FUR IDENTIFICATION – FUR GLAMOUR FUR GUIDE
There is nothing so glamourous as REAL fur. It creates a totally haughty image & vintage Hollywood glamour style. Learn about many types of fur in this FUR GLAMOUR FUR GUIDE, as well as read My personal opinions on some of My favourites. I am a FUR SNOB and only admire the VERY best of luxury furs! I will also post notes here on the furs I am currently looking to add to My luxury fur collection, and allow you the chance to contribute!
Semi-aquatic builder of dams, natural beaver has very long, lustrous hair, but sheared beaver is also a favorite with designers who create elaborate, surface effects of varying color and pattern.
Originally from South America, but now farm-raised in both North and South America and in Europe, chinchilla has always had snob appeal, though it is also quite fragile. It’s very silky (in fact no fur is softer) and is mainly grey to slate blue. The international trade in chinchilla fur goes back to the 16th century. The fur is popular in the fur trade due to its extremely soft feel, which is caused by the sprouting of 60 hairs from each hair follicle, on average.
Chinchilla has a reputation as the most expensive, softest and perhaps most eye-catching fur available today. This fur makes a bold statement: one that practically screams extravagance and sensuality. It only takes handling a real chinchilla garment just once to understand the appeal. ‘Soft’ isn’t an adequate word to describe this fur. If stroked with eyes closed, the fur seems to disappear under one’s fingers.. too fine and delicate for the human touch to readily distinguish. Just as with gold, it’s not uncommon for people to experience ‘chinchilla fever’ when first handling this fur, becoming mesmerized by its silken feel. No other fur inspires such wonderment and it is this rare quality which has made chinchilla the world’s most coveted fur.
PLEASE NOTE: So called “Rex Chinchilla” is NOT chinchilla, but rather rabbit fur dyed with the intention to mimic chinchilla.. ie it is a fraud. Only a fool with no knowledge of LUXURY FUR would not know the difference. Obviously the rex rabbit does not have at all the fine and highly esteemed texture of CHINCHILLA, it is cheap and suffers the many lowly disadvantages of rabbit fur.
Obviously I would NEVER buy “Rex Chinchilla”, this goes really without saying, I only indulge in LUXURY FURS. In fact, MY preference is for EMPRESS CHINCHILLA, the very finest chinchilla available. To read more of My opinion on “rabbit” read below under R.
The coyote, a western United States wolf, about half the size of the Timber Wolf, is native to North America. Since wolves were put on the endangered species’ list, fur manufacturers have begun experimenting with coyote. The long-haired fur, often pale gray or tan in color with thick, paler underfur, is durable and warm and makes luxurious coats.
I have an absolutely GORGEOUS Coach brand coat with COYOTE FUR Collar and Cuffs, you can see this majestic coat in My BEAUTIFUL FIENDS film clip!
Ermine has been known throughout history as the fur of royalty, so naturally I am very interested in adding this gorgeous fur to MY collection! Yes, the silky white fur with telltale black tips was once the fur of European nobility who swept about with it decorating their capes and trains. This famous weasel is found in Northern Russia and Asia with best from Ishim Siberia. It’s fur is heavy with deep underwool and even guard hairs. In summer, the animal is tawny with white belly; in winter, it is pure white with black-tipped tail – and it is to these winter white pelts that the name Ermine, rightfully belongs. So you see how rare it is, only once during the year can it be found. 90% of the pelts are the white, and have a tendency to turn creamy in 4 or 5 seasons. Used natural, also dyed beige, platinum and other shades. It is light, beautiful, expensive. Marilyn Monroe was quite fond of it as it looks positively gorgeous on Platinum Blondes!
An unusual wild North American fur, fisher is longhaired, dark and silvery.
The majority of fox fur sold in North America is farm-raised (often from Scandinavia), and is available in the widest range of natural colors of any fur, apart from mink, including silver, crystal blue, red, grey and white. Running neck and neck with mink in the popularity race, this luxurious fur makes an ideal trim for collars, cuffs, wraps and stoles. I LOVE fox fur as it is particularly lush and plush, and feels so decadent to the touch! I have norwegian fox, blue fox and white fox. I would like to find a CRYSTAL FOX to add to MY collection!
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. It is made of little baby black lambs. I love to wear Broadtail, it resembles crushed black velvet, but is far more decadent, as you can imagine! Mongolian is an extroverted fur that is both longhaired and curly. Often white, its silky hair is frequently dyed in a kaleidoscope of hues. I love some of the more extravagantly created and elegantly designed Mongolian Lamb pieces. 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 colors 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 as a lining.
Leopard is most easily recognized by its rosette patterned coat and extremely long, dark tail. Once common in all parts of Africa it is now absent from most parts of northern Africa, apart from a few widespread areas of the Atlas Mountains. Subspecies of the leopard were once common in the Middle East and are now all but extinct, as is the Persian Leopard.
Exclusivity is one of many reasons why one of My favourite furs is LEOPARD SKIN. Leopards are illegal to hunt and kill anymore, you can only buy vintage leopard fur, which is extremely hard to find as you can well imagine. Of course *I* have a RARE Vintage LEOPARD SKIN Hat – made of REAL Leopard Skin Fur, and it looks positively ADORABLE on Me.
Wildly furry, lynx has an exaggerated edge to it and is indigenous to both North America and Russia. The whiter the fur, the higher its value.
A close cousin to Russian sable, American marten has long silky hair and varies from dark brown to golden in color. Baum is softer, silkier and shinier than American and Stone, the finest variety, has a bluish-brown coat and pale underfur. I am just wild about the pale colours found in the marten, I love the contrast of the creamy whites against the dark browns, and bluish-brown furs.
Mink has never been knocked off its pedestal as the all-time diva of furs. Soft and lightweight with lustrous guard hair and dense, soft undertur, 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 streamlined look. It is a very durable fur despite its luxurious look. I am very much in love with the mutation minks, first created by EMBA. I am always looking to add more RARE high-end mutation minks to MY Collection. These very rare minks account for only 1 percent of the mink population. They are the very finest minks you can buy. I love MINK but I only love the finest mink, the highest-end.
I am very intrigued and interested in Monkey Fur and it’s history. Made from the pelt of the Abyssinian, or Central African Colobus Monkey, the fur is very long, sleek, shiny. It is said to look and feel eerily like human hair. Monkey fur was very popular from the mid nineteenth century through the 1940’s during which time the Colobus Monkey population dropped to alarmingly low numbers. It was a favourite with designers who crafted Art Deco styled streamlined furs, often worn by Hollywood Movie Stars in the 1920’s and 1930’s.
Elsa Schiaparelli brought Monkey Fur into the spotlight during the 1930’s. Schiaparelli took fashion to all new heights of ART and SURREALISM. Known for collaborating with such huge art greats as Salvador Dali and Jean Cocteau, she was an innovative designer. Her work with Monkey Fur is simply DIVINE.
“When the big 1927 fad for monkey fur died down, the furriers put all their monkey surplus in warehouses, a dead loss. Now it is all out again. Cables have been rushed to Africa for more of the long, silky sophisticated hairs, and the depression times are boom times on the Gold Coast’. ‘Little Acorns.” Harpers Bazaar, April 1933.
Muskrat is a North American wild fur that is popular for its natural color and can also be dyed rich jewel shades. New Jersey muskrat is lighter in weight with contrasting colors while Northern muskrat has longer guard hair and heavy, thick underfur and is often worked skin-on skin. Southern muskrat is flatter with little underfur and is usually pale in color.
Found mainly in Argentina and the Southern USA, it is also farmed in Poland and the Czech Republic. It is often sheared for a sporty, more lightweight feel, and has what is called a “glistening” fur – eww. Nutria is basically a water rat, known to multiply quickly. It is wild in overabundance, so it is often considered the “eco-friendly fur” or “green-fur” – because nobody misses a dead rat. It is cheap and ugly. I am simply not interested in nutria.
Rabbit is cheap and common. It is ephemeral and My disinterest in it is such that it bears no elaboration. Now, if they could make a powder puff out of the more rare, round and fluffy angora rabbit, then I might be interested.
Long gray/black guard hair with silvery tips over a woolly, dense undertur makes it a very durable fur. Finn raccoon or Asiatic 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 somewhat less expensive. I have an exquisite SABLE scarf which is My very first piece of luxury Sable, it has the most lovely colouring. The silver cast is like no other fur, and makes it stand out as a very unique piece. I feel exceptionally chic and wrapped in luxury whenever I wear it!
Skunk fur is rather long, with coarse, glossy guard hairs of about one to two inches, which have the qualities of strength and longevity. Normally the under-fur is grayish underneath the black guard hairs and white underneath the white guard hairs. If the more valuable all-black pelts were not used or available, the entire pelt was dyed a uniform, glossy black. Skunk fur was quite popular during the 1930’s when Hollywood movie stars often wore it for it’s Art Deco flair. Previously called “American Sable” and “Alaskan Sable”. An upsurge in the popularity of Skunk fur has taken place with fashion houses such as Prada and Fendi using the black or brown-and-white varieties in items from handbags to throws and long, sweeping coats.
- The Fur Information Council of America
- FIDM Museum, Los Angeles
- Vintage Fashion Guild
- Dictionary of Furs