Jewelry collection

Loren Nicole’s 22k Gold Viking Jewelry Collection Sails Into Summer


Working 22 karat gold to produce jewelry that embodies the cultural essence of lost civilizations such as Pharaonic Egypt and the 6th century Korean Kingdom of Silla, Loren Teetelli presents its latest luxury Loren Nicole jewelry collection, which is inspired by the Vikings. From the end of the 8th century to the 11th century, pagan Danes, Norwegians and Swedes sailed south in their longboats to carry out hit-and-run raids along European coasts, seize new territories and subjugate the inhabitants . As the Viking hordes daringly disrupted European history, their artisans produced rings, brooches, bracelets and necklaces to spread clan alliances, assert their strength, and invoke protection from pagan deities like Thor, the god of the thunder and war. While most Vikings wore bronze, pewter, or animal bone jewelry, the one percent wore precious ornaments in silver and gold.

Teetelli’s Viking Trove collection, like its previous ranges, shares parallels with that of the 19e century neoclassical jeweler Fortunato Pio Castellani. This Roman master silversmith has dedicated his life to reproducing labor-intensive and extremely elegant jewelry-making techniques, such as Etruscan granulation. After being buried with the Etruscans, the granulation first caught Castellani’s attention when archaeologists of his time began unearthing treasures from Etruscan sites. Fascinated by the aesthetics and masterful craftsmanship of these pieces from the past, Castellani exhibited and explained the glories of Etruscan jewelry design and manufacturing methods to journalists, his loyal customers and tourists who walked around his shop. In the 21st century, Loren Teetelli continues the Castellani tradition of creating contemporary jewelry that embodies irresistibly elegant interpretations of archaic jewelry. This writer interviewed the Southern California goldsmith via email as his Viking Trove hit the market.

Kyle Roderick: The Vikings sailed the oceans and rivers of Europe for trade, raids and territorial conquest. What prompted you to create a 50 coin collection instead of a 30 coin collection in their civilization? It’s such an important endeavor to create 50 pieces.

Loren Teetelli: I created so many pieces because I felt compelled to explore certain themes, patterns and techniques and had some design ideas that I wanted to complement. Making one piece, like amulets or orbs, would organically lead to making another piece and by the time I was done I had over 50 pieces. I had no intention of doing the same. I thought it would be around 20-30 pieces, but in the end more than 50 pieces came off my bench.

KR: The Viking Age followed the Germanic Iron Age and extended from around 793 to 1066. Most of the jewelry they wore was bronze and silver. How would you characterize the jewelry design and craftsmanship of the early Viking period compared to the artistry and technical finesse embodied in their jewelry of the last days? Are there any notable differences that you can comment on?

LT: Although the collection is Viking inspired, like all of my designs, I try to capture the essence of a civilization’s aesthetic. I am not recreating exact patterns. I started researching Viking jewelry and came out with some pictures that resonated with me. I was focused on certain design ideas as opposed to a period of time. For example, there is a shape of a buckle that appears in many of my Viking pieces, from a bracelet to an earring.

KR: How many months of work did it take to design and handcraft the Viking Trove?

LT: I started thinking about it and designing in 2019, and started making parts in October 2019. So it took 2 years in total and 1 1/2 years of bench work. I make each piece entirely by hand. I don’t have a team of craftsmen working for me.

KR: The fact that you make by hand every Loren Nicole piece of jewelry makes your work more valuable, in my opinion. What are your favorite museum collections of Viking jewelry?

LT: that of London English museum has an extraordinary collection of Viking jewelry, including Sutton Hoo, which I return to time and time again.

KR: I see what you mean. It must have been incredible for the archaeologists who discovered Sutton Hoo in Suffolk in 1939. As the richest intact medieval tomb in Europe, Sutton Hoo is a long Viking ship measuring 27 m (88.6 ft). This boat must have been dragged to shore from the nearby river, and its burial chamber glistened with beautiful goblets, hanging bowls, and silverware from the Byzantine Empire. Besides the famous human masked Sutton Hoo helmet, archaeologists have also found gold accessories set with Sri Lankan garnets. Another phenomenal museum collection of Viking jewelry and other artifacts is the University of Oslo Museum of Cultural History in Norway.

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