Free shipping over $350

Shopping cart

Your cart is currently empty

Cahill's Vintage Fur ID Series: Dark Ranch Mink

Cahill's Vintage Fur ID Series: Dark Ranch Mink

Welcome to our Vintage Fur Coat ID Series.  Today, we will look at the Dark Ranch Mink coat.  Often called ‘black’ mink, it has been one of the most popular fur types and colours since the 1980’s and remains an iconic and high quality fur.  It was made globally recognized by the Blackglama brand and promotional campaign that ran with A-list celebrities in the 1960’s, right through the 2000’s.  Some of the celebrities included: Bette Davis, Barbara Streisand, Diana Ross, Ray Charles, Janet Jackson and supermodels Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford and Elle MacPherson.  These were the highest quality ranch-raised furs from North America, known for their signature silky, short nap luxurious fur. They were sold all over the world. See for more details.



The best quality was a natural dark, or close to black fur, with an underfur that showed tints of brown.  Any black mink that is fully ‘black’ has been dyed from off coloured mink. As black dyed fur ages it typically oxidizes to a reddish brown shade.



The 'nap' or length of the guard hair is usually an indication of pricing, with short, silky nap being a higher price. The quality of the fur also gives a direction to go when considering a remodel.  Shearing a longer nap mink will give it a very soft, velvety feel.  A short nap mink could be used with natural long hair or sheared to reduce overall weight.



All full length furs made in North America have a floating or French hem that allows you to see the pelts under the lining. This reveals more about the quality of the fur, and shows you how it was made. If the leather is pure white or ivory colour, it is naturally coloured, while dark gray or reddish brown indicates that it was dyed black.  Both can be fine, but dyed leather does make the coat a little heavier and may impact its longevity.



Most mink coats were made in what furriers call a ‘let out’ fashion, where each pelt was cut into strips and ‘let out’ to be the full length of the coat. This gives the coat a vertical striping effect and allows the material to flow.  If that is the case, there is about 2 miles of thread in each mink coat, which gives you some sense of the craftsmanship and time required to create the coat.



Like all fashions, certain style characteristics give an indication of the era or circa they are from. Features such as collar shape and size, shoulder shape, sleeve shape and length and overall length of the coat can be traced back to specific fashion cycles. Designer/House labels, lining materials, print patterns, and sewing technique also give an indication of era and in some cases where they are made. Each coat carries a bit of history which we find fascinating to explore!



If you have a vintage fur coat and would like to know more about it, we would love to hear from you.  There are several ways to do this. You could send us your photos, we could arrange a video call, or you could make an appointment to bring your coat(s) into the store. Any of these options will give us a chance to share our ideas with you about how you can upcycle or modernize your coat to your liking. 



But, first and foremost, if you love it and it fits - wear it.  It will be the warmest winter coat you will ever wear and you are carrying with you a family story or a piece of history. 

Sustainability is all about buying less but buying better or using what we have in the closet.  


 Enjoy it!


Be the first to comment...

Leave a comment
* Your email address will not be published