With their big eyes and floppy tufts of hair, the cute and cuddly alpacas behind our 100% Baby Alpaca Throws are having a modern day moment. Here are some fascinating facts about the fiber that makes up one of Meridian’s signature product lines.
Alpacas are members of the South American camelid family which also includes llamas, guanacos and vicunas. They are indigenous to the highlands of the Andes where their domesticated breeding is a vital component of the economy for a large sector of the population. Alpacas are bred exclusively for their natural, silky, soft and durable fiber. The texture has been so highly regarded that alpaca fiber was once reserved only for Inca royalty.
These cute creatures are natural vegetarians and graze on vegetation typically found on high altitude grasslands. Fewer than one alpaca exists per acre so their impact on the environment is minimal. No harm is caused to the alpacas during the sheering process, which occurs once every 12 months. Alpaca hair occurs in hundreds of natural shades, minimizing the need for harsh or pollution-intense dyeing. After the fiber is collected it is hand sorted into grades by a small, family run women’s cooperative. The very finest grade is called “baby alpaca,” which is the quality of fiber reserved for Meridian’s luxurious 100% baby alpaca throws.
In addition to its sustainable properties, alpaca fiber contains microscopic air pockets that allow for air to flow through it on warm days, and trap body heat in cooler weather. The bonus? It’s flame resistant and biodegradable! Alpaca fiber is rarer than cashmere, and lighter and warmer than wool. With a texture that is soft but not itchy, alpaca naturally lacks lanolin, which makes it a friendly alternative for those who suffer from allergies.
We’re pleased to feature alpaca in our collection. Each throw is perfectly sized to be a super soft and lush addition to your couch, chair or bed. They also make an excellent travel companion; roll up one of our throws in your carry-on and you’re sure to feel like you’re flying in first class no matter where you’re sitting! We love that we can feel good about their positive environmental properties while snuggling at the same time. Talk about a multi-tasker!