Why did the Celts wear torcs, and what makes them so unique? We recently came across this question and wanted to share what we found out. The answer may inspire you to buy some for
Torcs are a beautiful reminder of the beauty and craftsmanship that has stood the test of time. They had to be sturdy to fit in with the original Celts’ daily life.
If you would like to learn about the Celtic wardrobe and each piece’s significance, visit us today! We would love to show you the Celtic culture’s best and teach you about our favorite people.
Built to Last
Before we talk about why the celts wear torcs, we should touch on the details. A torc is a large metal ring made of a single piece of metal or strands twisted together. They have a small opening and are made to be like a cuff. Not all torcs are cuffs with an open end, though. Some are made with a hook or clasp closure and feature beautifully intricate designs that show off the time’s craftsmanship.
Most torcs are flexible or come apart at a certain point to take it off or put it on. Historically it made it a bit easier to put on, but it was still easier to wear instead of taking it off.
Historically, torcs were built to wear daily and through whatever may have been going on and crafted from precious metals and gems, and difficult to remove, so that a person could “wear their wealth.”
It’s no wonder that torcs were so durable! Each was made out of durable metals. Mainly brass, silver, and gold. Late Viking ear torcs were made of silver and the torcs made in the European Iron Age were out of gold and are now found at the National Museum of Ireland.
Because of their materials, torcs could be heavy. The metals used, paired with jewels, could cause torcs to weigh more than a pound. They could be an actual pain in the neck at the end of the day.
Lighter torcs are constructed using strands of metal or a hollow metal tube. The word torc means to twist. Most of the torcs available on our site are made with a twist pattern and are ‘alainn (Celtic for beautiful).
Why Did the Celts Wear Torcs?
Torcs acted as a symbol of a person’s status in society. Those who were leaders in the community, royalty, the wealthy, and possibly high-ranking military would wear these pieces of jewelry. It can also show rank within the clan.
Research shows that men and women alike wore torcs to assert their rank and gain protection. Meaning, they were for whoever could afford to have them made for them and their families. More common families would treasure these marks of status and wear them to their most special and sacred events.
The torc was also something that Celts would wear for special occasions like Burns Night, or rituals and battles were also a great occasion to break out a torc and your best kilt. Today, you can wear a kilt and torc to any event you attend.
Celts have also placed torcs in their artwork depicting gods and goddesses. They believed that this traditional jewelry could represent supernatural powers and attributes like wisdom and strength.
It is no wonder that torcs held such a special place in Celtic culture.
Torcs adorned the Celtic god Cernunnos Torcs. He has them in his hands and his antlers. It only makes sense that the Lord of the Wild would be a sign of power and stature.
The most famous torc was discovered in 1950 and made between 100 – 75 B.C. It’s called the Great Torc and was fabled to be owned by high born warrior queen Boudicca. It’s not just the owner who is great; this torc weighs in at two pounds, three ounces, and is eight inches in diameter.
Although we would love to give Celts exclusive credit for this powerful jewelry, there is evidence that many cultures wore torcs. For this reason, we believe that it’s up to the individual to decide the meaning and heart behind it.
Now that you know why the celts wear torcs bring your creation to life! Design custom Torcs in our store in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, or online. Made in the U.S.A., they can come in bronze or silver. Personalization doesn’t stop there!
Give our Tartan Finder a try to search for a Tartan for you. We offer Tartans from both Ireland and Scotland. The fabrics are made by skilled crafters in Scotland just for you. If you’re looking for a certain tartan, there are 500 options to look through for that perfect match.
Our Clan is Your Clan
Celtic culture spans six different countries across Europe, each celebrating its version. We proudly honor our Celtic heritage by offering top quality Celtic fare. We started over 25 years ago and haven’t looked back.
We operate out of our store in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, but our products are available internationally through our website. Whether you are shopping for the Celt enthusiast in your family or official Outlander gear, we have it.
The Celtic Croft doesn’t just sell Celtic garments and accessories. We keep our customers in touch with their heritage by offering family coats of arms. What’s a better way to honor your clan?
Speaking of special occasions, we also offer beautiful Celtic jewelry perfect for a wedding or a “just because” gift. Please stop by our site today. Browse, learn about, and enjoy the Celtic culture, from our family to yours.