The Magic of Eiderdown

Eiderdown is the down produced by the eider duck. The eider duck can be found in Northern America, Iceland, Scotland, Scandinavia and Siberia.

Eiderdown has microscopic yet powerful hooks that hold separate down flakes together. The numerous little down ‘hairs’ allow for tiny air spaces throughout the whole eiderdown, which is why it makes for such good insulating material.

In addition to the excellent ability to retain heat, eiderdown has other positive characteristics, for example the self-regulating adaptation to the ambient temperature, softness and life span.

Eiderdown has a longer lifespan than duck or goose down. It can easily last up to 40 years. Of course you would need to be sure that the ticking holds as well. If this ticking begins to show signs of deteriorating, you can opt to have your duvet renewed. This is where the down from the duvet is removed, cleaned and then stitched back into a new ticking.

eider duck nest with eggs

Why Eiderdown?

Self-regulating adjustment to ambient temperature

Eiderdown automatically adjusts to the ambient temperature. If the outside temperature rises, the hairs of the small down lay slightly flatter. As a result, the filling force and thus the insulation strength decreases in the summer. In the winter, the filling power increases again and the eiderdown duvet insulates more.

Softness

Eiderdowns have neither quill nor other hard components, so they are extremely soft and give a cuddly feeling.

Long life span

On average, normal down duvets reach a lifespan of 8-10 years, whereas bedding filled with eiderdown can reach a up to 40 years! Of course you must take care that the cover does not become worn or damaged.

If the condition of the cover requires it, you can have the duvet reworked. In the case of an overhaul, the down is removed and cleaned, and if necessary placed in a new cover.

High exclusivity

Eiderdowns are not a mass product. Each step requires manual work and lots of attention to detail. Read more below to learn more about how to get the most out of your life and to see how much exclusive luxury there is in an eiderdown duvet.

Natural product

Eiderdown possesses the important characteristics of natural products, which are absolutely necessary for filling of high-quality duvets. They must be respiratory-active and have a moisture-regulating effect, so that a pleasantly warm and dry sleeping climate is maintained.

Gathering Eiderdown

Surprisingly

Eiderdown does not primarily serve for self-protection but for the isolation of its nest. Since the eiderdown is heavily caked, a uniform layer of insulation is created, which can not blow away. Thus the nest, the female, and the eggs are protected against the cold wind during incubation.

Iceland and the eiderdown

Icelandic people have been using the eiderdown as an insulating material for eleven centuries. The eider ducks nest every year in the same place, in small colonies along the coast and on the islands. One can even speak of a "relationship" between the eider ducks and the locals who care for these places. The villagers ensure a safe and quiet habitat and protect the nests from the birds of prey and foxes.

The eider duck has been a protected species in Iceland since 1849. The peaceful coexistence between the Icelanders and the eider duck has contributed to the fact that Iceland has one of the largest populations of eider ducks. Every spring, the eider ducks return to their breeding ground. After a breeding period of six weeks, the nest will be left again.

The roughly 400 Icelandic eider farmers gather the remaining down, clean it and distribute the approx. 3000 kg to the different duvet manufacturers. The eider farmers thus contribute to the preservation of the ecological balance in Iceland and ensure the survival of the eider ducks.

Eider ducks in Iceland

Collection and processing

Eider ducks are a wild species, which need their freedom and suffer greatly in captivity. Therefore the harvesting of the down requires the eider farmer to adapt to the lifestyle of the duck. For this reason, the eiderdown is gathered by hand from the abandoned nests at the end of the breeding season. Each nest is camouflaged by the speckled plumage of the eider duck and contains on average only about 20 grams of down.

After the labor-intensive harvest has been carried out, the eider down must be dried and freed from impurities in elaborate hand work. This process is very delicate, since the down can not lose it’s clinging properties.

The final quality control ensures that the delivered eiderdown meets the highest demands.

Why are eiderdown duvets an exclusive luxury?

The process of collection and processing is very labor intensive. A calculation example shows the exclusivity of each eiderdown duvet.

We carry the Dickenbergh Summer eiderdown in our range among other eiderdown duvets. It’s filling weight is 360 grams in size 200x200cm. This means that, on average, the content of 18 nests has to be collected and processed manually for this blanket. For the king size version 260x220cm, 520 grams are needed. This means that a maximum of around 6000 Kingsize Dickenbergh summer duvets can be produced each year.

Check here to see our range of luxury eiderdown duvets

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