Viking Arm Rings
Silver was the metal of commerce among the Danes*. While gold was prized and
used for ornamentation, silver was more available. Even after the Danes started
making their own coins they used silver bullion as a medium of exchange.
One method of transporting and storing silver was the Arm ring. While decorative, it could also be chopped up or hacked to pieces to purchase items. The practice was so wide spread the term “hack silver” is used to denote these fragments. One indication that the rings were more than decorative comes from Professor Dan Carlsson of Gotland University. Of over 400 arm rings found in Gotland none were in graves, all in hoards.
However, while the rings had a utilitarian value, they were also decorative. While molds and casting were undoubtedly used to make rings, many look as if they were decorated using punches.
*Danes is used as a catch all turn for the invaders from Scandinavia who came to England in the 9th-11th centuries.
Contact: EaldredSCA at AOL.com (Dawson Lewis, Pierre, SD)
Cuerdale Hoard photo with
pieces broken out
Combined Cuerdale and Red Wharf Bay arm rings photo (Word DOC)
Anglesy Red Wharf Beach armrings - 5 outstanding examples
More information can be found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/ahistoryoftheworld/objects/yKyLxd5PSUq44qnqNj43DQ while the information below was kindly provide by Mark Redknap of National Museum of Wales
Examples of armrings
Excellent example of shapes and designs:
Examples of punch work
Hack Silver Examples:
Cuerdale Hoard - Good examples of arm rings hacked for pieces.
And more Cuerdale
General info on Hack Silver with many links
Hoards from Gotland
Overviews of the role of silver in Viking life:
Reasons for hiding Viking Age hack silver hoards
A hoard of Hiberno-Viking arm-rings, probably from Scotland
The Viking-age silver and gold hoards of Scandinavian character from Scotland
TWO LARGE SILVER HOARDS FROM
OCKSARVE ON GOTLAND:
EVIDENCE FOR VIKING PERIOD TRADE AND WARFARE IN THE BALTIC REGION
TWO VIKING-AGE SILVER INGOTS FROM DITCHINGHAM AND
HINDRINGHAM, NORFOLK: THE FIRST EAST ANGLIAN INGOT FINDS
Making a Patina:
You can make your designs pop out by putting a dark patina in the grooves.
Making patina on silver
Another article with a formula for making your own
Metal Source for Pewter: