What is a torc?
A torc is a semi rigid choker sized necklace usually with a front opening for taking it on and off. They are created in a variety of metals and mixed materials such as leather. Some torcs with a small or closed front have hidden back clasps. Front end finials are a distinguishing feature of a neck torc. Stylized animal heads, more simple flared ends or ring ends are also used as finials.
Where did torcs come from?
Torcs have been around for at least 2000 years. They are most often associated with Celtic or Viking culture. They were found across ancient Europe and among many other cultures around the world. Neck torcs have reemerged off and on in modern fashion over the years
Metal torcs can be cleaned with jewelry polishing cloths. These have a cleaning compound embedded in the cloth so they won't leave residue in the crevices. For bronze torcs, many people don't polish and allow the torc to patina over time. Leather can be cleaned with a damp cotton towel, or with a small amount of added gentle soap if there is visible dirt and residue. Never use vinegar, alcohol or microfiber towels on leather. These products can damage the finish on leathers.
How to put on a torc
Always grasp a torc by the neck band, never by the finials. Hook one side of the torc on the neck while carefully pulling on the other side around the neck. Torcs with larger front openings are easier to get on and may be able to be pulled on from the back of the neck. Avoid adjusting the torc by making the center back the portion that always bends. This can lead to breakage in the center back over time as is noted in many torcs from antiquity.
How to wear or style a torc
Torcs can be worn alone or styled with other necklaces similar to mixing a choker with necklaces of other lengths. Gemstone bead necklaces, chains and leather necklaces of various lengths can be arranged to sit below the torc for a layered look.
Buy a torc
We create a variety of ready to purchase and made to order neck torcs in historical and modern styles. Some of our favorite ready to purchase torcs are below, or contact us to inquire about made to order. You can also check out our Pinterest board of historical torcs from museums and reenactors.