Possum fur feels like springy silk velvet to touch. It is unbelievably soft and silky.New Zealand possum fur is a medium length (4-6cm) plush type fur, with a dense cushioned undercoat. New Zealand possum fur is completely different from the fur of the American Opossum. New Zealand possum fur doesn't shed like other furs and is anti-static. It also contains a natural enzyme that helps to reduce some skin conditions like eczema.
The hair fibre is very strong so you won’t be covered in hair every time you lean on your fabulous possum fur cushion, bed blanket or sofa throw. New Zealand possum fur is considered durable so if it is well looked after and correctly cleaned and stored when not in use it can last up to 10 years or longer.Possum fur is very warm - in fact they say it is the third warmest fur in the world after polar bear and Arctic fox because of its hollow hair structure that traps warmth like a thermos. And just like polar bear hair, it is the hollow hair structure that does not allow possum fur to freeze, even when exposed to extreme cold. Possum fur is said to be 14% lighter and 8% warmer than wool in university studies.
Step one: Getting possum skins from the bush.
The best furs are collected in autumn and winter. So this is a seasonal business, even though fur is plucked for possum merino knitwear all year round. The really good large furry possums will be in the more remote cooler areas. Some areas can only be accessed on foot (after a long 4-wheel drive) or by helicopter.
Possum trappers need to tramp into the bush and make camp, then spend a week or two setting traps, go back every day walking up and down mountains to check the traps and collect the skins. When they have enough, they tramp out of the bush again or meet the helicopter. The skins need to be preserved with salt and stored. This process will go on for months before the trappers have enough to sell to the fur agents.
Note: The tanneries must pay top dollar for the best quality possum fur skins, otherwise the trappers will not bring them out of the bush. It is much easier and cleaner for the trappers to simply pluck the fur to be used to make possum merino knitwear. The price for plucked fur reached record highs per kilo last year due to China buying as much plucked fur fluff as they can get access too. This drives up the price for the local market.
Tanneries need to hold a large amount of skins in various stages of processing, including a large fur vault with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of finished furs. There are about 13 official natural possum fur colours and each colour is used to make a different product or dyed colour like black or red for example.
The art of the furrier, who is a craftsman and artisan who works with fur, is a very specialised and ancient craft. There are only a handful of people in New Zealand who are experienced and qualified in this very old tradition.
Our Gorgeous Creatures furrier is a second generation furrier who learned his trade from his father in England over 25 years ago with a heritage of luxury craftsmanship. He is a Master Furrier who knows how to work professionally with possum fur to achieve a quality heirloom product that will stand the test of time. All our possum fur products are made in New Zealand.
Because of our furriers’ skills and experience we can customise your possum interior décor fur throw, blanket, cushions or anything else you can think of to make from possum fur as long as the fur is suitable for the use that you imagine.
Mink is the undisputed King of fur for use as a coat and other clothing items, and possum is the King of interior decor because it has the necessary strength and durability and is very cost effective when compared with other real furs.
Australian Common Brushtail Possum:Trichosurus vulpecula
Virginia North American Opossum:Didelphis virginiana
|Introduced to New Zealand from Australia, to establish a fur industry from 1837-1921. Unique to New Zealand and Australia.||Native to the eastern United States but now spread through to western United States. Also in Central American. Original ancestors where most likely from South America.|
|Up to 90cm (35”) long (incl. tail) and up to 6kg (13.2lb) for a really fat one. The Brushtail Possum is one of the largest varieties of possum in the world.||Around 38-51cm (15-20") long (incl. tail) and 4-5kg (9-11lb)|
|Reddish brown, dark brown or grey with beige undercoat, very furry face and furry prehensile tail.||Silver grey to grey black fur with white pointed face, pink nose, feet and bald prehensile tail.|
|Fur is a medium length (5-10cm) plush type fur, with a dense warm cushioned undercoat. Fur is hollow and highly insulating.||Fur is coarse with long flat hairs. Not suitable for clothing or interior décor.|
|A nocturnal marsupial. Traditionally Aboriginal people in Victoria and Tasmania sometimes used cloaks of possum skin to ward off cold winds and rain. The skins were sewn together to make a very effective garment.||Solitary and nocturnal marsupial, when frightened and unable to flee may fall into an involuntary shock-like state that makes it appear dead, "playing possum", they often recover after a few hours and make a safe exit.|
|Average natural lifespan 5-6 years.||Average natural lifespan 2-4 years.|
|Generally disliked in New Zealand because it is killing the native forests and impacting on native birds and wildlife. Considered a pest. Also a nuisance in urban areas. Has a horrible crackling growling territorial call at night. Protected in some states of its native Australia.||Generally disliked because it resembles a rat (but is not related to rats) and is ugly, can be a nuisance in urban areas getting into trash cans and nesting in roofs. Considered a pest. Can appear vicious if cornered but is not dangerous.|