Alpacas are one of the most beautiful South American camelids. They come from the same family as llama and camels but are smaller in size with much finer hair. The alpaca has been valued for it’s fibre since pre-Inca times. During the time of the Inca, alpaca fibre was used to make clothing only for royalty and was known as ‘The Fibre of the Gods’.
Alpacas have been domesticated ever since the time of pre-Inca cultures. They have lived in altitudes varying from 2,500 to more than 4,500 metres above sea level for thousands of years, withstanding extreme climatic conditions which can fluctuate between -20°C to 30°C in a single day. Due to these extreme conditions, alpaca possesses unique and special thermal fibres which are able to ‘breathe’ on hot days and keep it insulated and retain body heat on cold days. It truly is a special fibre designed by nature.
There are 2 types of alpacas.
Huacaya alpacas are strong and robust whose medium-length hair have a fluffy appearance. Their fibre grows perpendicularly and has density, softness, lustre and curls with a spongy appearance. They make up 90% of total alpaca population.
Suri alpacas are slim and delicate with long, shaggy hair that often reaches almost to the ground. Their fibre grows parallel to the body with curls around it, like fringes. They make up only 10% of the alpaca population in Peru.
ÄYA Alpaca Fibres
This fibre is recognised for it’s softness, lightness and subtle shine. It has the largest selection of natural tones in the weaving world with 22 natural colours. From white, brown and grey, to black. The selection of baby alpaca fibre can only be hand chosen by skilled artisans They have the ability to feel and hand pick fibre with an average fineness between 22 to 23 microns. This fibre represents 25% of total alpaca production.
The most demanding selection of the best alpaca fibre from both breeds (Suri and Huacaya), carried out by expert hands of master artisans with ancient secrets. They are able to hand pick the finest fibre between 18-19 microns. This unique fibre represents only 2% of total alpaca production. Royalalpaca products have a subtle lustre and are naturally silky in appearance and touch.
Baby Alpaca Suri
The Suri breed is rare and represents only 10% of the total alpaca population. It produces a very fine fibre of up to 16cm in length. This soft and silky fibre has a natural shine giving garments a visible and very particular elegance. Representing only 0.5% of total processed alpaca fibre, it truly is rare, exclusive and one of the most valuable fibres.
Key Properties of Alpaca Fibre
Unique and superior thermal properties
Warmer, stronger but lighter than sheep’s wool and cashmere
Dust mite resistant
Excellent moisture wicking properties
Mold and mildew resistant
One of the strongest natural fibres, second only to silk