Merinos are the aristocrats of the sheep world. For centuries the kings and queens of Europe prized their soft wool, using it to create the finest clothing imaginable. At one stage merinos were so valuable, exporting them from Spain was a crime punishable by death.
Merinos were imported into to New Zealand from Australia in the 1840s. Since then they have thrived in the Southern Alps of the South Island, their wool regulating their body temperature despite the extremes of weather. Because of this unique environment and our farming methods, New Zealand merino is sought after around the world for its exceptional whiteness, softness and lustre. We include this special, ultrafine, white fleece in a number of our designs. The Jane Henry naturally coloured merino flocks are the coloured cousins of these prized white flocks.
Although all merino wool is fine, growers selectively breed their flocks to produce particular grades of fineness that is measured in microns. Each micron band is suited for a different type of garment construction and use. The very finest merino, known as ultrafine, is 16 microns or less. Much prized, this wool is used for fine Italian suiting and other luxury clothing, where the drape and handle of the resulting cloth must be perfect.
The Jane Henry merino sheep are, we believe, the only commercial flocks of ultrafine coloured merinos being bred exclusively for a New Zealand made product. Being so rare and precious, we take extra special care of them. Our flocks live largely undisturbed throughout the year on hill blocks with a tree-lined valley for shelter. The annual shearing takes place in late spring.
New Zealand is renowned for its strict laws governing the farming of animals, and we ensure high standards of health and safety for our flocks. Similarly, both farmers and farm workers are governed by laws ensuring safe, productive and fair working conditions, as well as guaranteed living wages for staff members. While this makes our products more expensive to produce, we believe it is worth it.
Choose from our range of original designer woven scarves and knitted shawls. These are ultrafine and super soft. Our eco-dyes (metal-free) are kinder on the environment and our undyed woven scarves are the ultimate in completely natural textile production.Read More