It’s a question that we are asked regularly at Icelandic Down. And it’s completely understandable; when you’re looking at two seemingly identical duvets side-by-side, why would one (made from eiderdown) cost multiples of the other?
There are a few answers to this question – and it has nothing to do with profit margins. The primary factor being supply.
4,000 kg (9,000 lbs) of eiderdown produced a year
To put that into perspective, that’s a single truckful of eiderdown — for the entire world. Eiderdown is scarcer than gold (340,000 kg), platinum (160,000 kg) and diamonds (28,000 kg) – combined and multiplied. 75% (3,000 kg) of that quantity is produced here in Iceland.
Like the world’s most precious natural resources, eiderdown’s premium price can partly be attributed to the difficulty of finding, collecting, and processing it.
Sustainably and locally gathered in Iceland
Eiderdown is painstakingly collected from the abandoned nests of eider ducks. It takes around 50-70 nests to make 1 kg (2.2 lbs) of eiderdown — involving dozens of hours of manual labour.
Unlike other sources of duck and goose down, which are byproducts of the meat industry or inhumane live-plucking practices, eiderdown is voluntarily left behind by the birds. It’s the most ethical, sustainable source of down on the planet.
Our down comes from special eider duck sanctuaries which are located in natural environments – wild, mountainous fjords and estuaries in remote locations. This helps ensure that the eiderdown is as clean and pure as possible.
In fact, the birds have been protected by the Icelandic government since 1847. Authentic eiderdown comes with a certificate from special eiderdown inspectors, who guarantee the quality and authenticity of the down.
Unique physical properties make it ideal for bedding
Unlike many precious materials, eiderdown has astounding physical properties that set it apart as the world’s most luxurious for bedding products – superior to the finest white goose down.
Manufacturers have tried – time and time again – to replicate its warmth, softness, insulation, breathability, and temperature-regulation with synthetic materials. So far, they haven’t succeeded.
Softness – Unlike goose down, eiderdown has no quills (the hard parts of a feather). It’s pure softness. When you tighten a small clump of eiderdown in your fist, you’ll feel a glowing sensation of warmth. It’s also remarkably lightweight.
Insulation – Most duck and goose down on the market have some percentage of normal, less-insulating feathers (and hard, uncomfortable quills). In fact, even the highest-quality white goose down contains 10-25% feathers by weight. Eiderdown contains <1% feathers. Eiderdown forms hundreds of tiny, microscopic threads intertwining to create pockets of insulating warmth.
Thermo-regulation – When it’s warm, the eiderdown compresses in size to reduce insulation and keep you cooler. When it’s cold, it expands to create those previously-mentioned cozy pockets of insulation. So no matter the weather outside, an eiderdown duvet will keep you at the right temperature.
Resilience – Eiderdown maintains its wonderful physical properties for decades. It can be compressed again and again and still retain its original shape, cohesion, and volume. This is due to a unique elasticity, complete lack of quills, and cohesion that keeps the tangle of microscopic fibers tightly-woven together.
Hand-crafted following a millennia of tradition
Besides the rarity and physical properties of the raw product, eiderdown duvets, comforters and pillows from Icelandic Down are more expensive because of our unique production methods.
Instead of churning out thousands of duvets and comforters, each of our products are individually and locally crafted following the footsteps of our ancestors. This ensures the utmost of quality in the final product – no detail is left untouched. It also ensures that each of our customers receive bedding that is custom-made to their individual needs and preferences. Naturally, this adds costs to the final product in the form of labour that industrial-scale production avoids.
Our duvets and comforters can last up to 50 years when treated well, and come with a quality certificate from the Icelandic government. While the upfront investment may be higher than the average on the market, we believe that it’s an investment that will pay for itself in the form of a lifetime of beauty sleep.
Still curious about the cost of eiderdown?
If you have unanswered questions, we have plenty of reading material to help you learn more about eiderdown’s unique physical properties, Icelandic Down’s production methods, and the ethical and sustainable considerations of eiderdown vs other down sources.
Feel free to contact us directly if you have any questions.