A European Iron Age Celtic Silver Torc with Incised Geometric Decoration Perhaps British or Irish
Smooth encrusted grey patina
500 - 1st Century BC
Size: 15.5cm dia. - 6 ins dia.
Ex Private collection, Oxford UK
The torc or neck-ring is often regarded as the principal and iconic piece of jewellery manufactured and used by the Celts. Classical writers mention torcs being worn by naked Celtic warriors in battle, but those found in graves occur only around the necks of women or girls. Torcs were also worn by women around the upper arm and sometimes around the waist. Torcs had a symbolic value as indicators of the social standing of the owner and were also valued for their precise metal content, providing the Iron Age Celts with a dual purpose object. However, the torcs that occur in hoards were most probably not used as prestigious jewellery, but only as ritual currency on special ceremonial occasions.