Description of the main types of fur

Minks Michael Kors gave the mink fur a second breath by entering a jacket of a white short-cropped mink in his collection ( Pologeorgies, 1996). The introduction of the mink fur to the worldwide fashion was made by Hollywood in the 20th century. Minks are the most frequently farmed animal for its fur, exceeding in economic importance the silver fox, sable, marten and skunk. The American mink’s winter fur is denser, longer, softer and more close-fitting than that of the European mink. The winter fur’s tone is generally very dark blackish-tawny to light-tawny. Colour is evenly distributed over all the body, with the lower side being only slightly lighter than the upper body. The guard hairs are bright and dark-tawny, often approaching black on the spine. The underfur on the back is very wavy and greyish-tawny with a bluish tint. The tail is darker than the trunk and sometimes becomes pure black on the tip. The chin and lower lip are white. Captive individuals tend to develop irregular white patches on the lower surface of the body, though escaped individuals from Tartaria gradually lost these patches. The summer fur is generally shorter, sparser and duller than the winter fur. The thick underfur and oily guard hairs render the pelage water-resistant, with the length of the guard hairs being intermediate between those of otters and polecats, thus indicating the American mink is incompletely adapted to an aquatic life. It molts twice a year, during spring and autumn. It does not turn white in winter. A variety of different color mutations have arisen from experimental breeding on fur farms. The first specimens were imported to Europe in 1920 for fur-farming purposes. The American mink was introduced in Italy in the 1950s, and currently resides mostly in the northeastern part of the Italian Peninsula. The majority of these populations do not appear to be self-sufficient, though minks in the Monti Prenistini and Simbruini in Lazio have reproduced successfully. The first feral mink populations arose in 1930, establishing territories in southwestern Norway. American minks are primarily used in manufacturing ladies’ fur coats, jackets and capes. Pelts which are not able to be converted into these items are made into trimming for cloth and fur coats. Mink scarves and stoles are also manufactured. Jackets and capes are mostly made from small to medium-sized specimens, usually females and young males, while trimming, scarves and stoles are made from adult males. The most valuable peltries come from eastern Canada which, although the smallest, are the silkiest and darkest. Selective breeding has produced a number of different color shades in mink peltries, ranging from pure white, through beiges and browns and greys, to a brown that is almost black. The two standard strains are brown and “black cross” which, when paired, produce numerous color variations. When an albino mink is born, it is standard procedure in fur farms to breed it to other color mutations to produce grey and light-brown pastel shades.



Sables The sable fur has ‘’fit’’the world of fashion due to Hollywood. Marc Jacobs introduced the fur of a sable in a new light, by making items with a short-cropped sable hides. It was a fantastic breakthrough! Sable fur has been a highly valued item in the fur trade since the early Middle Ages, and is generally considered to have the most beautiful and richly tinted pelt among martens. Sable fur is unique because it retains its smoothness in every direction it is stroked. The fur of other animals feels rough stroked opposite the grain. A wealthy 17th century Russian diplomat once described the sable as “A beast full marvelous and prolific … a beast that the Ancient Greeks and Romans called the Golden Fleece.” Russian sables would typically be skinned over the mouth with no incision being made on the body. The feet would be retained, so as to keep as much fur as possible. Byzantine priests would wear sable for their rituals. In England, sable fur was held with great estimation. Henry I was presented with a wreath of black sable by the Bishop of Lincoln, for no less than &75;ap; it is both the singular and plural name for the animal. A group of sheep is called a flock, herd or mob. Adult female sheep are referred to as ewes, intact males as rams or occasionally tups, castrated males as wethers, and younger sheep as lambs. Many other specific terms for the various life stages of sheep exist, generally related to lambing, shearing, and age. Being a key animal in the history of farming, sheep have a deeply entrenched place in human culture, and find representation in much modern language and symbology. As livestock, sheep are most-often associated with pastoral, Arcadian imagery. Sheep figure in many mythologies—such as the Golden Fleece—and major religions, especially the Abrahamic traditions. In both ancient and modern religious ritual, sheep are used as sacrificial animals.

Domestic sheep are relatively small ruminants, usually with a crimped hair called wool and often with horns forming a lateral spiral. Domestic sheep differ from their wild relatives and ancestors in several respects, having become uniquely neotenic as a result of selective breeding by humans. A few primitive breeds of sheep retain some of the characteristics of their wild cousins, such as short tails. Depending on breed, domestic sheep may have no horns at all (i.e. polled), or horns in both sexes, or in males only. Most horned breeds have a single pair, but a few breeds may have several.