The prices of rinsed eiderdown have dropped by half since 2008, Morgunbladid reports.
Before the crash in 2008, one kilo of the luxury down, thought to be the best natural insulator available, sold for over ISK 100,000 (US 775 / EUR 637
Eider in Vigur Island.
Last year one kilo sold for approximately ISK 50,000 (US 387 / EUR 319.
Icelandic eiderdown has been very popular for use in luxury duvets, sleeping bags and overcoats. About 1,500 kilos of the down are collected annually throughout June and July, when the eider ducks nest in colonies along the shoreline around the country, except in the south, where few eiders reside.
Farmers cultivate the colonies, creating ideal circumstances to attract the valuable birds which have been preserved in Iceland since 1849. The farmers work at keeping away predators like gulls, ravens, foxes and minks.
The female eider duck lays 4 to 8 eggs between May and June and carefully insulates the nest against the chilly Arctic weather with its down. Eiderdown farmers collect the down from the nests three to four times a season and the biggest colonies can produce up to 90 kilos of down seasonally.
The farmers have an association consisting of 260 members. Jónas Helgason, the chairman of the Eider Cultivation Association, says the biggest reason for the price decrease is fraud.
Low quality goosedown is being passed around as eiderdown in Japan, which is the biggest market for the down. Some products which have been inspected do not include one gram of eiderdown in spite of being sold as pure eiderdown products.
A single eiderdown duvet sells for up to ISK 600,000 (US 4,650 / EUR3,822 ), so it is quite important for the buyer to make sure he has purchased the real thing.
“I am sure the prices will rise again once the economy in Japan starts to pick up,” said Helgason, who owns one of the most productive eider colonies in the country, located on Aedey island in Ísafjardardjúp bay. Aadey translates as the island of eider.
Helgason said that the eiderdown season has been very productive this spring with dry and cool temperatures ensuring an excellent product.
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