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In Norse mythology 'Mjölnir' was the name given to the hammer which was wielded by Thor, the god of thunder. The name roughly translates as 'crusher' from old norse.
Historically accurate replica of a Mjolnir pendant found in Erikstorp
It was said to have been made by two dwarven brothers; Elitri and Brokkr. The story says that in his mischievousness Thor's brother, Loki, cut the hair of Sif, Thor's wife. Obviously this angered him greatly and to avoid a beating Loki promises to find a new and superior head of hair for her.
Loki then went to two drawven brothers in Svartalfheim and tasked them with making a new head of hair. They made the hair for Loki, along with the great ship, Skidbladnir, and the lethal spear, Gungnir. However Loki was not finished with his mischief and he recruited two other dwarves to see if they could out do the original pair. The second group of dwarves, Elitri and Brokkr, created a boar with beautiful flowing hair. They also created Draupnir, a golden ring which multiplied to 8 rings every 9 days (thought to be on of the many Norse influences on Tolkeins Lord of the Rings universe) and finally, Mjolnir. In the Edda it says that while the hammer was made Loki turned into a fly and bit one of the dwarves causing blood to run into his eye, this lead to a mistake in the manufacturing and mjolnir being made with its iconic short handle.
Mjolnir is often described in Norse sagas as being the most powerful and fearsome weapon in existence, capable of destroying entire mountain ranges. It granted Thor the power to summon lightning and always came back to him when he threw it.
Mjolnir necklace that was found in Bredsättra, Sweden picture from Nordisk familjebok
Mjolnir was a common symbol amongst the North germanic peoples often being used in jewelry to symbolise protection for the wearer. It was even carved above doorways to provide protection against harsh storms.
A more modern adaptation of the traditional Mjolnir Design
Over 50 different Mjölnir pendants have been found at Viking graves in Scandinavia and England, most are estimated to have been used from the 9th century to the 11th century AD. It was thought that they became particuarly popular when Christianity was spreading throughout northern Europe, and people would wear them as a sign of defiance against the newly converted Christians.
The symbol is still widely used today in the modern Norse community and those practicing the Asatru faith. There are many depictions of Mjolnir in the modern day on jewelry, T-Shirts and in various Metal bands.
Thanks for reading, we hope you learned something new about the history of one of Norse Mythology's most important symbols. If you have any questions or have anything to add please leave us a comment below.
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