Karakula (Astrakhan) Sheepskin: the Choice of Royalty
Karakula(Astrakhan) sheepskin is tightly curled fleece with the looped surface of the karakul lamb, which is found mainly in the high mountains of Central Asia where the weather is severe. The sheepskin is extraordinarily warm and unique.
Astrakhan comes in a range of natural colors from the more rare pale golden yellows to greys to the most common black. All are desirable although grey is our favorite. Karakul sheepskin is far more expensive than other sheepskins.
Astrakhan is known as broadtail, Persian lamb, Karkul lamb, karakulcha, agnello di Persia (the stylish Italian name), garaköli bagana (in Central Asia). There is no standard name. Karakul is extremely rare in North America.
The use of Astrakhan dates back centuries in Central Asia, where it was used in traditional garments. Karakul hats (which Altaika carries) are exceptionally warm.
Astrakhan has usually only been available for people with status or means. The sheepskin has been historically reserved for royalty, aristocratic women or senior military officers and warriors. It can now be used by anyone outdoors in fall or winter – especially when temperature are near or below freezing. Astrakhan has been used at the coronation ceremonies of kings and queens and doned by a First Lady of the United States.
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