Why Are Eider Duck Feathers Worth Thousands Of Dollars?


Genuine eiderdown is one of the warmest natural fabrics available, but it is not inexpensive. And an eiderdown double duvet may set you back more than $8,000. A kilo of this fluffy substance is collected from the nest of the eider duck discovered in the wild in Iceland, and only 4 metric tons are generated globally each year.

Why Are Eider Duck Feathers Worth Thousands Of Dollars?
via Wikimedia Commons/Richard Rice

But what is Eiderdown?

Eiderdown is one of the world’s warmest natural fibers, as well as one of the lightest and most insulating. It is used to produce some of the greatest duvets and quilts in the world. The eider is a sea duck from the subarctic seas, and eiderdown is derived from them. Iceland is the world’s largest eiderdown producer.

Only naturally shed down from nesting eider duckfemales is collected as a protected species. When egg-sitting females’ nests, they molt the ultra-fluffy sub-layer down from their soft underbellies, allowing the heat from their bodies to be transmitted directly to their incubating eggs. When pregnant moms leave their nests to feed, skilled harvesters remove the discarded down and replace it with straw. Over 60 nests will be harvested to gather enough down for a single duvet, with a down content of little more than two pounds.

Why is it so special?

Why Are Eider Duck Feathers Worth Thousands Of Dollars?
via Wikimedia Commons/Daderot

Eider down strands are extremely fine, measuring just a tenth of the thickness of a human hair. The threads naturally stick together, producing a very soft bulk that is far lighter than other downs. A good quality duvet maintains your body warmth independent of ambient temperature, so you may wear an Eiderdown duvet all year. Eiderdown is also extremely soft, almost as if you’re touching a cloud. Eiderdown is an extremely light material. It naturally expands and holds a lot of air while providing strong insulation and is very resistant to compression, ensuring that duvets produced from it remain fluffy.

But, is it sustainable and animal friendly?

Why Are Eider Duck Feathers Worth Thousands Of Dollars?
via Wikimedia Commons/Tony Hisgett

Because it does not hurt its feathered owners when harvested, Icelandic eiderdown is regarded as a sustainable and ethical down. Farmers, in reality, protect the birds from natural predators, and the eider has been entirely protected in Iceland since 1847, with taking its eggs illegal.

The practice is supposed to have begun on the island of Bjarneyjar when Vikings from Norway arrived around the end of the 9th century.

Be honest, would you invest in eiderdown?

Loved knowing about the eider duck and eiderdown? You’ll love to learn about spider silk, the fabric of future.


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