Angora Wool: The Finest And The Fluffiest
Known for its silky texture and fluffiness, the angora wool is one of the most popular and oldest wools in the world. It is warm and soft to the touch and offers great comfort to the wearer.
The name angora wool is derived from the animal angora rabbit, as it is produced after rearing and processing its fur.
Angora Rabbit Is One Of The Oldest Types Of Domestic Rabbits!
Angora Rabbit is a cute, medium-sized rabbit, often with beautiful red eyes. From completely white to brown and black, the angora rabbit is found in many colors in different regions.
They are a docile breed of rabbits and the most adorable pets. When you hold an angora rabbit in your hands, you will notice that their coat is warm, plush, light, and so very soft. These appealing features of the angora rabbit fur are the reason behind the popularity of angora raising and wool production as a commercial activity.
The Angora Rabbit Fur is Used For Angora Wool Production
With a diameter of 12-16 microns, the fur of the angora rabbit is long and thick. It is plucked, sheared, shaved, or combed from the body of the rabbit for fibre production.
Their hair growth is faster than that of many other rabbit breeds. The fur regrows within 3 to 4 months and is ready to be sheared again. To ensure that the fur is smooth and silky, regular grooming and prevention of hair matting are essential.
The hair of the adult angora grows approximately 3 cm every month. By the time it is sheared, 12 to 16 ounces of wool can be procured after each shave of the angora rabbit. In most cases, the fur of the angora starts moulting after 4 months. If carried out gently, the angora rabbit is not harmed by the shearing of its fur.
Breeds Of The Angora Rabbit
Five angora breeds are commonly raised for their wool:
- French Angora: The french angora rabbit is one of the finest amongst the breed, they weigh around 3.5 to 4.5 kgs. Their undercoat is dense and the texture of the fibre is absolute perfection. Their front legs and face are mostly hairless.
- English Angora: The English type is one of the smallest angora rabbits, weighing around 2 to 3.5 kgs. These rabbits are extremely cute and have hair on their eyes as well, which is why they are often raised as pets. Some English angora rabbits moult naturally.
- Satin Angora: A satin angora is around 3.0 to 4.5 kgs in weight. They are called satin angoras because of the sheen of their coat. Some satin angoras have true red and copper pigments in their coat. However, it has lesser hair than other types.
- Giant Angora: As the name suggests, the giant angora rabbits are big when compared to others. Their minimum weight is 5.4 kgs. They are only recognized in the ruby-eyed white color and look very similar to the German angora. Shaving giant angora can give you around 12 to 18 ounces of fur.
- German Angora: Another big angora breed is the German type, usually weighing somewhere between 2.5 to 5.5 kgs. They are bred in many colors and the fur of the German Angoras does not moult.
Except for the German Angora, the other four breeds are recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association. In total there are 11 different breeds of the angora rabbit, mainly depending upon the region where they are raised.
Why Is Angora Wool Considered To Be One Of The Finest Wools?
The angora wool is so finely textured that it is often compared to cashmere. Some people even prefer to buy angora wool over cashmere, because of the warmth and fluffiness that it offers. The angora wool is commonly used to make scarfs, sweaters, suits, felt, and knitting yarn.
Angora Wool Qualities That Make It Popular Amongst Knitters And Fashion Enthusiasts
- Angora wool is popular because it has thin fibres and a unique fluffiness to it.
- The angora wool is considered to be 7 times warmer than the wool procured from sheep. The warmth and softness of the angora wool, make its sweaters and scarfs perfect winter gifts.
- Unlike other warm wools, the angora wool is not heavy. The angora fibre is hollow, which is why the wool is lightweight and comfortable.
- It is believed that angora wool has rheumatism effects. For this reason, it is often worn by people suffering from arthritis.
- Angora wool is naturally produced in many colors, including white, gray, brown, black, and tan. The color of the fibre will change depending on the breed of the angora rabbit.
Angora Wool is Amongst The Most Luxurious Fibres
Good quality angora wool is sold for $10–16 per ounce in the US. It is more expensive than camel wool.
The angora fibre can be blended with wool to increase elasticity. This decreases the quality of the final product. Most commercial businesses blend wool with 30-50% of the angora wool to ensure that the product does not lose its silky texture or fluffiness. If clothes made with angora wool were produced without blending it, the prices would certainly skyrocket, but then they would be uncomfortably warm.
Angora Wool: The Choice Of The French Royalty
It is believed that angora rabbits are originally from Ankara, Turkey, where they are known as Ankara tavşanı. The angora rabbits were brought to France in 1723.
Angora rabbits were quite popular in France and were favored by the French royalty. They were not only bred and raised for their silk textured fibre, but were also kept as beloved pets in the royal house. Until the 1960s, France was the leading producer of Angora wool.
As the popularity grew, the rabbits were raised in England for angora wool production.
Where Are Most Of World’s Angora Wool Currently Produced?
Chine raises over 50 million angora rabbits and prepares them for shearing the fibre and producing angora wool. The country successfully carries out almost 90% of the world’s angora wool production.
The US, Chile, India, and Europe produce small quantities when compared to the production of China.