The fibre of the gods – this is the name of the finest animal fibre in the world. The vicuña is the petite relative of the alpaca. Its fur not only has all the outstanding properties of alpaca fibre, but is even softer and more exclusive. It couldn't be more delicate! Vicuña wool is for those who appreciate true luxury.
Vicuñas are sheared every two years, and the yield is only 500 grams of wool per animal. Early conquerors were only too aware of this exclusivity. Their greed for the 'gold of the Andes' was the beginning of a process that saw the vicuña hunted to near-extinction in the mid-20th century. Today, vicuñas are a protected species and trade is closely monitored by CITES (www.cites.org). Fortunately for the animals, their wool is more valuable than their fur in the long term. Meaning that a sheared vicuña is also a rescued vicuña, since it's less likely to be affected by poaching.
Unlike other domesticated South American camelids, vicuñas live in the wilderness. The shearing of the vicuña follows a millennia-old ritual that goes back to the time of the Incas: the Chaccu. For the Chaccu, the mountain communities come together to celebrate and preserve this tradition for future generations. The people guide the vicuñas downhill, shouting and collecting them in shearing pens. There, selected animals are carefully sheared and then immediately released back into freedom. The Chaccu is ethical husbandry and sustainable, because it preserves the natural balance and shows the great respect that the mountain population has for this animal.