Duvets made from eiderdown – a piece of natural luxury
“Welcome to Cubiculum, your trustworthy bedding specialist. My name is Dirk Fischer. Apart from providing my customers at Cubiculum with an excellent selection of the best brand-name bedding products, I have made it my particular goal to offer you something truly special. Our online shop will now feature eiderdown duvets, the world’s most luxurious bed coverings in quality that’s unsurpassed. We have made it our goal to provide you with only the highest quality products on the market, which I decided to import the eiderdown directly from Iceland so that I could check its quality with my own eyes. This website is dedicated to sharing our first-hand knowledge of eiderdown and the making of eiderdown duvets.”
Frequently asked Questions:
• Where does eiderdown come from?
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To the eiderdown duvets:
Where does eiderdown come from?
Eiderdown comes from the eider duck. The eider duck has been a protected species in Iceland since 1847hunting the eider duck is a criminal offence. Nevertheless, their habitat is threatened by the heavy pollution of the marine and coastal areas where the ducks breed and by land-based predators and humans. The protection of this bird is thus very important to ensure a continued source of eiderdown. During the nesting season, the mother ducks pluck their own biggest and warmest down to pad the nest and keep the eggs or later the hatchlings warm. Since the eider duck cannot be domesticated, the eiderdown must be collected by hand in a labour-intensive process. There are only two opportunities to collect the down: before the duck has laid her eggs (in which case the farmers pad the hay to replace the down they have gathered) or after the young have left the nest.
“Iceland is truly unique with its own peculiar environment, the rugged coastline, the geysers and the harsh climate. There is something magical about the place that immediately put me under its spell. The people in Iceland live in harmony with nature and are happy to share their love of their land, which became very clear during my visit. I got to know the farmers and their work with the eiderdown. It was really interesting to see how the farmers and the eider ducks ‘cooperate’ with each other.
“Every year, at the beginning of May, the birds return to their ancestral nesting grounds to brood for four weeks. There were approximately 1,200 to 1,700 eider duck nests on the farm I visited. The entire nesting is fenced off and it’s like the birds get to stay in a 5-star luxury reserve. The farmers watch them from towers 24/7 during the breeding season. The whole family pitches in with this task, taking turns every two hours. This helps protect the birds for the entire six-week season from wolves, foxes, and curious tourists. So it is a win-win situation for the humans and the animals. The farmer gets first-class goods and the eider duck can nest in peace.”
What eiderdown do we use at Cubiculum?
In addition to the quality of the goods, the working conditions and the way the product is processed are very important to us. No one toils for a pittance to gather the eiderdown we use, because, like Germany, Iceland is a high-wage country. The production processes are based on the highest standards and quality requirements which is how they obtain the best results. The eiderdown is also particularly environmentally sustainable. No animals are caught or injured during the down harvest and the ducks’ natural environment is protected so that they are not disturbed and so that the quality of the product is protected.
How is the eiderdown gathered and processed?
In the spring, the farmers set out to collect the eiderdown from the nests by searching along the long flat coasts or the offshore islands. There can be several harvests, because the ducks often repad their nest. After being collected, the down is dried as quickly as possible and heated to 110°C so that it does not begin to rot. It is then given a rough initial wash using centrifugal force to get rid of course dirt, bits of foliage or egg shells, eventually processing the down into an ever finer state with machines designed and built especially for this process. This is followed by an elaborate cleaning by hand. All of the down is picked apart individually to remove small dirt particles. This work is extremely laborious. It takes a worker about a day to pick through one kilo of down! The product is then checked by a veterinarian and certified with a certificate of origin before it can leave the country. This gives you some idea of why an eiderdown duvet truly represents a luxury product. The production and recovery of eiderdown is very labour intensive and costly, even if high-tech machines are now being used. Each step can only be done by professionals with many years of experience. The down is also subject to extensive materials testing. This explains the high price of a duvet with eiderdown filling.
“During my time in Iceland I was allowed to follow the entire eiderdown process from gathering to the filling of the duvets. What struck me was how meticulous the work on each processing step was. Before further processing and filling of duvets, the eiderdown is worked over again. The quality of down is determined by different tests. Initially, the degree of contamination is determined, then the fat content is analysed. Our product has a fat content of less than 1%, which means that the eiderdown we use is extremely lightweight. We wash our eider down a second time before the filling process to reduce the natural fat content to less than 1% and to eliminate any odour. This final wash makes our eiderdown duvet lighter than any other. Most duvets on the market contain down with a fat content of 3-4%, which makes them heavier.”
“After the second wash, I observed the filling process. Our finished eiderdown is stuffed into the finest 100% cotton batiste. This fabric is very lightweight and breathable. It takes one worker about 45 minutes to stuff each duvet, because each chamber is individually filled with eiderdown. Each duvet you order from us is specially made for you. As a result, it takes about 3 weeks for us to deliver your product, but this ensures that you will receive a completely unique product unlike any other eiderdown duvets on the market.”
What is so special about eiderdown?
The uniqueness of eiderdown can only be seen under a microscope. Unlike down from other ducks, eiderdown has tiny barbs that create a chain linking the individual feathers to keep them from being blown away in high winds. This makes it possible to have a length of eiderdown up to a metre in length without individual feathers breaking off. These dense interconnections create many small gaps that trap air and enclose the heat. Eiderdown is extremely fluffy and has the highest loft, which makes it the finest and lightest down in the world. One kilo of eiderdown requires 500,000 to 1,000,000 down feathers. But due to its high filling capacity, it only a few hundred grams to stuff an entire duvet. Thus the duvet is very lightweight while offering unsurpassed heat retention.
Why is eiderdown comparatively so expensive?
Eider ducks cannot be domesticated. Therefore, the gathering and processing of their down (as opposed to goose down) is a very expensive, labour- and time-consuming process that requires a lot of expertise. First, because many people are involved in protecting the eider ducks during their nesting season and then in gathering the eiderdown from the nests by hand (for example, an entire family will monitor the ducks’ nests for up to six weeks). The eiderdown is then put through many stages of cleaning and quality checks. Approximately 10% of the amount collected is lost during the cleaning process alone. Many tests follow to grade the eiderdown quality. Only the best will receive a certificate and be permitted to enter Germany. It is also very time consuming to prepare an eiderdown duvet: it takes a worker approximately 45 minutes to stuff a single duvet. All of the work is done mostly by hand and requires professionals with years of experience.
What is the significance of eiderdown fat content?
The eiderdown in our duvets has a fat content of less than 1%. This extremely low fat content results from the second washing of the down after it has been cleaned. This is an indication of the quality of the duvet. Normally, 3-4% fat content is more common. Due to the low fat content, our duvets are feather-light and are very pleasant at night.
Why do I need an eiderdown duvet?
Eiderdown duvets are all-season bed coverings that can adapt to amount of warmth needed, while remaining extremely airy and light on the skin. How it works: when there is increased moisture loss from the skin in the summer, the tiny eiderdown hooks become heavier, settle, and reduce the volume of the enclosed air chambers. They thus offer a lower insulation value and feel pleasantly airy in the summer. During winter, the eiderdown grows in volume because the feathers stretch their limbs in the dry, winter air. As a result, the insulating capacity increases, and the duvet provides more warmth.
What types of duvets can be found at Cubiculum?
At Cubiculum, we offer three warmth levels for customers to choose from, depending on how sensitive they are to the chill at night: a light, a medium, and a warm duvet. The warmth of a duvet is determined by the size of its chambers. The more chambers a duvet has, the less filling a chamber will contain.
Why is it worth investing in an eiderdown duvet?
If you opt for one of our eiderdown duvets, you will be making an investment that will last for a lifetime. Indeed, an eiderdown duvet can last up to fifty years, more than any other down duvet on the market, and all with minimal care. It is the longest lasting, warmest, and cosiest duvet there is!
How are eiderdown duvets cleaned?
Eiderdown duvets are not washable, because of the risk that the down will become too dry and lose too much fat. If you still feel it needs a cleaning, we recommend sending it to a professional cleaning service such as that offered by specialist bedding dealers. We also offer cleaning at Cubiculum. However, in general, it is not necessary to have the duvet cleaned. Regular fluffing will do just fine. In addition, as has been done for centuries, simply put the duvet out in the spring sunlight (not in direct blazing sunlight) and allow it to ventilate. The strong UV rays in the spring sun sterilize the dust mites and protect against their propagation.
We hereby guarantee that our eiderdown duvets are made from 100% eiderdown from the eider duck and expressly warn against dealers who identify their duvets as “eider duck type”’. This is not the real eider duck down, but rather normal duck down.