Around the world in fur
Fur has been valued for its comfort and beauty by people all over the world.
With a rich ceremonial and fashion history, furs have personalities as varied and unique as the countries and cultures that have nurtured them.
Semi-aquatic builder of dams, the beaver is Canada’s emblematic animal! Natural beaver has very long, lustrous hair, but designers prefer to shear its fur to create elaborate, surface effects of varying color and pattern. Beaver is also one of the softest, warmest and most durable furs.
Originally from South America, but now farm-raised in both North and South America and in Europe, chinchilla has always had an image of snobbishness. It’s mainly grey to slate blue. It is very silky, in fact no fur is softer, although it is also very fragile.
This wily North American animal has a hardy kind of fur. Dense and durable, it’s creamy, tan or grey and often used for men’s jackets.
The winter phase of the weasel, this silky white fur with telltale black tips was once the fur of European kings who decorated their capes and trains with it. Very rare and expensive, today ermine is rarely found in fashion furs.
An unusual North American fur, fisher is longhaired, dark and silvery.
The majority of fox fur sold around the world is farm-raised (often in Scandinavia), and is available in a very wide range of natural colors, including silver, crystal blue, red, grey and white. As popular as mink with consumers, this luxurious fur makes an ideal trim for collars, cuffs, wraps and stoles.
Lamb is the chameleon of fur with a host of personalities. The queen of lamb is broadtail: of Russian origin, it is sleek, lightweight, shiny and flat, with a slight wave, like fine moiré fabric. Mongolian Lamb is an exuberant fur that is both longhaired and curly. Often white, its silky hair is frequently dyed in a kaleidoscope of hues. Mouton pelts are sheared closely for a soft, thick flat fur.
Persian Lamb is farmed in both Asia and South Africa and pelts are prized for their soft, wavy curls with natural colours of black, brown and grey. Shearling is natural lamb pelts with the leather side sueded or leatherized and worn on the outside, and the curly fur worn inside as a lining.
One of the most beautiful wild furs, lynx has an exaggerated edge to it with its mix of black and brown spots on a white background. The whiter the fur, the higher its value. It is indigenous to both North America and Russia.
A close cousin to Russian sable, American marten has long silky hair and varies from dark brown to golden in color. The finest variety, has a bluish-brown coat and pale underfur.
Mink is the all-time diva of furs. Soft and lightweight with lustrous guard hair and dense underfur, it is primarily farm-raised. Female pelts are smaller in size and have a softer, silkier feel than the larger male pelts. Mink is available in a wide range of natural colors and may be sheared for a sporty, casual look. It is a very durable fur despite its luxurious look.
Muskrat is a North American fur that is popular for its natural contrasting colours. It can also be dyed in rich jewel shades. It is lightweight and is often worked skin-on skin.
Found mainly in Argentina and the Southern USA, it is also farmed in Poland and the Czech Republic. Similar to beaver, it is often sheared for a sporty, more lightweight feel. Because its underfur is very soft and plush and its fur can be dyed in a variety of shades, nutria is a popular fur for linings and trims.
Woolly and сoarse, opossum is often used for liners and men’s coats.
The very different American variety has long silvery black-tipped guard hair with thick underfur while the New-Zealand variety has a short, dense plush-like fur in colours ranging from yellow-grey to natural brown.
Rabbit generally has medium length guard hair in a variety of natural colors and is often sheared or grooved. While fragile and not very durable, it is a very reasonably priced fur.
Long gray/black guard hair with silvery tips over a woolly, dense undertur makes it a very durable and warm fur. Finn raccoon has long, thick tan guard hair with black tips and dense underfur.
Russian sable is still the most prized fur in the world, renowned for its legendary silky quality, rarity and light weight. Brown with a silver cast, it is the most expensive fur especially when there is an abundance of silver hair. Canadian sable (brown or golden) is a bit less expensive but just as valuable.
Squirrel (‘’petit gris’’)
Short, soft guard hair with a flatter, dense undertur. Very lightweight.
Also called Japanese raccoon, has very long guard hair and a full texture. Colour is light amber brown with dark, distinctive markings.
Similar look to mink, with short guard hair and semi-dense undertur. It is fragile and not as valuable as mink. Sometimes called ‘’China mink’’.