You might know the Vikings for their prowess in battle, but they left behind them a vast amount of beautiful jewellery.

Both men and women would adorn themselves with bracelets, amulets, brooches and rings for battle, special occasions and the everyday. These items were not only a way of showing off the spoils of war or conquest, they also showed religious and familial devotions. The addition of runes might be part of the decoration but also could have a personal meaning to the original owner.

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c. 8th-12th century AD. Viking. Lovely silver ring with a decorated band and a diamond shaped area containing four cross patterns surrounded by a striated border. Wearable. Jewellery was an important part of viking culture, for men and women alike. Contrary to modern ideas of vikings, historical chroniclers like English monk John of Wallingford recorded that the Vikings took great interest in their physical appearance. Moreover, jewellery was used as a status indicator, so precious materials and elaborate designs were favoured.

Size: D: 17.75mm / US: 7 1/2 / UK: P; 3g

Provenance: Private London collection, formed in the 1980-90s on the UK and European art market.

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