How to decorate turtle brooches

Turtle brooches were used by Viking women to secure their apron dresses/hangeroks while wearing them. However, they also had a decorative function as well as a second practical function. Viking women also used their turtle brooches as a place to hang some everyday items on, to have them close at hand.


Depending on your preference, you can keep your turtle brooches plain, decorate them a little bit or go all out and decorate them richly. 

Strings of beads

A very common way to decorate turtle brooches was by hanging strings of beads between them. You can attach only one string to your brooches, or three, or many more. In the Viking era, these beads were generally made of glass, amber and yet. Sometimes they were made of metals such as bronze or silver.


One way to attach these strings is by simply attaching them straight to the brooches, either by tying them to the pin or by tying the strings to a small ring and slip that on the pin.


If you want to attach multiple strings, you can also attach them to a jewelry divider and then attach the jewelry divider to the brooches.

Practical everyday objects

Contrary to their portrayal in most modern pop culture, Vikings cared a lot about personal hygiene. It was common for women to wear things like nail cleaners, ear spoons and small combs on their turtle brooches. 

Other everyday items they attached to their brooches were things as small knives, keys, sewing equipment, tweezers, etc. 

These items could either be hanged directly from the brooch on a chain which ended in a small hook. Or by attaching those chains to a jewelry divider and attaching the divider to one of the brooches. 


Check out our turtle brooches here.

You can find our personal hygiene items here.

And our historical sewing supplies here.