Although early humans settled the region by at least the 3rd millennium BCE, the Vikings in Scotland didn’t arrive until the end of the 8th century AD. The ancient monastery of Iona first records a Nordic invasion in 795. This and later raiding parties struck the islands’ coasts, plundering wealth and natural resources. For four hundred years they mingled, often violently, with the Picts, Scots, Britons, and Angles of early Scotland. Over time, these sporadic attacks evolved into more peaceful migration as a release for over-population.
Over time, the Viking invaders cohabitated with the early Scottish tribes, blending their cultures and customs. While Scotland appeared similar to the Norse homelands, there were important distinctions. For example, a lack of suitable forests in their new homeland tempered the Nordic fondness for carved wood. Instead, the Vikings learned the finer points of working with stone from the native Picts. Other resources — like turf, grasses, driftwood, and peat — became the new staples in their settlements and buildings.
By 1098, Norse control focused in the Norðr-eyjar (North Isles) of Orkney and Shetland and the Suðr-eyjar (South Isles) of the Isle of Man and the Hebrides. In that year, Scotland’s King Eagar formally signed over the regions to the king of Norway. In 1263, Viking King Haakon IV wanted to flex his control over the Scots, leading to the Battle of Largs. The Vikings were soundly defeated and subsequently retreated, marking the last Norse raid on the Scottish homeland.
Today, the influence of the Vikings in Scotland lingers. Common themes in language, arts, folklore, and tradition flourish on both sides of the North Sea. Many of the motifs we incorporate into our silver jewelry celebrate this blended legacy. Celtic knots and abstract thistles juxtapose with Viking-inspired wood-cut designs and figures of myth.
This month we’ve been hard at work on our stunning new selection of Nordic-inspired rings, cuffs, earrings, and pendants — that perfect something special for your Viking Valentine. Of course, you can also choose from our stainless-steel Viking gear, as well as an expanded selection of Scandinavian-inspired hair pins in pewter and silver wash.