To the question of how old Sami history really is, there is no real answer. People say that it goes back to the beginning of our era, but some say that the Sami have been around since the Ice Age. No matter what is true, we can conclude that their interesting culture and history has been around for a while. Since the Sami have lived up north, in Sweden, Finland and Norway, as well as on the Kola Peninsula in Russia, these people have lived tough lives in the cold. Up here, the Sami have lived in a hunting and gathering culture for a long time and they have also been involved in reindeer herding, a fact that has left its mark on their crafts. Sami jewelry is often made of reindeer leather, but also silver. A lot of silver is used because the Sami people used the barter system during medieval times. They were happy to trade leather for silver.
Not only does Sami jewelry shine bright in silver, but many of the traditional Sami costumes have also incorporated this shiny metal.
Sami jewelry and its history
A very long time ago, the Sami people were hunters, but in the Middle Ages, this culture was pushed away and they started to spend more and more time caring for reindeer. As time went by the Sami people started using the barter system, as mentioned above, and they traded their reindeer skin for silver. They were very good at making jewelry and the silver pieces often had a very strong meaning. One of the reasons why Sami people started to make jewelry was because it was very practical. The Samis often moved, and they needed to be able to carry their things with them. By making jewelry with the silver they could carry their “money” on their bodies.
Common Sami jewelry
The Sami have manufactured jewelry for hundreds of years, but over time some have stood out more than others, and these pieces have become more common. One of them is the Sami bracelet. These are characterized by a thin strap of reindeer leather that has been decorated with tin or silver wire. The Sami bracelets are available in several colors, but are often made in natural brown. Another common Sami jewelry is the silver buckle which Sami women used to keep their scarf stuck to their suit. The traditional pin is called Risku and has a circular shape. When it comes to ordinary Sami jewelry you can quickly see a common factor – the materials. Since the Sami made jewelry using very few tools it is usually made of natural materials such as leather, horns or bones. Silver was also used quite frequently, as the Sami accepted it as payment.