The fleece of the suri alpaca is what differentiates it from the more common huacaya alpaca. Suri alpaca fibre is considered to be one of the world’s rarest specialty fibers. Suri alpacas are estimated to comprise only 6-8% of the world-wide population of alpacas and the vast majority of these are white, making the coloured suri alpaca a rare and sought after animal.
The origin of the word suri is uncertain. It is thought to be from the language of the Aymara, a native ethic group who have lived in Bolivia, Chile and Peru for over 2000 years and who were known as the weavers and herdsmen of the Inca world. Suri has been described as an adjective which can be applied to anything which is straight. It is also the Aymara name for the rhea, a flightless, ostrich-like bird found in South America, which has smooth, silky, lustrous feathers draped over its body. The suri alpaca grows a silky, dense, lustrous fleece which hangs in individual locks vertical to the body, and it is likely that suri describes this characteristic appearance.
Suri fibre is most suited to weaving, with the end product being extremely soft, lustrous and smooth, with wonderful drape. Suri fibre is utilized by high-end fabric makers in Japan and Italy in the production of top quality coats and suiting which command high prices. A trial of manufacturing fabric from suri fibre has recently been conducted in New Zealand and we would anticipate that there will be increasing demand for suri fibre both locally and internationally. The challenge will be to produce sufficient volumes of consistent high quality fleece suitable for manufacturing, and this is all part of the fascination and allure of owning suri alpacas.
We have a number of suri fleeces available for sale, with a range of colours including light fawn, champagne, medium brown and black. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.