Fierce giants, sea kings, blood eagles, heroes with names like Blood Axe and Skull Splitter- for fans of the Viking era, the Orkneyinga Saga has it all.
The saga, written in around 1230 by an anonymous Icelandic author, opens in 9th century Orkney, as the Norse occupy, and then conquer the islands that are now part of Scotland, and establish the powerful Earldom. A fascinating fusion of myth and history, it is the only medieval text set in Orkney, and as such, quite important.
Not for the squeamish, the Saga gives an intriguing look into early Middle Ages society, when violence ruled the day, and honour was won through battle. Sigurd the Powerful, St Magnus the Martyr, Harald Finehair and Hrolf the Walker lead a cast of colourful characters in these tales of murder, war, lovers on the run, sorcery and family feuds that, indeed, give George R.R. Martin a run for his money!
The legacy of Orkney’s Norse past can still be felt in the culture and even the DNA of the islanders. For example, on the island of Westray, where our founder, master craftsman Steven, was born, has one of the highest concentrations of Norse DNA in Scotland. Steven’s Norse heritage shines through our jewelery collections inspired by the legends and symbolism of the Viking era.
One of the themes of the Saga is nature, and how the gods and humans interact with the outdoors. Ýdalir, meaning “Yew Dales” is the forest home of the Norse god Ullr, the inspiration for our classic silver kilt pin and cufflinks. Ullr is associated with snow sports- the perfect accessory for the skier or snow boarder in your life. Or, seal your love with our Odin Stone silver pendant, designed by Theresa Shearer to celebrate one of Orkney’s ancient monuments. Until the 19th century, young couples held hands through a gap in this stone, one of the ancient Stones of Stenness, to pledge their love vows, so that Odin himself would bless their union.
According to tradition, Norse runic inscriptions are infused with mystical power. The Orkneyinga Saga tells the famous story of a group of Viking warriors who took shelter in Maeshowe tomb, where they carved runes into the walls.
You can evoke the magic of the runes every day with our rings, bangles, pendants and charms featuring runic carvings. Our most popular for couples are the “Health and Happiness” wedding bands for him and her. Or we can custom make your own message, whether you want to channel your Scottish or Norse heritage, or simply celebrate the adventure and romance of the Orkneyinga sagas.