Fine-feathered frauds


In the animal world, the closest thing to gold may be the fluffy underfeathers of the eider duck. The down, which female eiders pluck from their breasts to line their nests, is typically only found in parts of Iceland, Greenland and islands in the St. Lawrence River, and its warmth, softness and rarity make it a coveted filling for duvets—so much so that it costs $1,000 per pound. It’s why, after showing off a clump of eiderdown, Michael de la Place, president of industry group Downmark, gingerly plucks tiny plumules from the air before they float away. And it shows what’s at stake as companies in Canada’s close-knit down industry fight an onslaught of fakes and knock-offs flooding retail stores.

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