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Ostrich Feathers - From Pharaohs to Carnivals

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Ostrich FeathersOstrich is the large flightless bird residing in Africa and it is unknown if the humans raise them if some time ago they would notice the luxury feathering of these luxury but weird birds.   Humans found out of the wholesome meat and eggs of ostrich far later as well as of the stunning features of the ostrich skin. The trend for the ostrich feathers was in forever, the fashion just traveled from one status to another.

So, the ancient Egyptians considered the white ostrich feathers as symbols of power, fair and justice, and thus, the pharaoh fans were made from ostrich feathers. Besides, none but the pharaoh could afford that lavish accessory, even supreme priests. The knights from Medieval times used to decorate their helmets with cascade of ostrich feathers to borrow the tradition from the commanders of the ancient Rome. The Romans used to have feathers of ostrich to demonstrate the status of the owner, while the knights used them to tell they were back from the march with the triumph.

Maria Antoinette, the Queen of France, introduced the fashion for ostrich feathers in the second half of the 18th century. The stronger sex was not about to decline to them and musketeers had their hats decorated with ostrich feathers with the special chic.

Within the longest period of time the ostrich feather used to be exported to Europe from colonial countries. The demand rose higher, and poor birds were hardly depopulated. So, in 1840 a ton of ostrich feathers was exported to Great Britain from the South Africa and by the year 1910 the needs of European fashionmongers increased to having 370 tons of feathers annually. The population of ostriches was saved when they became to breed ostriches in captivity for this special purpose.

The structure of the ostrich feather differs from feathers of other birds in some details: it is symmetric, and the branches go to both sides of equal length. They never close in between and thus, the feathers do not adjoin to each other as densely as with the feathers of other feathered species. The nature cared of ostriches to make them feel warm in winter and cool in summer time.

When a bird is about two years old, the feathers are formed absolutely. The feathers come divided into types as white long (male species have them), feminine (female species have such feathers though with some similarity with those white of males'), ornamental (every single bird has four of such ornamental feathers with the white and black coloring in the end), black silky feathers (only male species have them, while females have grey ones), tail feathers (male ostriches have white or brown tale feathers while females have them of uncertain light or dark shade).

The length of ostrich feathers is from ten to eighty centimeters and the most quality feathers are those that grow over seventy centimeters in length and thirty in width.

Brazil is one of the consumers of ostrich feathers when they use fifteen to twenty tons of ostrich feathers for carnival purposes. During the pandemic of the bird flu when thousands of birds were depopulated, the national holiday was about to be frustrated and non-infected feathers were exported from abroad.

Fluffy and soft boa from ostrich feathers is the favorite accessory of celebrities. Ladies from glamour society who are today keen on vintage image willingly show off with an ostrich boa of the most flamboyant colors, from acid lemon to the fuchsia shade.

From time to time reputed designers are also exerted with the ostrich feathers to demonstrate in their collections for the zest. So, Paco Rabanne put attempts to create eclectic apparel from ostrich feathers combining with fluorescence skin, while designers of Chanel House demonstrated the skirts made from ostrich feathers fully.

The price for the ostrich feather ranges regularly and subject to the drastic fluctuations regarding the region where the feathers are exported from. The German traveler of the 19th century Alfred Brehm wrote that a kilo of the elite white ostrich feathers in Sudan cost a thousand mark, while the fine feathers were estimated within fifty marks for the kilo. In the 21st century the ostrich feather became cheaper significantly. For the most valued feathering of the mature unit thirty to fifty dollars are spent. The owners of ostrich farms conclude contracts with establishments of electrotechnical and optical industries when feathers are used technically for use since they have the high antistatic characteristics which are required to cleanse the complicated mechanisms.

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Jamie  - Ostrich Feathers   |2011-04-22 11:33:04
ostrich plumes are great for centerpieces!!
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