That’s Khal Drogo from The Game of Thrones, aka. Jason Momoa. And if you look closely at his facial hair, you can see that there are two beard beads attached to it (seriously, you can’t miss them).
“Eww, beard jewelry? Are you serious dude… Real men don’t wear stuff like that…”
Well, fair point. I have never worn any beard rings myself – not because my masculinity would be so fragile that it would scare me – but because I never keep my beard long enough (I tend to sport a Garibaldi beard style) to make the beads look reasonable at all.
At this day and age, beard jewelry could be easily labeled as something that bearded hipsters would try pulling off.
In reality, however, beard rings and beads are (and were) worn by:
- Old-school dudes with really long beards.
- Outlaw motorcycle club members with really long beards.
- Scandinavian Vikings who raided the holy lands and England.
- Egyptian Pharaoh’s who wore beard jewelry or gold plated fake beards.
If you look back into the history of facial hair jewelry, you may find that there’s nothing emasculating about them at all, quite the opposite in fact.
What Even is Beard Jewelry
Let’s leave out the “modern style” jewelry which most people agree – look quite ridiculous, and focus on the much more manly and historically interesting kinds instead.
Those are the “original” beard beads and rings, which were made famous by the real Vikings of Scandinavia – and later on, made popular again by the partly fictional hit-series; The Vikings.
Although Vikings left behind barely any written history, researchers have found several ancient burial sites scattered around Scandinavia, which contained neatly organized rows of beads and rings, likely used to decorate their facial hair.
After the Vikings, some Germanic tribes were also known for using plates of metal in their beards, along with rings, beads, and even pieces of leather.
Maybe this brief mention in history allows you to shed those stereotypes of beard trinkets being uber-unmasculine, or maybe not, either is fine for us.
Best Beard Beads & Rings in 2020
This metal alloy Viking Beard Bead Set from Norse Tradesman holds in 24 pieces.
With larger holes (9mm) than most of their competitors, these beard rings can be significantly easier to attach into your facial hair.
The beads are also not too heavy so that they would pull the beard down and feel uncomfortable, each trinket is just six grams in weight.
The design is rugged and unpolished, as it should be, and the design features all the Elder Futhark runes, which are considered to be the ancient alphabets that ancient European tribes (including the Vikings) have used.
If you have a really long beard that you’d like to design with some Viking-like beads, these would be my recommendation.
As a runner-up, we have Coob’s unique hand-crafted facial hair beads, which are considerably more expensive than the rune ones above, but still, worth the buy if you find a cool design.
They are sold as one bead per purchase, and you can choose from 45 different – carefully manufactured – designs, including various bearded skulls, Darth Vader, mini Samurai’s, Pirate skulls, etc.
Like said, these will cost more than the Nordic Tradesman ones, but if you only need one or two beads and want to choose from a wider array of possibilities, this is likely your best pick.
Each trinket is made from bronze with a method of vacuum-casting. The end result is a beautiful and unique bead that is surely going to spark discussion when meeting new people.
You don’t necessarily have to attach these to your facial hair, the beads work just as well in keychains, attached to zippers, as decorations on knife lanyards, etc.
Bear in mind that if you are going to get something like this and attach it into your beard, you should have a long-ish mane, and your overall style should be fitting for beard beads too (ie. your clothing style should be closer to the cast of Son’s of Anarchy, rather than the lineup of a KPOP band).
These are similar rings/beads as the Norseman Trader ones, but they are slightly cheaper, smaller, and come with a narrower hole.
The design is practically identical, focusing on the 24 different Elder Futhark Rune alphabets.
The material is a metal alloy, and although quite durable, it isn’t comparable to the quality of the CooB beard beads showcased above – the tradeoff is that these are considerably cheaper.
All-in-all, if you’re looking for some Viking style beard jewelry on a strict budget, this might be the brand for you.
How to Attach Beard Beads to your Facial Hair
(Instructional video courtesy of Viking.se)
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to attach beads to your beard:
- Put a silicone band around the part of facial hair you want to put the bead in. Usually, two to three loops are enough.
- Take a piece of a long string and fold it in two. Put the ends of the string through the hole of the bead.
- Now you should be able to form a larger loop from the part of the string that hasn’t gone through the hole.
- Slip the tip of your beard through the loop while keeping the folded ends of the string in place with your other hand.
- Next just pull the loop completely through the hole in the beard ring, and the bead should stay in your beard.
- Finish by sliding the bead on top of the silicone ring and you’re done. Now the bead should stay in place effortlessly.
Beard beads are like the fedoras of the facial hair World.
As in, only a marginally small percentage of beardsmen can wear them without looking ridiculously out of style and just plain weird.
If you’re a hipster with a short beard and wear urban style clothing, there’s a high chance that you should skip the beard jewelry – at least the Viking style beads.
On the flip-side, if you’re a member of a motorcycle club, a Viking enthusiast, or an old-school dude with a super long beard, beard beads might be just the thing for you, and for securing a long beard in place, they look much better than your wife’s hair bands.