When one goes to buy a luxuriously soft, beautiful and warm sheepskin coat, there are a wide verity of terms that are connected which may pull the fleece over your eyes leaving you baffled as to which is perfect for you.
Sheepskin is sourced from all over the world. For sheepskin, country of origin is a critical factor in the quality of the pelts. Factors critical to the nature of sheepskin such as the countries’ climate, diet of the sheep, and craftsmanship fluctuate from country to country. Also the breed of sheep and the age of the sheep when the pelts are accomplished are determining factors for quality and therefore price.
- Great Sheepskin
When it comes to great sheepskin the top grade is Spanish Merino shearling. Shearling sheepskins typically come from one year to two year old sheep. Although older sheep do produce larger skins which are easier to work with, the older skins tend to be thicker and less supple, and therefore not as comfortable to wear. Spanish Merino shearling comes from Spain. Spain is known for producing sheep with the most soft and supple of pelts. The wool fur and the leather grain are more uniform with fewer to no blemishes or inconsistencies. The craftsmen utilize strict quality control in the sorting and matching of skins as well as the tanning process. They have been passing down their fine craft for centuries and they take great pride in their superior workmanship.
- Best Sheepskin
It’s hard to believe that sheepskin can get any better than Spanish Merino shearling. However, the very finest grade of sheepskin is lambskin slink. Lambskin slink pelts price at least twice as much as the finest Spanish Merino shearling pelts. The predominant country for lambskin slink is New Zealand. Lambskin slink is obtained in the spring lambing season. The natural lamb mortality rate is 10%. Many sheep carry two lambs and often one is still born. The pelts of these newly born lambs are used to make what is referred to as lambskin slink. The lambskin slink is normally thin, velvety smooth and supple with short curly fur on the inside. Regularly the curly fur is ironed straight to look like more typical fur. However very thin, the lambskin sneak traps the wearer’s regular body warm keeping them warm and agreeable. The lambskin slink pelts are very small. They are normally no more than 2 square feet. Therefore they require more piecing together and stitching to create a coat. Creating a coat form lambskin slink is more of an art than a craft.
- Sheepskin Finish
Just as you can choose the country of origin and grade of sheepskin for your sheepskin coat or jacket, you can also choose the finish you prefer. The finish is the look and feel of the outside leather part of the pelt. The traditional finish for a sheepskin coat is suede. Suede is often also referred to as a Habana finish. The full-grain smooth leather like finish is often referred to as Nappa or Pesca. The Nappa finish is usually easier to clean and is often more stain resistant. Many believe the Nappa finish has a more sophisticated rather than rustic look.
For anyone who takes their wardrobe seriously, a sheepskin is clearly an absolute staple. Now be forewarned, a sheepskin coat is a significant investment. They are not cheap. However, with the proper care and storing, a quality pelt can maintain its beautiful sheen and insulating ability for literally decades. This is a wardrobe piece that your grand kids can wear when they are just becoming adults. If you choose your coat wisely, taking care to find one that you will wear again and again and never tire of, a timeless keepsake like this is well worth the cost.