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A Brief History of Clan Tartans

Tartan is a pillar of Scottish heritage and was historically worn everyday by Highlanders. It was used to make a range of garments; which are today considered part of Scotland’s Traditional Dress. Kilts and trews are still extremely popular, worn to this day in array of tartans for all sorts of occasions worldwide.

Tartan was originally extremely simple in design, consisting of only two or three colours in a simple check. Dyes were produced using plants, roots, berries and trees from the specific geographic area and used to dye the wool, thus creating a tartan from that area. This was the beginning of the evolution of district and clan tartans; which have continued to develop over time. These original tartans are often referred to the Ancient variation of the clan tartan, as at this time the colours would be lighter and softer shades due to the colour being produced by natural dyes. Today, there are many variations of each clan tartan; including Modern versions which are much bolder and darker in colour.

Wearing your clan or district tartan, would historically have identified who you were or where you were from. Today, tartan is worn as a way to celebrate your roots. The word clan originates from Scots Gaelic ‘clann’ which translates to offspring or children. A Scottish clan is seen as an extended family, forever bound together and linked through a shared history. The clan would be led by a chief, who historically acted as a king, protector, and decision maker; holding power over their controlled land.

At MacGregor and MacDuff we have over 4,000 tartans to choose from, including variations of all clan tartans. We also have a range of clan crest accessories, which are the perfect way to compliment your outfit. From kilt pins and sporrans, to cufflinks and belt buckles; clan crest accessories are the perfect way to celebrate and honour your clan’s past. Scottish clan crest badges are heraldic badges used by members of Scottish clans to show their allegiance to a specific clan or clan chief. Commonly used by clan members, the heraldic crest and motto within the crest badge always belonged to the clan chief.

Clan crest accessories are the perfect gift, click here to have a look at what we have on offer.