Non Conventional Fibres Association

Vicuna Fibre

Zoological Information

  • The bearer of the golden fleece is Vicuña, and its scientific name is Vicugna vicugna.
  • It is the smallest and most agile, wild species of llama.
  • They belong to the family – Camelidae and order – Artiodactyla.
  • Most of the Vicunas are found in Peru in the Andes mountains, and other small groups of this species are found in Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, and Ecuador. 
  • It holds a life span of 15-20 years .
  • Being a swift and gracious animal, Vicuna is the smallest of all the camelids. 

Habitat and fibre production

  • These golden animals are found in the semiarid grasslands in the central Andes at altitudes of 3600-4800 metres. 
  • Vicuñas are sheared once every two years by domesticating the herds for a certain period. 
  • It is considered a ritual by the communities domesticating this sacred animal, and once the shearing is completed, the herd is allowed to go free in the wild until the next shearing season. 
  • The hairs are collected from the animal’s lower flanks and neck.
  • The annual production of fleece obtained from the vicunas is in a wide range of 5-6 tons and per animal the yield is 0.2 kg .
  • In the 19th century, Vicuñas were killed for hair and meat, and there was a drastic fall in their population. 
  • Due to subsequent conservation efforts, the population of Vicuña has increased to 460,000 by 2020. 

Table 1. Physical & mechanical properties and chemical composition of areca nut fibres

Physical and Mechanical properties


30-50 mm


12-15 µm


13-14 µm

Chemical composition









Mineral Matter


Features of hair

  • Vicuña fibres are strong and resilient.
  • The yarns made out of Vicuna hair are finer than that of other hair fibre and is much lighter, softer, warmer than any other hair. 
  • Also, it is susceptible to chemicals and other harsh substances; thus, it is often used in its natural colour.
  • Vicuñas possess long, soft, fine, and lustrous overcoat which varies in colour from light cinnamon to a paler white shade, with long white fleece. 

Typical uses

  • The fibre obtained is turned into luxurious garments such as high-priced coats, evening gowns, shawls, and other warming apparel.
  • Also, winter wear such as overcoats, jackets, scarves, jackets, coats, etc., are produced on a commercial scale by renowned brands.
  • The communities caring for these herds make textile articles such as mufflers, shawls, coats, gloves, etc.
  • These fibres are used mostly for weaving purposes rather than knitting.