If you had gone into a shop 40 years ago to purchase beads to string onto your long beard, you definitely would have gotten the side-eye from the shopkeeper. Lucky for us, we live in an era where all things Viking are making a comeback, including Viking beard beads (a.k.a. beard rings).

But here’s the real question: Did Vikings actually wear beard jewellery?

Considering how little we actually know about Vikings (as they left us very little written history), it’s possible, but not proven beyond a doubt. There is some circumstantial evidence from burial sites that suggests Vikings may have adorned their beards with metal rings, but a Viking burial site usually contains many pieces of jewelry that are difficult to place in terms of designated body part. Typically, remains from this era aren’t very well preserved, so trinkets could have worked themselves onto beards over time.

The writings of travelers who witnessed Germanic tribal and Anglo Saxon culture have noted that trinkets were sometimes woven into beards, but it’s not clear if these were Vikings or one of their contemporaries.

Viking Beard Beads in pop culture

Where Vikings are concerned, people have taken gaps in knowledge to fill in their own cultural interpretations, and our perceptions of Vikings today definitely include things like beard jewellery. It may not be as incorrect as believing Vikings had horned helms, but it may not be all that correct, either.

In any case, it’s part of our current Viking aesthetic, it’s easy to do, and it shows off how great your beard is. Trust us, these beads are definitely not for ladies.

viking beard beads jarl borg

When you can’t stop staring at Jarl Borg’s awesome beard

Let’s talk about The History Channel’s Vikings for a second. There are a lot of interesting things going on with costuming and hairstyles on that show, which they admit are partially derived from real life and partially inspired by modern trends, like Lagartha’s punk rock fauxhawk.

He may have been a little insane, but Jarl Borg definitely wins best beard (and, incidentally, the best death) on HC’s Vikings, which is really saying something for a show where almost every character has an amazing beard. 

The runner up for best beard on HC’s Vikings is definitely Leif , who’s beard held an interesting collection of eclectic baubles that somehow managed to make him look even more masculine.

Another epic saga where beard jewellery should get a mention in the credits is the Hobbit Trilogy. I know, I know, dwarves are not Vikings, but much of the fictional Dwarven cultural traditions seem to have been borrowed from Germanic tribal culture. Plus, if you’re not gonna use a Viking as beard inspiration, these dwarves are probably the next best thing, as their large full beards are in some cases as long as their entire bodies.

Viking beard beads dwarves

How to use Viking Beard Beads

Usually a beard bead and a beard braid go hand in hand (say that five times fast), which means when your beard is long enough to braid, it’s long enough to use a beard ring. This is another reason why beard rings are so awesome: they’re a measure of how adept you are at growing a long, full beard.

Some men with long beards braid their beards every night, so they’ve already become great at their braiding technique, which is something you’ll need to teach yourself. It’s important to braid your beard hair a bit loosely and not tightly, as a braid that’s too tight will damage and tangle your beard. It’s also important to take the braids out every other day or so and rebraid to allow for new growth, and to let the braided section rest.

Keep in mind that any part of your beard that’s braided will have be wavy for a day or two after it’s been un braided.

Get Your own Set of Beard Runes

A complete viking hair bead set containing 24 pieces, each with a unique rune. Perfect to decorate your beard or hair the classic viking way. Delivered Free of charge to any UK address. Get Yours Today for just £22.95 which is less than £1 per rune!