Guanacos are the second largest of the South American camelids. Some 500’000 Guanacos roam free in the wilderness of the High Andes of Peru, Argentina and Chile and in Patagonia. During thousands of years the Guanacos provided the inhabitants of this dry and cold land with their meat and skins.
Today Guanacos are unfortunately threatened of extinction and have been put on the watch list of conservation organizations. Products made from Guanaco fibers can only be purchased with a CITES certificate (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). This certificate guarantees that the animals are released to freedom after being carefully sheared.
Guanacos have a double coat similar to cashmere goats. The Guanaco’s undercoat boasts one of the finest natural fibers in the world in a uniform pale camel color. The outer coat consists of much coarser fibers, guard hairs. These are a much darker brown and act to keep debris and moisture out. After shearing, Guanaco fibers must go through a dehairing process in order to remove the coarse guard hairs from the downy undercoat, which is the finest part of the fleece.