A vicuna wool sweater on sale for less than $1,000, may be a tempting bargain too hard to resist; especially if you have read somewhere that vicuna wool is the rarest, and therefore the most expensive type of wool fiber. Yet if you also know that a vicuna shawl alone can command a retail price as high as $20,000, you will have second thoughts on staking claim to that sweater. Chances are, the seller is just trying to pass off a vicuna wool blend item for the price of one that is made from 100% vicuna fibers.
A reputable seller though will not attempt to do that because Textile Manufacturing laws prohibit using a 100%, Pure or All description on products not composed by a single type of fiber.
Retailers, selling clothing articles made from wool blend fabrics, even have to ask the wholesaler or the manufacturers to provide them with a breakdown of the different fibers blended with the wool. That is because customers allergic to a specific material or substance, make inquiries about the exact composition of a wool blend.
What Makes Vicuna Wool the Most Expensive Wool Type?
Wool sheared off from a vicuna is quite pricey because each sheep can be sheared only every three (3) years. A vicuna by the way is an animal native to South American regions and are raised in the highest parts of the Andes. In fact, the wild sheep is the national animal of Peru. It has been under protection of laws as far back as the ancient Inca rule.
The Inca even had laws that prohibited anyone, other than royalty, to wear clothing articles made of vicuna wool.
Vicuna wool is expensive because only a small amount of fine wool can be shorn from each animal. Oftentimes, the animal has to be caught from the Andes wilderness. There came a time when poachers made it their business to hunt for vicunas, knowing they can sell it profitably to textile manufacturers.
However, it came to a point that heavy hunting led to the endangerment of vicunas, which made the wool fiber even more expensive. Fortunately, conservation organizations intervened just in time. They were able to raise the number of the remaining 6,000 endangered vicunas to a level that reduced threats of endangerment on the vicuna population.
Caring for Vicuna Wool Garments
Caring for vicuna wool garments, whether 100% or wool blended is basically the same as the methods applied to any type of wool outfit. That includes not filling pockets with items that can cause the knitted vicuna fabric to sag or bulge permanently.
Know that wool materials are highly attractive to various types of insects, particularly crickets; because they have been known to damage almost any fabric on which to feast. Some homeowners living in thickly forested areas, even go to the extent of learning how get rid of cave crickets, because the insect has a tendency to stay indoors indefinitely.