Commonly depicted ad ravenous barbarians, it’s hard to think of the Vikings in any other way. Surprisingly though, they happen to be very good at woodwork and metalwork. Their various designs and symbols have greatly influenced the cultures over time. This handiwork especially appreciated in their jewelry.
Did Vikings wear rings?
Yes. Vikings of all classes and social standing wore rings made of bronze, silver, glass, and amber. Gold, however, was reserved for the elite. Rings had a great significance to the social and political stability of the kingdom. As sworn raiders and plunders, Lords, who were the most were most wealthy would on merit gifted treasures to their warriors which cemented their alliances and loyalty and this greatly increased their rank in the community.
Viking rings stood out in their unique designs that included drawings of geometric designs, beasts, and varied animals. These rings took all forms of rings; neck, arm, finger, and wrists worn mostly by the men as women mostly wore bracelets and brooches. Interestingly, they never wore earrings. Even though they came across them in their days of trade, they never warmed up to them.
Viking Ring Designs
1. Runes ring
A total of 24 runes make up the alphabet that the Vikings used in their communication. Seers used them to interpret the cosmos but there were also plenty of variations that referenced trade or individual name initials. The runes all had individual meanings behind them and were considered to possess a magic that attracted energies that match the ring’s meaning.
2. Valknut ring
Featuring three interlocking triangles, the Valknut or the “slain warriors knot” appears in many archeological pieces that reference the old Germanic people of the Viking era. It symbolizes the aspect of nine worlds and the belief in reincarnation.
It has been related and associated with Hrungnir’s heart that was allegedly made of hard stone and took the shape of three sharp corners matching the Valknut.
This ring is also associated with Odin the god of war and death who was said to use it to cast mental-binds on his attackers or team making them either mentally powerless at war or by inducing them with the spirit of battle to make them fearless.
In modern-day, it is used by some for expression in the form of tattoos or engraved on these rings that are made of stainless steel, sterling silver whether coated or not.
3. Yggdrasil ring
Also known as the World Tree or Tree of Life. A mythical tree that is believed to be the door to the nine worlds which contain all cycles of birth, growth, death, and resurrection. This ash tree is said to be the convention area for the gods when they ran their administrative duties. The roots of the tree extend to three different springs and wells. The animals that live within the tree are an unnamed eagle, a dragon and two stags.
The term Yggdrasil loosely translated means Odin’s horse. It is symbolic because as Odin went in search of wisdom, he was asked to give his life up and he did this by stabbing himself with his sword and hanging himself on Yggdrasil for nine days and nine nights. All this he did in quest of understanding the runes.
4. Aegishjalmur ring
Translated to mean the helm of awe or the helm of terror, this symbol was used as a form of protection from seen and unseen forces of evil in the Viking period. It is based on the rune Algis and when repeated 8 times with crossbars at their tips, blocks attacks of any kind coming from any direction. In the olden times, warriors would have the sign painted or carved into their forehead to gain protection. Nowadays, because of its interesting and original design, many people use it as a tattoo or for decorations without seeking the meaning behind it.
5. Vegvisir or the Viking Compass ring
Meaning “way-finder” this image consists of eight wands that branch out from a common point representing the different cardinal directions. It was intended to be used by the sea bearer to see or find a way through rough waters and weather.
6. The Horn Triskelion ring
A symbol that shows three drinking horns intertwined to form a circle or spiral. Also related to Odin, it refers to the stealing of Mead of Poetry which was a source of the power of speech and immense knowledge. It is a representation of wisdom in poetic inspiration and drinking it turns you into a scholar or a great influential writer.
7. Mjolnir ring
Mjolnir was known as Thor’s hammer and was the most powerful weapon that ever existed said to flatten even mountains. Known as the god of thunder and lightning, this symbol was much used in the olden days with people believing that it had the power to protect them from storms or any other terrible calamities. It was also used in ceremonies as a blessing especially in marriages, births, and funerals.
Did Vikings wear wedding rings?
Yes, they did and in a very stylish way too. Vikings had a ritual at the wedding where the bride and groom would exchange swords first. The man’s sword to his woman represented the continuity of his bloodline and the woman’s sword to the man represented her father’s handover as guardian and protector to the husband. They would then place each other’s rings on the swords’ tips and hand it over to their partner to put it on themselves.
Though it is true that the Vikings had talented workers in the metal and wood categories and had gone as far as making their trade coins, they soon realized that they didn’t have to do all that. So, when they spotted the amount of wealth filled up in the Northern part of Europe and the British monasteries, they resulted in raids accompanied by the plunder of everything they considered valuable and beautiful to look at. Now that you know about them, what symbol would you want on your Viking ring?
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