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View Full Version : difference between "red sable" and "kolinsky"


rr113
11-23-2011, 05:45 PM
I am puzzled by the distinction, for example, in Rosemary's Brushes, and elsewhere (see below) between "red sable" hair and "Kolinsky" hair. There are many catalogs that refer to a red sable kolinsky. They are using the two terms synonymously. But what I am talking about is using the terms to make a very distinct difference between red sable and kolinsky with the former being cheaper but good. For example, in Rosemary's catalog she has different pages assigned to each.

Here is a quote from a Raphael brush add:


"Raphael pure red sable oil brushes are excellent for precision work and for applying smooth brush strokes. Red sable offers the spring, sharp point and edge similar to Kolinsky sable but at a fraction of the cost. These brushes are made from 100% pure red sable without any substitute hairs as found in other "sable" brushes. Raphael pure red sable brushes are available in special short round and long pointed filbert models." (Undermining mine)

As I understand, it there is no "red sable" animal. A sable is a martin and has brown hair. Only the Siberian Weasel (Kolinsky) has reddish brown hair. So what animal are these hairs from?

One possibility, of course, is that they are from the Kolinsky but are not tail hairs. (Kolinsky fur is used for fur coats and purses as well as brushes.) But that's only conjecture based on the statement in Rosemary's and Rafael to the effect that other brushes so labeled have "substitute" hair.


Richard

charliez
11-23-2011, 07:30 PM
I think that all of them are Red Sables but Kolinskys are red sables from the Kolinsky Penninsula in Russia.

rr113
11-23-2011, 11:59 PM
Carlos,

"Kolinsky" does, indeed, mean from the Kola Peninsula, but they have been all extirpated from there as far as I know. In general, the animal is an "endangered" species everywhere.

Richard

Marcio C
11-24-2011, 12:10 AM
In theory, Kolinsky refers to brushes made from the long hairs of the males of one or two species of mink from eastern Siberia and remote parts of China, which are trapped. The hairs are extra long and soft and taper in a unique way that allows brush makers to make very pointy brushes. In theory, red sable refers to brushes made from the relatively shorter hair from a number of species from the weasel family, either farmed or trapped, that are less tapered, less soft and less pointy than the kolinsky.

In practice, while the kolinsky characteristics makes it easier to produce better brushes, it does not guarantee it--the brush maker's care in selecting and handling the hairs and manufacturing the brush makes a big difference. Also, a manufacturer could mix hairs from female animals, or other parts of the kolinsky mink and still theoretically call it a kolinsky. Finally, there is a lot of confusion caused by the way manufacturers label their brushes, as sable, red sable, pure red sable, kolinsky sable, pure kolinsky, etc.

If you were just curious, that's the short explanation; if you are researching to buy brushes, check all references you can find on them and their characteristics, as these vary tremendously from brand to brand and even within brands. Again, just the name kolinsky does not ensure quality or price or specific features--at best it serves as a general indication.

Have a look at handprint.com for more details. And I'm sure that if you write to Rosemary of Rosemary & Co she will reply with good information on the quality and types of hair.

AlainJ
11-24-2011, 07:19 AM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/24-Nov-2011/154785-MartreAdam_Lyon-c.JPG
This is what a red sable will look like, kind of cute (Photo by J.Lyon). Nowadays, the Kola variety is farmed in eastern Russia and in Canada. True Kolinsky are made with the hair cut from the tip of the winter tail (which can be left to grow back, I believe on a 1 year cycle).
It has almost disappeared from the Eastern US because of the lumbering practices in New England which have destroyed their habitat. But the population is healthy in Québec... where their trapping is severely controlled.

pumkin54
11-24-2011, 07:55 PM
That thing is too adorable and has confirmed for me that I am now a synthetic girl. I just want to pet its fluffy little head. Whenever I'm tempted to buy a pretty sable, I'll just remember that face. Unfortunately, I just bought a Black Velvet (squirrel/synthetic) about a week ago. It better last a lifetime.

PierceClark
11-25-2011, 02:29 AM
So, this sweet little thing only looses a bit of the end of his tail for us? He doesn't actually give his life for us? How beautiful he is!

PierceClark
11-25-2011, 02:41 AM
Oh, was I wrong on that one!
I just googled it and my oh, my.
I guess these little beauties are killed for their entire skin.
So sad.

sunychka
11-25-2011, 02:58 AM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/24-Nov-2011/154785-MartreAdam_Lyon-c.JPG
This is what a red sable will look like, kind of cute (Photo by J.Lyon). Nowadays, the Kola variety is farmed in eastern Russia and in Canada. True Kolinsky are made with the hair cut from the tip of the winter tail (which can be left to grow back, I believe on a 1 year cycle).
It has almost disappeared from the Eastern US because of the lumbering practices in New England which have destroyed their habitat. But the population is healthy in Québec... where their trapping is severely controlled.

As far as I understand, for making brushes they take hair from DEAD animals. :confused:

charliez
11-25-2011, 10:47 AM
They do not kill them for brushes... they do it for fur for coats and the like...

sunychka
11-25-2011, 11:36 AM
They do not kill them for brushes... they do it for fur for coats and the like...

I didn't believe myself. To find the answer, I wrote to several brush manufacturers. Escoda was the only one that nicely answered my question.
I was told that hair for making brushes is taken from dead animals. (Except for goats, ponies, etc. - these are shaved.)
Since then I switched to synthetics.

CarlosBS
11-25-2011, 02:07 PM
There is no legal obligation or any standard on the designation of the Kolinsky term.
In general well regarded brushmakers let the kolinsky designation to their best brushes, made from a siberian weasel, tail, male, winter coat... etc.
From there is down to any combination (female, not winter coat, not tail, a mix)

In practical terms.. best kolinky points better and have more snap. But Good quality sable has the same water holding capacity and the snap is not bad.. only the point is blunt, but for point get a synthetic.

Sable hair is a by-product of the coat and fur global business.., well regarded manufacturers buy the hair from fur-traders, that supposedly cater the hair from farms or hunters that use non-cruent methods (those methods that still exist in some china farms).

But almost all manufacturers are living from stock... prices are getting high, fur is getting scarce, and people is adopting synthetics.

Saint Ragdoll
11-26-2011, 02:25 AM
I think the brushes are a by product of the furrier industry. They kill these animals for their skins, make these into coats,wraps etc but the tails arent used so the brush makers use them. Some of these animals are "farmed" (what a horrid word,) but the tail hairs arent as good as the ones that live in the coldest areas. Animals that live in the very coldest places grow thick fur.

Or at least that Is what I read somewhere online.

Saint Ragdoll

pumkin54
11-26-2011, 05:25 AM
This was already brought up in another recent thread. From my research on Kolinsky weasels, it seems these animals cannot be farmed. I suppose because they then won't grow their full winter coat, which is where all the value lies. They must be trapped while in their native habitat. They are then often found frozen to death in these traps because they are stuck there sometimes overnight, sometimes days until the hunters come to retrieve them.

PS: Sable apparently was originally used to designate a marten. Kolinsky was used to designate a particular strain of minks and weasels. Martens, weasels and minks are closely related and are in the same scientific Family. The real Kolinsky (the critter from the Kola Peninsula) is now an endangered species and is no longer actually used to make Kolinsky brushes. The new "kolinskys" really come from Siberia, China and Korea, with the Siberian apparently being of better quality due to their winter coat. All of these animals, both real kolinksy and "fake," are called red sables because of the color of their fur.