The Mythology Behind Norse Jewelry Symbols and Designs

• May 2, 2023

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Jewelry form an integral part of defining our beauty.
Various kinds of jewelry are available for our use. Often, you’ll notice the trend of people, more especially the celebrities, wearing Norse jewelry.

Have you ever wondered why they are so popular? Well, we’ll look into that together with a keen interest in detailing their characteristics.

About Norse Jewelry

Norse jewelry can be traced back to the medieval North Germanic ethnolinguistic group.

The history of how the warriors, raiders, and navigators of the Norse world, also called Vikings, is still of interest to many people.

The common history among the Viking tribes is that they had jewelry. Therefore, Norse jewelry is as old as the Viking tribes.

The Role of Jewelry in Viking History

It is not a secret that Vikings had a great love for their jewelry and would adorn everything with it.

To show how they valued their jewelry, the craftsmen in charge of creating these pieces of jewelry were paid handsomely.
They also received adoration from the public.

After receiving their jewelry, the Vikings would use them for decoration in different places like clothing, weapons, longboats, and houses.

During the decoration, some jewelry would be broken. Such pieces would be used for payments.

Personal jewelry had various roles among the Vikings as explained here:

Used as rewards

Loyal subjects were rewarded with Norse jewelry. They could have been in form of rings and brooches.

They spoke a special language of reward, which was used to encourage good deeds to the ruler. Using Norse jewelry as a form of reward was a sign of a great ruler.

The rewards were not the same for all people.
The rich received their jewelry create from gold and silver while the poor had their created from bronze or bones of animals.
Regardless of the element used, it was prestigious to be awarded Viking jewelry.

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Symbols of status and protection

Historically, the jewels were used to show courage amongst the Vikings.
It was also a source of honor to tribal customs, political alignment, and lineage.
Some of the Norse jewelry had symbols of power represented by creatures like dragons, wolves, and other mystical beings and beasts.
The jewelry could also be used for protection when worn around the necks of the Vikings.

Used as Gifts

Unique Characteristics of Norse Jewelry

Norse jewelry has various forms of symbolism, thus, contains unique characteristics that define it.
Here are three basic characteristics that would help you identify Norse jewelry.

  1. They are very ornate

By nature, pieces of Norse jewelry are complex. They have various designs, motifs, emblems, and patterns.

You will realize that all the complex designs have mystical meanings. The meanings were derived from the Vikings.

Even after the end of the Viking Age, the descendants of Vikings somewhat used the ornate designs of Viking jewelry and their new tribe’s designs.

The result was a hybrid form of Norse or Viking jewelry.
They are quite common in the modern world where craftsmen are trying to recreate the ornate designs merged with modern jewelry designs.

It is worth examining this trait as you look for unique Norse jewelry in a jewelry shop.

To understand the complexity of Norse jewelry, you’ll need a knowledgeable seller who can explain the origin of the design that you are seeking to buy.

  1. Have many symbols

If you are into symbols in jewelry, then Norse jewelry opens up a whole opportunity for you to explore various symbols.
They had many symbols that told their incredible tales, which were passed from generation to generation.

The tradition of storytelling kept these tales alive and people could associate with the symbols.

Each symbol used in Viking and Norse jewelry has a unique meaning.

When planning to buy your Norse jewelry, it is important that you understand the meaning of the symbol it holds.

It could be significant to you if you are planning to gift someone. Here are some symbols that you might consider:

Ravens: In real life, we associate ravens with mystery, fear, or death.

However, their significance in the old Norse world is quite different from what we perceive ravens to represent.

In the old Norse world, they were the eyes and ears of the god, thus, very far from representing impending danger. So, in a Norse jewelry, ravens represent wisdom and divine presence.

Wolves: A wolf was used to represent strength, independence, and loyalty. Therefore, a piece of jewelry with a wolf could go away to cement this statement.

Yggdrasil, the World Tree: This symbol represents a profound icon of connection. If you gift someone a piece of Norse jewelry with a tree-shaped symbol, it would mean that you are connected to them or you are telling that that you are seeking a connection with them.

These are just a few of the symbols that were present at the time. You can ask your retailer to explain other symbols that you are interested in before you buy Norse jewelry.

  1. They are made from precious metal

In the old Norse world, jewelry was made from precious metals. Bronze was the most popular metal available in old Scandinavia. However, after trading activities started, Viking artisans got silver and gold. They were used to improve the quality of the ornaments.

Today, stainless steel is used to make Viking jewelry. This metal works to mimic the quality and sheen of old Norse jewelry.

In modern times, people use Norse jewelry for its profound symbolism. Therefore, you might not be able to afford hold or silver Norse jewelry but the stainless steel works perfectly as gifts to loved ones.


Now that you know the main characteristics of Norse jewelry, you can confidently purchase a piece and use it symbolically.

Jewelry from the Ancient Norse culture has intrigued collectors and admirers for centuries.

Not only are its symbols and designs beautiful to behold, but many of them stem from powerful stories of gods, goddesses, legendary creatures, and epic tales passed down through generations.

So if you’ve ever felt drawn to a mysterious dragon-shaped bracelet or curious about an intricate knotwork pendant, you may be surprised to learn that these pieces tell much deeper stories than just pretty ornamentation.

Let’s dive deeper into some of the most common Norse jewelry symbols and designs, exploring the legends behind each one, so you can appreciate exactly why these items have been so beloved and cherished for centuries.

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Thor, God of Thunder and Strength

Thor is a powerful deity in Norse mythology and one of the closest figures to Asgard, the realm of the gods. His father is Odin, the supreme ruler of Asgard, and his mother is Jord, the earth goddess.

He is the god of thunder and strength and the protector of all living creatures on earth.

Thor is most widely known for his Mjolnir hammer, which has the power to control lightning bolts and is a symbol of his strength and courage.

He wears an iron gauntlet known as Jhem, which enables him to wield his mighty hammer, and it also provides extra protection when fighting his archenemies.

Thor also has a magical chariot pulled by two separate goats: Tooth Gnasher and Tooth Grinder.

Thor’s main enemy is the Midgard Serpent, a gigantic creature that lies beneath the ocean and continually tries to destroy all of Asgard’s creatures.

Thor wields his hammer and slays the Serpent, thus protecting the people of Asgard.

Thor is also a symbol of storms and fertility; rain is believed to bring good luck and fertility among crops and livestock.

Thor also had an important role in Viking funerals, where he was asked to protect them in death.

Norse jewelry often incorporates symbols and designs that are derived from mythology, especially that of Thor.

Many designs represent his hammer, Mjolnir, which is often shown as a triangle with a loop on top.

Other jewelry often features Thor’s chariot, the two goats that pull it, and the Iron Gauntlet, Jhem.

Thor is a symbol of protection, strength, fertility, and courage, all qualities often represented in Norse jewelry.

People usually wear pieces depicting Thor as a reminder of his power and also as a form of protection from evil.

Thor remains an essential symbol in Norse mythology and is popularly featured in jewelry as a result.

Freya, Goddess of Love, Fertility, and War

In Norse mythology, Freya (“Lady”) is the Goddess of Love, Fertility, and War.

According to the Poetic Edda, she is the daughter of Njord and sister to Frey. She is associated with beauty and sexuality, as well as with death, magic, and wealth.

Freya is one of the most important members of the Vanir, a clan of Gods and Goddesses renowned for their wisdom.

She is a powerful adept of Seidr, a form of Norse shamanic magic, which allows her to shape-shift into a falcon.

Freya is an avid lover of gold and precious gems and is particularly renowned for her power to make Skalds sing in her honor.

She is also known for her ability to weep tears of gold, making her quite the desirable figure in society.

Freya is a multi-faceted figure in Norse mythology due to the mix of powers she wields.

But no matter her role, she is undeniably beautiful, with long, golden hair, voluptuous curves, and a captivatingly brilliant mind.

She is also often associated with birds, as well as cats, which are considered sacred animals in Viking culture.

In her association with fertility, Freya governs over both earthly and spiritual realms. Her presence is thought to bestow bountiful harvests, safe pregnancies, and healthy childbirths.

Indeed, Freya is described in the Poetic Edda as the “Lady of Abundance.” She is also believed to bring success in battle, bestowing warriors with courage and strength.

Due to her wide-reaching powers, Freya is often depicted in Norse mythology jewelry. This includes amulets, necklaces, and rings featuring birds and cats, as well as flower and star designs.

Amulets are meant to bring Freya’s blessing, protection, and love, while rings of Freya typically feature knotwork motifs that symbolize life’s endless cycle.

The Algiz Rune, Representing Protection, Guidance, and Help

The Algiz rune, one of the ancient runes of the Norse alphabet, is said to symbolize protection, guidance, and help.

In Norse mythology, the rune is believed to bring good fortune and a sense of security to those who wear it.

It is often seen as a symbol of protection against evil and a reminder of the forces of nature.

The Algiz rune represents the cycle of life and death, protection, and relationships. In the Norse universe, the gods and goddesses use the runes to communicate with each other and with their chosen people.

In Norse mythology, the Algiz rune is believed to activate the powers of the gods and protect the wearer from danger.

The name Algiz is derived from the Proto-Germanic “algiz” meaning “protection.”

The Algiz rune is often depicted with two horns pointing downwards, symbolizing the protective shield of the gods.

This symbol is thought to represent the cosmic forces of nature, protecting and guarding people against evil.

Furthermore, it is thought that Algiz rune symbolizes the sun and moon cycles.

This rune brings balance to chaotic situations as a reminder of our connection with nature, gods, and life.

It also speaks to death’s omnipresence in life, an essential part of existence that can never be forgotten.

The Algiz rune is often seen in Norse jewelry designs and artwork.

Jewelry pieces bearing the rune have been made of gold, silver, and bronze and worn by warriors and chieftains of the Viking Age.

The rune is also often seen in mead hall decorations and on shields and clothing.

In this way, the rune serves as a reminder of the gods’ protective presence and help.

The Algiz rune symbolizes protection, guidance, and help and is a powerful symbol in Norse mythology.

This rune is often seen in jewelry designs, artwork, and decorations and is believed to bring protection and order in chaotic times.

The Algiz rune is a reminder of the gods’ power and is thought to bring security and good fortune to those who wear it.

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Valhalla, Hall of the Fallen Heroes

Valhalla, or the Hall of the Fallen Heroes, is a concept that comes from Norse mythology.

It is one of the Nine Worlds in Norse cosmology, found at the highest level of Asgard, the realm of the gods.

It is ruled by Odin, the King of the Gods, who chooses the bravest warriors to join him in the halls of Valhalla.

The warriors he chooses are known as the Einherjar and are said to have died valiantly in battle.

Valhalla is a majestic and wondrous place, described as having a roof made of golden shields and majestic white walls.

Within its walls are 540 doors, each one leading to 800 different rooms, and within these rooms are feasting halls where the Einherjar feast with Odin each night.

Valhalla is also said to be the final resting place of the great heroes that have fought in the final battle of Ragnarök.

It is a place of eternal glory and honor, where those who have died in battle are rewarded with immortality and gain entrance to Odin’s hall.

The warriors will continue to fight in battle and compete in contests, but they will never know defeat because of their newfound immortality.

In terms of Norse jewelry, Valhalla is often symbolized by the symbol of a Viking longship, which is thought to be the vessel that carries the fallen heroes to Odin’s hall.

It can also be seen as a symbol of courage and strength and is often used to honor those who have fought in the battles of Ragnarök.

Another popular symbol associated with the hall is the Valknut, which is said to represent Odin’s power and dominion over the dead.

Valhalla is a powerful symbol in Norse mythology and culture and is often used to commemorate the brave warriors who passed away in battle.

It is a place of great honor and respect, and its presence in jewelry is a way of honoring those who have given their lives in the service of their people.

Valknut, Symbol of Odin's Protective Power

The Valknut, also known as the Hrungnir’s Heart, is perhaps one of the most mysterious and powerful Nordic symbols.

It is often represented by three overlapping triangles and is believed to be associated with Odin, the god of war, battle, and death.

As such, it is known as a symbol of Odin’s protective power and is frequently used to ward off malicious forces.

The origins of the Valknut symbol are uncertain, although it has been found to appear on several archaeological artifacts, including Scandinavian burial sites and rune stones.

Some scholars suggest that the symbol is connected to the Norse myth cycle – specifically, to Odin and the Valkyries.

According to legend, Odin would send the Valkyries to chosen battlefields to pick slain warriors for admission to Valhalla, the afterlife for warriors.

Those chosen warriors were known as “Odin’s chosen.” Thus, the Valknut may represent Odin’s protective power over these chosen warriors.

The Valknut is also often associated with Odin’s two ravens, Hugin and Munin, and is believed to be a reminder of Odin’s wisdom and knowledge.

It is a symbol of critical thought and spiritual transformation, as reflected in Odin’s search for enlightenment in his quest for knowledge and power.

The Valknut is not exclusive to Odin, however.

It is believed to be associated with Freya, the Norse goddess of love and fertility, as well as with the hunt, and the Vanir, one of the races of gods and goddesses.

In addition, the Valknut is seen as a symbol of self-transformation and the pursuit of knowledge, much like Odin.

The Valknut is also thought to be connected to Nordic cosmology, as reflected in the nine points of the creature, which is believed to reflect the nine realms of the cosmos.

In this way, the Valknut can be seen as a representation of the mysteries of the universe and its many interconnected aspects.

No matter what the symbolism of the Valknut is, it is undeniably a powerful symbol in Nordic mythology and culture.

It represents Odin’s protective power and his search for knowledge, as well as a symbol of self-transformation and the pursuit of knowledge.

It is also thought to be a reflection of the mysteries of the cosmos and has been used as an effective protection against malicious forces.


Norse jewelry symbols and designs are full of meaning and symbolism.

They make great gifts, as they are deeply embedded with meaning and represent the courage and strength of their Norse origins.

The uniqueness of each symbol and design makes these pieces truly special and meaningful.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a gift for yourself or for someone else – Norse jewelry symbols and designs will remind the wearer of their strength, courage, and power.


How can I identify authentic Norse jewelry?

Authentic Norse jewelry is some of the most sought-after and venerated pieces of jewelry on the market today, due to its historical significance and beauty. In order to identify whether a given piece is authentic Norse jewelry, there are several criteria one should keep an eye out for.

First off, look at the material of which the piece is made. Traditionally, authentic Norse jewelry was crafted from silver or bronze. If you come across a piece that looks as if it may be made from other materials like steel or gold plating, then chances are it is not authentically Norse in origin. Similarly, having stones set in any given design can be an indication that it isn’t truly a genuine article either as pure silver and bronze lacked color options in comparison to what could be produced with gemstones and enameled finishes nowadays.

Additionally, another important detail when determining authenticity is to consider the artistry behind its design elements. Traditional Norse designs often featured intricate details such as knotwork weaving around animals or geometric symbols known as “vegvísir” – which functioned almost like ancient reference points symbolizing things like protection against danger or guidance for those who wore them throughout their travels and everyday life experiences – so pay close attention these more unique features when evaluating a potential artifact’s authenticity level.

Finally – if you’re still unsure – perform your due diligence by researching reputable sellers online that specialize in selling authentic pieces of Norse jewelry; they should be able to provide more definitive answers to any questions you may have regarding this topic than those provided here within this answer alone!

Yes, special care must be taken to ensure that your Norse jewelry stays looking its best. It is important to remember to store your jewelry in a safe, dry place away from humidity or direct sunlight and never store them on top of another piece of metal as this can cause scratches. Additionally, it is essential to avoid getting any kind of oils and cosmetics on any Norse jewelry pieces as this can cause damage.

If you want to clean the jewellery yourself it’s best not to use liquid solutions or abrasive materials such as steel wool which could scratch the surface and dull its finish. Instead, using a soft cotton cloth, you should gently rub away dirt or dust with warm water before drying off with a lint-free cloth designed for cleaning silverware. If more intense cleaning is required then soapy water can be used but make sure all soap residue has been removed before leaving it somewhere for air-drying.

Finally, there are certain types of gemstones such as opals that require additional protection and attention – so take extra care when wearing these naturally fragile stones in particular!

Wearing Norse jewelry is an ancient tradition that has come to symbolize many different things throughout history and even today. For thousands of years, these beautiful pieces have been used for a variety of ceremonial and symbolic reasons.

Beginning in the Viking age, Norse jewelry was decorated with powerful symbols inspired by Norse mythology such as Thor’s hammer, Freya’s cats, Odin’s ravens, vörðr runes (Norse rune signs), Yggdrasil trees (the tree of life), dragon and snake designs representing Jörmungandr (the world serpent) and more. These symbols were thought to protect the wearer from harm while also providing guidance on their journey through life.

The design of much traditional jewelry takes its inspiration from Nordic art dating back before Viking times when bronze objects were often adorned with animal figures or abstract patterns known as ornamentation style IIb or Urnes Style which is characterized by thin elongated animals connected in pairs or chainlike motifs with intertwined curves or S-shapes. This style originates from northern Europe but can also be found further south into Germany where it took on a slightly altered form called Ringerike Style which includes plant elements like tendrils leaves and roots among other shapes beautifully crafted into unique pieces often linked together into intricate necklaces bracelets hoops earrings brooches rings amulets etc..

Furthermore Norse symbolism continues to have an impact today not just through jewelry but in all sorts of ways including tattoos fashion books movies video games and more – allowing us to connect further still with this long lost culture while holding dear the values they cherished so deeply – courage honor strength unity wisdom loyalty perseverance knowledge compassion freedom and justice among others!

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