The Value of Superior Royal Alpaca Wool

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expensive-alpaca-jacketHow much would you pay for a jacket? $100? $200? What about over a thousand dollars?

What if it was made from the “finest hair on the planet”?

Alpaca wool has long been prized for its many fine qualities, and has been a staple of luxury for centuries. However, not all alpaca fleece is the same – the value of a fleece depends on its color, fineness, texture and other factors. Many alpaca products are available at the higher end of the middle class consumer price range; then again, there are luxury items that cost so much, it’s easy to get the impression that their aim to shock twice – with the item’s quality, and with its price.

The Wall Street Journal reports on the luxury market for vicuña – wool obtained from an eponymous type of camelid closely related to alpacas and llamas. This wool has, for centuries, been the purview of royals and the exceptionally rich. The vicuña sport coat pictured on the photograph on the right costs an astounding $20,995. Many fashion houses that create vicuña garments only release a handful of pieces per year, all of them extravagantly expensive.

Fans of vicuña say that it’s worth it – the wool makes for exceptionally good insulation, while being so light that some wearers joke that one actually loses weight by putting it on.

With recent expansions of production and trade, vicuña may become more widely available, but you can bet on it remaining a pleasure for people who can spend as much on a jacket as most of us pay for new cars.

Read the full Wall Street Journal article here.