Viking Jewellery

Gold was known as a jewellery metal in the south-east of Europe already 4000 years B.C. In the northern parts of Europe there are occasional gold finds dated back as early as 2000 B.C, i.e. towards the end of the Stone Age.The finds from this period comprises of a few gold objects in the form of simple small spirals of wire and Irish beaten collars. It wasn´t until a thousand years later, well into the Bronze Age, that gold would become more frequently used. Gold was most likely imported to the north of Europe which explains why there was a shortage of gold during the centuries before Christ when the Celts ruled large parts of Europe. Just before Christ gold started pouring into the Nordic countries again and the contacts with the Romans helped the art of goldsmith evolve and improve. A great deal of the gold might have come here in form of Roman solidi (gold coins of about 4.5 g.) which were the wages to Northerners who bad been mercenaries in the Roman army. By then we did not know how to use money but used the gold as status metal and reshaped the gold coins into jewellery.

Medieval Jewellery

The forms of the jewellery of the Viking Age were still in existence in the beginning of the Middle Ages and they were predominate even during the 12th century. In the 14th and 15th centuries the forms changed after continental patterns and towards the end of the Middle Ages the imports of finished products also increased. The jewellery of the Middle Ages gave expression to the spiritual and religious values of the those times, in design, motif, and inscriptions. Great symbolic importance and magic power were also attached to the materials, gold, silver, precious and semiprecious stones. Pendants, clasps, and small fittings were common types of jewellery. The fingering got a new signification and became more widely spread during prehistoric times and was a momentous symbol in different situations. The fingering often had the nature of amulets and were considered to protect against illness and other dangers through mounted stones or thanks to inscriptions with a pure magic content.

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