Musk ox wool
Who would have thought that a fibre so ethereal, with the lustre of silk and the softness of cashmere, could be ages old?
The prehistoric colossus that is the Arctic musk ox gives us qiviuk, one of the most precious wools ever produced.
As remarkable as it is rare, the musk ox is an ancient animal that survived the last ice age. A rugged, powerful beast, it journeyed through prehistory while mammoths and other large mammals disappeared from the surface of the earth. When the earth warmed up after the last ice age, around 12,000 years ago, the musk ox followed the glaciers to the Arctic, where it is found today.
Softer than cashmere and warmer than wool, qiviuk has astonishing properties. This exceptionally fine and splendid fibre protects the musk ox from the extreme cold of the Canadian Arctic.
Qiviuk is amongst the rarest and most precious wools ever produced. Worldwide production fluctuates between 5 and 8 tonnes a year, 3,000 times less than cashmere! Furthermore, its supply can never be guaranteed. Currently, a good proportion of qiviuk comes from traditional hunting in Greenland, which is strictly controlled and respects the natural ecological balance.
Winter qiviuk is incredibly clean and needs little in the way of treatment. As a result of the bitter cold, it has no parasites and the thick hair that covers the qiviuk undercoat prevents penetration by thorns or dirt. Every skin has to be combed for over an hour to extract between 600 g and 1.2 kg of qiviuk.