Eiderdown is of wild origin
Eiderdown is the only commercially traded down worldwide which originates from a wild bird. Eider is a big arctic duck that spends most of its life at sea. In June the eiders come ashore to nest. Due to hormonal changes prior to and during the nesting period the female sheds over 15 grams of dark grey down from its belly and lines the nest with it. Immediately after the eggs have hatched, the female eider duck returns to the sea, this time with her newly hatched ducklings.
Eiderdown comes from living birds
Eiderdown is harvested from wild birds that have already shed it on their own into their nests. They were neither killed nor plucked as is the case with all other types of down that comes from domestic birds. The harvested down is replaced with hay, which does no harm to either the eggs or the nesting bird. Collecting the down after the nesting season would result in it rotting and losing quality. Eider becomes fertile at four years of age and then starts laying eggs and shedding down and it lives up to 24 years. The female eider sheds down every nesting season for all of her fertile life. So, the user of a new eiderdown comforter may rest assured that the birds that gave the down for his item are still alive and well out in their habitat, the North Atlantic Ocean west of Iceland, while the user enjoys the comforters filled with their down. Eiders are a species fully protected by law in Iceland and their nesting places are guarded by land owners, who also are eiderdown harvesters.
Eiderdown has the most delicate structure
Eiderdown has a structure so fine that demonstrating it in detail is only possible by scanning it with a high-enhancement electronic microscope. Each fluff of down consists of fine threads that disperse in all directions from the center, forming a sphere. These spheres then hook up like Velcro to form a three-dimensional network. Note the degree of enhancement, over 800 times.
Eiderdown , a cloud that can be touched
Airy and light, these are the very properties of luxury bedding highly appreciated through the ages.
Eiderdown is most rare
All the eiderdown harvested annually worldwide could be carried by a small transport truck while the annual world output of domestic goose down is counted by thousands of tons, to transport which several ocean-going ships would be required. The total weight of the annual Icelandic eiderdown harvest is a mere 3000 kg or 6600 lbs. This number has been constant for centuries as the eider stock in Iceland is at its maximum due to the eider’s status as a totally protected species. More eider ducks simply cannot live there as the size of the population is kept constant by natural factors like a fixed number of suitable nesting places as well as limited feeding grounds for the ducklings immediately after hatching.
The number of eiderdown items in use remains constant
Even though an eiderdown comforter may last, with proper care, for 20 years, the harvest would never be sufficient for the world market were eiderdown to become known beyond its traditional markets of Japan and Germany. Every new harvest merely compensates for the number of items that have come to the end of their lifecycle and are discarded. This leads to an interesting conclusion, namely that the number of eiderdown comforters in use worldwide does not grow but remains constant. So, a new owner of an eiderdown comforter has surely entered the most exclusive club. In 2018 Rolls Royce set a manufacturing and sales record of 4100 cars. So, a new eiderdown comforter has become rarer than new Rolls. There can never be an overproduction of eiderdown and the number of eiderdown comforters in use worldwide will remain constant.
Numerous falsifications in the eiderdown trade
Limited supply of eiderdown and its high price leads to a flourishing industry of falsifications, just as with any other desirable item. Falsifications are rampant in the main market for eiderdown, Japan, where comforters are filled with cheap Chinese duck down of similar color but inferior quality and sold as eiderdown. In this case certification of the item is elaborately falsified as well. Here is an example of a dubious offer we found on Rakuten Global, Japan’s answer to Amazon:
The “certificate” accompanying the item is clearly a fake. The “Samband” logo belonged to an Icelandic exporter of eiderdown that went bankrupt back in 1992. The veterinary stamp belongs to an official authority that has long since been replaced with a new one. The name and the signature belong to me, the author of this site, eiderdown.com, and are both copied from old export documents from trade that took place around the turn of the century and with a completely different firm from what is offering this item. Then the price of this item, although high, is cheap compared with real eiderdown comforters that are sold for much more. The temptation to falsify eiderdown comforters is strong as their retail price the world over is high.