Ostrich are native to the African continent but are farmed worldwide. Ostrich feathers have been used in fashion for thousands of years and were at one time worth more than their weight in gold.
The best plumes are from the African male bird and were used for centuries in men’s hats, then later after the late 18th century the millinery usage was exclusively for women’s hats. Also used for capes, hand fans, boas, muffs, and trimmings on a variety of clothing and accessories. At the peak of their popularity during the “feather fashion craze” of the early 20th century, plumes were found in dozens of sizes, made into fantastic shapes and amazing types. Sadly, most feathers today are plain and thin compared to the preferable antique variety.
Ostrich leather is highly prized for its strength and beauty and is used today for shoes, purses, wallets, luggage and other small accessories. The oil from the ostrich is also highly prized for cosmetic use.
Ostrich eggs are used for beautiful carvings and jewelry.
Contrary to popular opinion, an ostrich’s feathers are not plucked, they are cut from the body with sharp scissor like tools.
Ostrich eyes are used for medical research, making the ostrich one of the most valued birds on the planet, and not just a fashion icon.
Written by Rue de la Paix/www.ruedelapaixhats.com.