Sable fur is the most precious of all the furs. A pelt of the highest quality might cost up to dozens of thousand dollars. While fur coats with sable insets are valuable, sable fur coats are extremely luxurious. Such a high price for the sable fur has its reasons. Undoubtedly, sable is extremely beautiful, with its natural color so deep and bright and its texture so soft and neat, this fur is not dyed, as a rule. As for its durability, sable fur comes second after the aquatic animals among all the mammals. The fur coat will last up to 14 years. Fabulous and durable, this fur is also very warm. The arctic fox fur is the warmest type of fur while but it is not as durable as sable fur. The sable, as durable as the otter, belongs to the second heat-saving group. With its light weight, it keeps you warm just like fox fur or sheepskin.
The sable is hunted in the Russian taiga and it is also ranched on the fur farms. Russia is the only exporter of the sable, since Russia’s the only habitat of this animal, except for the northern regions of Mongolia and China where it’s been migrating while looking for new territories. This can be explained by the fact that the sable needs the taiga with all its gerbils, squirrels, chipmunks, birds, seeds, berries and pine nuts that make up sable’s diet.
Sable fur is very fluffy and dense with the height of hair reaching up to 3 – 4 cm. The color of its coat might vary from light yellow to dark grayish brown and almost black. The most valued sable is black and grey, with the fur being dark blue near the ends and roots. Barguzin sable fur coats are of the richest black color.
For hundreds of years sable fur has been a symbol of prestige and social status. Sable garments were passed from one generation to another. During the reign of Ivan the Terrible, a pelt could cost up to 3-15 rubles. To put into perspective, one could buy a war horse or three cows for one silver ruble.
In Russia, only the aristocracy could afford wearing such sable garments as ferias, kaftan, kortel, sable fur coats and raincoats. The European aristocrats in sable furs still can be seen on the canvasses of the greatest artists.
For hundreds of years sable has been a means of diplomacy. The Old Russian and medieval dukes, and then the Moscow sovereigns were presenting the ambassadors with sable fur and many peace treaties were signed with its help. Sable fur also served as a wedding present.
Sable was the most stable currency of the old Russia. Novgorod and Pskov ‘guests’ (that is how traders used to be called) would pay with sable on the Persian and Hansa markets, would lend and borrow sables.
In the pursuit of sable fur, Russians opened new extremely vast territories and reached Kamchatka and the Pacific Ocean. Therefore, sable was a driving force of both trade and the historic creating process of the gigantic state.