Vicuna in the Andes on a sand bank in front of mountains


The Jewel in our Crown for 173 Years
Sumptuous, luxurious Vicuña, a fibre so precious it was once reserved for Inca royalty, has been a part of our story for 173 years. The distinctive rich, caramel colour and soft, luxe handle set this natural wool apart from all others. Its rarity makes Vicuña the Rolls Royce of fibres – the jewel in our crown for almost two centuries....


Our Vicuña Scarves and Stoles are incredibly lightweight and super soft, draping beautifully, whether worn around the neck, shoulders or loosely over your outfit and fastened with a belt. Perhaps the most appealing aspects of our Vicuña accessories are their exclusivity and instantly recognisable toffee-like hue.

The Inca revered this unusually fine wool, and only royalty was permitted to wear it. Sources say the Inca believed the Vicuña to be a reincarnation of a beautiful young woman who received a coat of pure gold as a gift from a king.

The featherlight nature of Vicuña makes it a pleasure to wear, and it boasts superb insulating properties. It is also durable and remarkably smooth.


Vicuña, exclusively native to the Central Andes in Peru, South America, are the smallest member of the camel family, considered to be a wild ancestor of the alpaca. They are shy, alert and fast-moving herbivores, living at altitudes of between 3,200 and 4,800 metres. The incredibly fine fibres of the Vicuña's thick, soft coat contain tiny scales, which interlock and trap insulating air, making this an exceptionally warm material for stoles, scarves and clothing. The Vicuña's body traps the sun's heat during the day to keep them warm during the night.

Vicuña are shorn in the wild and released back into their natural habitat. Shearing takes place in Spring every 2-3 years, with a single Vicuña yielding around 0.5kg of fleece.

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James Johnston began experimenting with Vicuña fibre in 1849, and in 1851 won an award for Vicuña shawls at the Great Exhibition in London, a world fair promoting and celebrating various industries of the time, including textiles.

Former Johnstons of Elgin Chairman ES Harrison described Vicuña as 'the finest and softest wool in existence' and detailed its colourfast nature. To this day, we don’t bleach or dye Vicuña, utilising its natural hue in our designs.

Johnstons of Elgin Vicuna Stole being worn by a male model in a hessian suit on a dark brown background

In the 1940s, ES Harrison wrote about this exceptional fibre, 'Of all the natural colours I know, Vicuña is the fastest and shows the least variation. So strong is the colour that only very dark dyed shades can be produced, and it is difficult to get even a black that does not show a shimmer of brown or a navy that is not a little peacock in tone.'

After 173 years, Vicuña remains a highlight of our collections, with scarves and stoles woven in this unique fibre inside our own Scottish weaving mill. A true touch of opulence for any wardrobe. Explore our exquisite Vicuña accessories online and instore.

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