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Jonval Leathers and Furs Discusses The Different Types Of Furs Part 2- Chinchilla

In the last blog Jonval Leathers and Furs moved on from discussing the different types of leather, and started exploring the other side of Jonval Leathers and Furs—furs! We began our discussion on the different types of animals the furs for the clothing and accessories come from. 

Similar to leather, you would be surprised to find out just how many types of fur are used for clothing. In this blog series will describe the fur and what makes it unique, special, or great for a particular type of clothing. 

In last week’s blog, Jonval Leathers and Furs began its discussion of the different types of fur starting with beaver fur. Beavers have some of the most dense hair in all of the animal kingdom. In fact, beavers have some 10,000 hairs per square centimeter. There are a couple different types of beaver fur. We discussed the difference between sheared beaver fur and natural beaver fur.

In this week’s blog, we will move onto the next typeof animal from which great furs are made—chinchilla fur. As a young child, I remember I always wanted a chinchilla as a pet. They were so cute and so soft. It is that softness that makes this fur so sought after and expensive (well, that and the size of each tiny animal, meaning that many, many chinchillas are needed to make just one fur coat.)

What is a Chinchilla?
Believe it or not, a chinchilla is actually classified as a rodent. Yep, just like rats, or squirrels, or prairie dogs, a chinchilla is in the same family of rodents. They are native to the high Andes of South America. The indigenous people there used to use their fur as cloth. This include the Incas and the early Spaniards who ended up defeating the Incas.

As the Spaniards brought back to Europe furs made of this tiny creature, news spread and its popularity took off. So much so, that by 1914 the chinchilla was nearly extinct. In fact, these days, all chinchillas are raised on ranches, rather than roaming freely in the Andes.

A handful of breeding pairs of chinchillas where brought to the states in 1924. It is from these few chinchillas, that The United States in now breeding them. All of this information explains why, in my nearly two years living and teaching in Chile, I never once stumbled upon a chinchilla in the wild (que lastima!)

The Fur
When we speak about fur, we speak about its denseness, like we did with beaver which has one of the densest furs. Yet, it is the chinchilla that has the densest furs of all animals. It has more than 20,000 hairs per square centimeter (whoa!) Having hair this dense is a defense mechanism for the chinchilla. It keeps parasites, such as fleas, from bothering the animal.  

We still have a lot more to uncover about the beautiful chinchilla and its lovely fun. For all your fur needs, Jonval Leathers and Furs  has you covered (pun intended).