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Known for its coastal beauty, steep mountains, Viking heritage, and deep fjords, the Scandinavian region that makes up the countries of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway is sure a breathtaking place. However, the region has a lot more to offer than just its scenic beauty and rich cultural heritage and history. While people travel here for a magical escape among the mountains and the beaches, we are here to tell you about another very interesting aspect of Scandinavia- their jewelry! 

While jewelry may not be the first thing to come to your mind when you think of Scandinavia, there sure is a lot that you must know about it.

Today, Scandinavian jewellery is immensely popular all over the world and there are a host of prominent Scandinavian designers who have left their mark in the jewellery industry.

Right from the dainty silver jewelry to the unique jewelry designs made popular by the Vikings, there is a lot to Scandinavian jewelry than you might think. Whether you prefer simple and elegant jewelry designs or something heavier or more glamorous, you can find it all in the jewellery of the Scandinavians.

So, come along, as we tell you everything that there is to know about Scandinavian jewelry- right from its history to its present-day state.

Scandinavian Jewelry: A Brief History

The time of the Vikings was an important one in the history of Scandinavia, and needless to say, the Vikings also highly popularized very distinctive jewellery designs during their time. 

However, it wasn’t until the later part of the 19th century that the jewelry industry of this area came on its own. Until this time, the jewelry from all the three Scandinavian countries namely Denmark, Norway, and Sweden was highly influenced by the early Nordic traditions. Let us take a look at the history of Viking jewelry first.

Viking Jewellery

Right from gold to simple animal bones, a host of different materials were used for making the Viking Scandinavian jewellery. Not just women but men too loved wearing jewelry. Rings, brooches, necklaces, and bracelets were the commonly worn jewelry pieces by them. 

They made their own intricate jewellery in the form of necklaces, rings, bracelets, etc out of a variety of different materials. While the poor used bronze or animal bones to make their jewelry, the rich made use of precious silver or gold. 

The men were mostly known to wear a single brooch on their right shoulder whereas the women wore one on either of their shoulders in order to fasten their shawls. Their bracelets, rings, pendants, and other jewelry mostly had complex knotted designs and symbolic signs. Many of their ornaments featured images of animals, particularly those of snakes and their twisting shapes.

Wherever they went, the Vikings picked up the fashions from those countries and then used them in their own jewelry styles. At the beginning of the Viking era, the designs were relatively simple but as time went by, they became more sophisticated and intricate.

An interesting fact to note here is that the Vikings didn’t just wear jewelry to bring some glamour into their seemingly dark world. But in fact, the jewelry also had a secondary purpose which was of using it as currency in trade. That is also probably a reason why they preferred using precious materials to make their jewelry.

Necklaces

The Vikings commonly used gold, silver, natural fiber, and iron wired to craft their necklaces and they would be accompanied by pendants that were made from glass beads, precious stones, metallic charms, etc. The pendant designs were often the Nordic religious symbols, souvenirs, or gifts that held great importance to the wearer. 

Pendants

Right from the Mjolnir pendants to Valkunt pendants to Thor’s hammer, the Vikings wore a host of different pendant designs. They are also known to have amulets but whether they wore them isn’t exactly known.

Brooches

When we talk about the Scandinavian jewelry of the Vikings, we cannot leave brooches behind as they were immensely popular during their period. They were an essential jewelry piece commonly used for holding clothes in place. While their brooches came in an array of different styles, the oval brooches and penannular brooches were the most common. The Penannular brooches were exclusively worn by the men while the women wore the oval brooches. The women would wear them to fasten their dresses, aprons, or cloaks.

Rings

We also cannot miss out on rings when we talk about Scandinavian jewellery and especially, Viking jewelry. The finger rings that they wore were mostly open-ended and had an uneven width. While wearing rings was very common, they only became popular in the late-Viking ages.

Earrings

Earrings were actually pretty uncommon during the Viking era and probably the least common ornament that they wore. However, their earrings were quite intricate and they would be worn over the entire ear.

Arm Rings/ Bracelets

Arms rings or what we commonly know as bracelets were also very popular during those times. These bracelets or arm rings were a display of wealth and were also often used for commercial purposes. Right from gold and silver to animal bones, different materials were used to make them.

The Vikings didn’t just enjoy fashion but their fashion also came with a purpose. They didn’t just craft intricate ornaments for wearing them but they also served as currency in times of need. With a rich culture, the Vikings also left behind beautiful and unique Scandinavian jewelry that is celebrated and worn to date.

Scandinavian Jewellery – Denmark

Denmark is majorly known for its intricate and delicate silver and gold jewelry. Even though this jewelry has become quite trendy in recent years, it is deeply rooted in the country’s history. 

While the Copenhagen Guild of Goldsmiths was established in 1429, it was in 1746 when Queen Sophie Magdelene was crowned and gave the country’s jewelers a major lift. She started her own jewelry collection and specified that a collection of jewels always needs to be at the disposal of the sitting Queen.

That’s how the legacy of beautiful intricate jewelry in Denmark began and it has only flourished since. The country is known for its minimalist yet very elegant jewelry.

Intricate, minimalist yet sophisticated and trendy is what defines Danish jewelry the best. Today, there are several Danish jewelry houses that are immensely popular all over the world, including Pandora and Georg Jensen. 

Scandinavian Jewelry – Norway

The traditional Norwegian jewelry is known as ‘Solje’ (SOL-ya) which basically means shiny or sunny. These antique pieces are centuries old and back in the day, they were completely handmade using silver and other precious materials. 

The Solje pieces had interesting designs like that of a crown top or scalloped edge designs and tear-shaped drops would hang below these designs. These Solje pieces represented the sun and were usually worn on the collars or cuffs as brooches or pins. It was common for women to wear as many as three pieces of this jewelry at a time.

The Solje Scandinavian jewellery has now evolved and it can now be found in the form of earrings, necklaces as well as other pieces of jewelry. These jewelry pieces are often presented as gifts on birthdays, weddings as well as other special occasions.

The solje jewelry wasn’t just worn by women but also by men in order to buckle their shoes. 

Solje jewelry is still made in Norway to date and each heart and each flower is painstakingly made by hand turning the silver wires. Then, special silver drops are placed on it. Today, earrings, as well as pendants, are also made in this form of Scandinavian jewelry. 

Solje is the traditional jewelry of Norway that is usually worn on special occasions, holidays, or weddings. And this form of jewelry is majorly made from sterling silver.

Scandinavian Jewellery – Sweden

The material used for making Swedish jewelry has majorly been silver. 

Bridal crowns or tiaras have always been a huge thing in Sweden and the most spectacular part of wedding jewelry. The design of these crowns is majorly inspired by medieval royal origins and the crowns are often made of silver and then gilded.

Angel’s head with wings, leaf pendants, and other such motifs were commonly found on these crowns as well as on other traditional Swedish jewelry pieces. 

Sweden also has a rich tradition of unique ancient jewelry and some of its pieces included silver eyes, silver clasps, and gold and silver belts. 

Wealthy peasant families owned a lot of these ornaments and they would get passed down from generation to generation. The silver eyes would be kept nicely stored and came out only when a bride was to be dressed on her wedding. These ornaments go back to as early as medieval times but they attained the greatest development during the renaissance period. 

Another very common ornament was the clasp, which was majorly used for fastening a jacket or a cloak. Women as well as men also commonly used neck buttons in order to fasten their collars.

Rings, necklaces, belts, and other ornaments were worn only on festive or very special occasions. And also, much like the other ornaments, these ornaments also came out on weddings. A Swedish bride would be covered in silver ornaments from head to toe.

Scandinavian Jewelry Today

Now that we have an idea of the history of Scandinavian jewellery considering its different regions and eras, let us tell you about its present-day state.

Along with its rich history, the jewelry from Scandinavia is still very much in prominence today and has gained a lot of popularity. There are numerous Scandinavian design jewelry houses selling this kind of special jewelry worldwide. There are also numerous designers belonging to Scandinavia who have left their huge mark on the jewelry industry.

Top Scandinavian Jewellery Brands and Designers to look out for

1.Georg Jensen

A Danish designer, he opened his studio in Copenhagen in 1904. His jewelry was mostly influenced by natural forms of arts and crafts and his designs featured simple minimal silver designs. He also employed several other well-respected designers. Today, Georg Jensen is a very popular jewelry brand not just in Denmark but all over the world for beautiful Scandinavian jewelry.

2.Bjørg

Also founded by a Danish designer Bjørg Nordli-Mathisen, Bjørg is a household name when it comes to Scandinavian jewellery. For over a decade, the brand has been selling beautiful minimalistic yet elegant jewelry. Her earrings, necklaces, and other jewelry tell stories of something old and untold.

3.Sägen

A Swedish brand, Sägen is a very popular Nordic jewelry brand. The brand is the perfect mix of vintage blended with modern style. This brand by Elin Sigrén has fresh and unpredictable style that is also very versatile. The jewelry goes with a number of outfits as well as occasions.

4.Maria Black

Another Scandinavian jewelry designer to look out for is Maria Black. She is a Danish designer whose jewelry designs are minimalistic yet have a certain level of attitude in them. She believes in pushing the boundaries when it comes to jewelry and that has become her mantra.

5.Line & Jo

Line & Jo offers Nordic style sleek and simple jewelry pieces that also have a sculptural twist to them. The brand is known to set jewelry trends in Scandinavia that has brought another dimension to minimalism. Line & Jo is also a fantastic Scandinavian jewelry brand based in Denmark.

Apart from these 5 there are several brands as well as designers that are popular for their traditional Scandinavian jewellery designs.

Conclusion

Here, we told you about the history of Scandinavian jewellery along with its present day state. All in all, Scandinavian jewelry can be defined as something that is minimalistic, simple and yet highly elegant and sophisticated. Silver is the most commonly used metal when it comes to jewelry from this region.

On the other hand, the Viking jewelry from Scandinavia is known to be very bold and unique. While its style may be a lot different as compared to the traditional silver Scandinavian jewelry, both these jewelry types have a charm of their own. 

Over to You

Here, we talked about the 21 must-read books on jewellery. Which one of these 21 jewellery books are you the most excited to read?

In case you wish to buy some silver jewelery, head over to our jewelry section where you can buy rings, earrings, pendants, bangles & bracelets and necklaces.

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