weaponry and jewelry. Discoveries of the divergent representation of masterful Viking metalwork continue to occur in the UK and other western European countries, according to Bob Dodge, owner/director/founder, Artemis Gallery Ancient Art, which specializes in antiquities and ancient art.

Below we outline the key facts and info behind Viking jewelry, so you can start your collection:

Gold Ring

Viking 22K gold ring, Northern Europe, found in Britain, ninth to 12th century. Composed of two gold wires twisted together and hammered and welded at the terminals, displaying traditional Viking techniques. Artemis Gallery image

Viking 22K gold ring, Northern Europe, found in Britain, ninth to 12th century. Artemis Gallery image

While silver appears to have been the metal of choice, a small number of Viking gold pieces and bronze objects have come to auction, Dodge said. This gold Viking ring from the ninth to the 12th century was found in Britain.

While we may not know the exact meaning behind the designs, we do find indicators or origins. Shield forms probably paid homage to the importance of this item of warfare to the expansionist dreams of the Vikings, said Dodge.

Sorcerer’s Amulet

Viking sorcerer/seer amulet, A.D. 850-1100, shaped as a duck’s foot and pierced. Jasper52

Viking sorcerer/seer amulet, A.D. 850-1100, shaped as a duck’s foot and pierced. Jasper52

Examples of Viking mythology and their religion can also be seen in ancient jewelry. For example, this pierced amulet, shaped as a duck’s foot is similar to a necklace found at the grave of a woman of wealth and societal status, along with a wand and other items. It was believed, based on the discovery of the items in the grave, that the woman was a sorcerer or seer.

Silver Ring

Viking silver ring, ninth to 11th century, found in U.K. Artemis Gallery image

Viking silver ring, ninth to 11th century, found in U.K. Artemis Gallery image

Efficient design and ease of use are at the core of ancient Viking jewelry. This heavy overlapping coil of silver band has been twisted and incised with “feather” pattern along most of its length. Rings are a common type of Viking jewelry discovered today, second only to bracelets, Dodge explained.

Garment Brooch

Viking silver brooch, twin-paneled brooch or fibula, each side decorated with grape patterns, Western Europe, ninth to 12th century. Artemis Gallery image

Viking silver brooch, each side decorated with grape patterns, ninth to 12th century. Artemis Gallery image

Vikings used brooches to hold clothing in place and guard against the impact of swords during battle.

Hoop Earrings

Viking 22K gold hoop earrings, Northern Europe, ninth to 12th century. Artemis Gallery image

Viking 22K gold hoop earrings, Northern Europe, ninth to 12th century. Artemis Gallery image

Long before advancements in fabrication, Vikings created weapons, armor and tools that stood the test of time and completed the tasks at hand. Those skills are also evident in more elaborate jewelry designs like that of these gold hoop earrings. Other shapes seen in Viking jewelry include hearts, crescents and axes.

Interested in starting your own Viking jewelry collection? Discover Viking Jewelry on Jasper52.

___

Adapted from original article featured on Auction Central News by C.A. LEO

Best Rare Bookshops in the US

Like paper-and-ink books in general, bookshops can seem like an endangered species in the digital age. Yet an undercurrent of profound commitment to this 560 year-old technology, the printed book, sustains book lovers in their belief that a better vessel for preserving and conveying testimony to what it means to be alive has yet to be devised, e-readers be damned. Booksellers, equally partisans of the printed book, continue to recognize this, and as long as they do, we can hope for the longevity of the bookshop as a place of discovery and community. Below are the top hits when it comes to rare book shops in the United States:

Image courtesy of Bauman Rare Books

Image courtesy of Bauman Rare Books

Bauman Rare Books

If you want an immersive experience in the history of the book as a cultural object, I can think of no better place than Bauman Rare Books. With shops on Madison Avenue in New York City and in the Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas, the Baumans offer what they call “landmark books” in all fields, from the 15th century to today. This amounts to a one-stop tour of some of the boldest ideas and most cherished writers the Western tradition has produced, from Shakespeare and Adam Smith to Jane Austen and Mary Wollstonecraft, from Charles Darwin and Thomas Jefferson to Madame Curie and Martin Luther King, Jr. No other rare bookshop in the country has brought together a selection in as wide a range of subjects. Visitors shouldn’t be put off by the museum-like atmosphere, though. The booksellers here are extremely friendly and knowledgeable. They’re eager to share stories about the publication history of each book on display, and to educate newcomers in the terminology and tradecraft of rare and antiquarian books. You can even handle many of the great rarities on offer.

Honey & Wax Booksellers

So much of book collecting and bookselling is about personal taste, and no bookseller I know has better taste than Honey & Wax Booksellers. Their motto – “Use books as bees use flowers” – gestures perfectly at both the aesthetic and utilitarian functions that books have historically served. Honey & Wax offers a distinctive selection in literature, the arts and children’s books, among other areas. What really characterizes each of their books, though, is a strong visual or tactile component that’s emblematic of that book’s place in time and culture, something Honey & Wax describes as having “no downloadable equivalent,” whether it be hand-colored illustrations, an exquisitely crafted binding, or a unique ownership history. Honey & Wax’s books are primarily available online and through its beautiful catalogues, but their Brooklyn office is open by appointment only.

Brian Cassidy

Another dealer I greatly admire is Brian Cassidy, Bookseller. Cassidy is among a handful of emerging rare booksellers looking beyond traditional book collecting for the type of ephemeral material that shapes and defines cultural trends and movements before we’ve even realized it. Outsider literary magazines, punk rock posters and handbills, pulp paperbacks, handmade artists books, personal scrapbooks and photo albums documenting little-known subcultures – these are the kinds of “cultural detritus” Cassidy discovers and meticulously catalogues, providing a context for them in the larger world. Based in the Washington, D.C. area, Cassidy sells primarily online and through catalogues, as well as regularly at book fairs around the country.

The pleasures of ordinary used bookshops shouldn’t be overlooked or understated. Books produced at different moments in recent history jostle together on their shelves, reflecting both the changes and the constants of our communal tastes and values. Moreover, used bookshops are important incubators for collectors and dealers of rare books, as they demonstrate the richness and variety that are possible, and train the eye and fingertips in detection.

Unnameable Books

More than any other player, alas, it’s the used bookseller that’s most threatened in the digital age. One of my favorites still in operation is Unnameable Books in Brooklyn, NY. They have first-rate selections in fiction and poetry, philosophy and critical theory, art, film, music, history and politics, as well as books in foreign languages, and a small selection of rare books in back. They’re affordable, and they buy books and take them on trade. Basically they’re everything a good used bookshop – the kind you could once find several of in every neighborhood in New York City – should be.

Any of your favorites left off this list? Tweet @ByJasper52 and share your suggestions.

Erik Duron copyErik DuRon has nearly 20 years of experience buying and selling rare books in all fields, first at Bauman Rare Books in New York City, and then independently. He has built collections for diverse clients, and collaborates with and consults for collectors, booksellers and auction houses. He lives in Brooklyn and can be reached at erikduron@msn.com.