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Frequently Asked Questions

 
 
Q: Why doesn't Dittrich Furs have internet shopping?
A: Dittrich Furs does not have internet shopping due to the nature of fur and fur quality. It is virtually impossible to determine the quality of a fur coat from a verbal description or a picture on a computer screen. There is also no reliable way to rate or descibe the quality of a fur, other than side-by-side comparisons. This is because, unlike products such as diamonds, there are no quantifiable (measurable) characteristics of furs.
There is an enormous amount of knowledge that is needed to determine fur quality and this is much more easily conveyed in person with the use of examples. We want our customers to know exactly what they are purchasing. This is why Dittrich Furs does not sell, and highly recommends against purchasing, fur garments over the internet or from mail catalogs.
 
 

 
 
Q: Isn't fur something that would appeal to my grandmother more than me?
A: No Way! Check out our Fur Fashion section.
 
 

 
 
Q: Is fake (faux) fur a practical alternative to real fur?
A: No. Fake fur is a petroleum based product manufactured just like carpet (the same stuff that covers the floors of your home). It looks and feels like carpet, although made with a lighter woven backing. Due to the woven backing it has no wind-blocking properties as does real fur. Granted faux fur hits a much lower price point, but it lacks the look, feel and luxuriousness of real fur. And, as with all petroleum based products, it is detrimental to the environment. It's production process is damaging to the land and wildlife. Also, it is not biodegradable and can take hundreds of years to molecularly break down and return to the Earth. Real fur is biodegradable and a renewable resource. It's production process has one of the lowest rankings or environmental impact of any product.
Plus, there's something positive to be said for people who never "fake it!"
 
 

 
 
Q: When is it appropriate to wear fur?
A: The "for special occasions only" attitude is a thing of the past. Wear your fur everywhere, at any time with the assurance that you’ll stay warm and look great wherever you go.
You don't even have to wait for winter anymore! Warm weather fashions are available year-round such as; feather-weight jackets, vests, crop jackets, shawls, capes, wraps, fur-trimmed jeans and more.
 
 

 
 
Q: How long should my fur last?
A: As long as you purchase a good quality fur from a reputable furrier it should last long enough to more than justify the cost. Although the longevity of fur varies from one type to another, a good quality mink coat, with proper care (storage and cleaning every year) can last much longer than 20 years.
 
 

 
 
Q: When is the best time of the year to buy a fur?
A: When your ready. Prices of fur remain consistent year around. Market prices do fluctuate, but this can happen at any time.
(note: fur pelts are bought by manufacturers at international auctions by almost every nation in the world, when demand exceeds supply, prices go up, when supply is greater than demand prices go down)
 
 

 
 
Q: Occasionally I see 70-90% OFF sales, is there money to be saved at these events?
A: Unfortunately, no. If a retailer was actually offering this kind of discount they are either selling below their cost and wouldn't be in business very long or they subscribe to the dishonest practice of "marking up to mark down". This is the practice of marking up a retail price to ridiculous levels to give the false impression to the buyer that they are getting a larger discount. At Dittrich Furs, we consider this method of marketing as illegitimate and do not subscribe to such methods. (Please read the next question)
If a retailer is actually marking down their products this much, chances are they are offering defective goods or products that have been in inventory for a long time that they just want to get rid of. Although, this might be a good deal for both the buyer and the seller, the customer must keep in mind that the life of the garment is greatly reduced.
 
 

 
 
Q: How can I be sure that I am paying a fair price for a fur garment?
A: What matters is the final price. Ignore the discount or the "percentage off". Shop around and compare the garment to others of equivalent qualities.
For example: Furrier #1 offers you a mink coat with a retail price of $4850 at 30% Off for $3400. Furrier #2 offers you a mink coat that is marked with a retail price of $17,000 and is marked down 80% to $3400. Ignore the 30% and 80% discounts, these coats are most likely equivalent. You must look at the fur quality of the mink and the overall style and fit of the garment. (Click here to view fur attributes to compare) Don't think furrier #2 is giving you a GREAT deal just because they offered you an 80% discount.

Buyer beware! A store that offers 50% off all the time probably isn’t really quoting a sale price, but what should be considered a regular retail price. At Dittrich’s the retail price is as low as possible all of the time, when we have a promotion it is truly a sale (a special savings retained by Dittrich's and passed on to YOU, the customer).
 
 

 
 
Q: Why does one Mink coat cost $3,999.00 and another cost $30,000?
A: Not all mink coats are alike. There are a wide range of fur qualities and manufacturing processes. Skin origin, size, length and sweep all affect the cost of a garment. If you see a mink coat or jacket advertised for $500-$2999 you are most likely purchasing defective, inferior, old or low-quality merchandise. In addition, you are probably still paying too much for what you are getting, caveat emptor (Buyer Beware!)

Tricks used to sell an inexpensive mink coat include:
  Manufacturing from inferior materials that may have bare spots that will become visible as the garment is worn.
  Manufacturer has left undesirable parts of the skins intact to save material costs.
  Made from low quality skins and heavily dyed to cover poor color and skin matching.
  Sale of old inventory that would be considered past its "shelf life".
  Not clearly stating items for sale are used (previously owned).
 
 

 
 
Q: Can I save money by buying in Canada?
A: No. Canadian retailers pay the same amount for their retail goods as do American retailers, only in Canadian currency. Fur material is purchased on a world market, currencies must be converted with each transaction.
For example, if an American retailer pays $1000 US and a Canadian retailer pay $1500 CAN, ($1000 US = $1500 CAN) for merchandise, equivalent costs are calculated into the final retail price no matter which currency is used. In other words, there are no savings being passed to the final retail customer.
In actuality, foreign companies usually have greater expenses for shipping and customs which have to be reflected in the final price offered to the retail customer.
The only way to buy for less is to purchase lower quality goods and inferior service.
 
 

 
 
Q: I want to buy a fur coat, but am not sure I can afford it, what can I do? Can I finance the purchase of a new fur coat?
A: Set a date for shopping. Try on as many fur coats as you can that fit your taste and lifestyle. Go for the best quality coat in your price range. You will probably be surprised by what you can afford after you sit down with Dittrich’s Credit Manager. We do all of our financing in-house. You help us determine a plan that best suits your financial situation.
 
 

 
 
Q: If I buy a garment from Dittrich Furs what does the price include?
A: Standard alterations (with purchases over $800, some exceptions may apply for purchases under $800)
Monogram (with purchases over $800)
Certificate of appraisal
I.D. Tag
A lifetime relationship with Dittrich Furs and superior service.
 
 

 
 
Q: What do all of the different labels in Fur Coats mean?
A: In addition to designer labels there are several different labels that are put in mink coats that assure high levels of quality. Currently there are several labels to look for:

  Royal Dynasty - The highest standard in quality Ranch Mink coats certified by a committee of fur industry leaders. This certification takes into account, not only the quality of the fur pelts but, style and craftsmanship also. Only a few coats are given this prestigious award each year and every Royal Dynasty has it’s own certification #. Available ONLY at Dittrich Furs in Michigan.
  Blackglama - Label that is given to the top quality mink skins sold through the Seattle fur auctions. This label assures that coats made from these pelts are of upper-end quality.
American Legend – A rating system used for mink pelts sold through the North American Fur Auctions. There are 3 levels to the rating system; 3-Star, 4-Star and 5-Star which represents the highest quality sold through this specific auction house.
  Black Diamond - A retailer owned label that has no official bearing on quality or craftsmanship.
  Dittrich Furs - Label sewn into all garments sold by Dittrich Furs. This label assures that the garment has passed our rigorous product inspection, guaranteeing the product is of exceptional value and has passed Dittrich's strict quality standards.
  Furcare.org - a consumer advocacy label to ensure proper knowledge is given to fur consumers on proper care of fur garments. (see www.furcare.org) Only fur coats sold by furriers CERTIFIED by Furcare.org have the right to distribute these labels in their merchandise.
 
 

 
 
Q: I keep hearing about male and female pelts, what's the difference? Does it affect price?
A: To begin, the difference between male and female pelts only comes into play with Mink and Fisher. It also refers to the gender of the animal, not to as whether a man or a woman wears the finished garment.
Female pelts are much smaller that male pelts and create a narrower striping in the final garment than male pelts. Male pelts usually have thicker leather which causes the final garment to weigh slightly more than a garment made of female pelts. Typically, (but far from always) female pelts have a lower nap (creating a more velvety appearance) which is more desirable in a finished garment.
As far as price is concerned it, depends on current international market values to as which, male or female, will cost more. Female pelts cost less money to buy at auctions because they are smaller, but it takes more female pelts to manufacture a garment because of their smaller size. Because of this, garments made from female pelts will typically be more expensive than those made from male pelts. In US markets there is a higher demand for fur garments made from female mink pelts due to their characteristics, this also causes the prices of such to be higher.
 
 

 
 
Q: What is a "Black Diamond" mink?
A: "Black Diamond" is a retailers label. However there are several different labels that are put in mink coats that assure high levels of quality. Currently there are several labels to look for:
  Black Willow - Label that comes with skins from a specific mink ranch in Utah that produces the finest quality mink skins available.
  Blackglama - Label that is given to the 35-40% top quality mink skins sold through the Seattle fur auctions.
  Royal Dynasty - The highest standard in quality Ranch Mink coats certified by a committee of fur industry leaders. This certification takes into account, not only the quality of the skins but, style and manufacturing also. Each label has it’s own certification #. Available only at Dittrich Furs in this area.
 
 

 
 
Q: What is the "nap"?
A: All fur consists of two parts, or layers. There is a short, fuzzy layer called the "underfur" and longer, shiny hairs more sparsely spread out called the "guard hairs". The distance between the top of the underfur and the tip of the guard hairs is called the "nap". Nap is only relevant in regard to shorter hair furs such as mink.
Using mink as an example: The higher, or longer, the nap is, the harrier the coat will look. The shorter the nap, the more velvety the garment will appear.
 
 

 
 
Q: I have an old fur that I inherited and has been hanging in the closet for a long time. Since I no longer wear it, what can I do with it?
A: Dittrich Furs recommends the following suggestions to use or dispose of an unneeded fur garment.
 

1.) The best option and greatest value can be obtained by trading it in on a new Dittrich fur fashion item. Dittrich furs accepts used fur trade-ins year-round. Although Dittrich Furs does not buy or sell used furs we are pleased to be able to provide this as an option due to our ability to sell used fur garments in bulk to wholesalers that deal in used furs and "spare part" matching.
Typically used furs have little to no value due to the fact that they are first, used clothing, and secondly are a biological product that biodegrades over time which limits the length of its useful product life. Your trade-in allowance is usually several times its actual $$ value when sold outright in the private market and even more than what you can get for it via resale and pawn shops.

  2.) Dittrich Furs can remodel or resize your older fur into an updated style to suit your taste.
This is usually an extremely economical and useful option, and the posibilities are endless.
We can shear your tired looking fur for an updated look. Or, we can remodel your fur garment into an updated style by, for example, removing shoulder pads, narrowing the sleeves and body and restyling the collar. Sometimes even small update such as shortening a full length coat into a 7/8 car coat and adding cuffs can turn your fur coat that hangs in the closet into your favorite outerwear item by reducing its weight and making it more practical for getting in and out of the car, as well as turning it into a versatile fashion item that can be both "dressed up" for a formal affair or "dressed down" for a casual evening.
Other options could include turning your fur coat into bomber jacket or stylish vest. You could also have your fur coat or jacket turned into several heirloom Fur Teddy Bears or throw pillows. Turn your fur garment into a vest and use the left over material to trim a hat, jeans, pants, sweaters, cloth coats and jackets, etc. Turn your fur garment into a fixed or detachable lining for a rain/trench coat.
 

Other Suggestions:

  3.) Give it as a gift to friends or family.
  4.) Sell it privately, to an aquaintance or either via the newspaper or internet classified ads (i.e. craigslist.com) or an online auction site (i.e. ebay.com). Please visit either Dittrich Furs location with your item so we can give you an idea of what to ask for as a selling price.
[Please note that Dittrich Furs does not endorse any of these methods or individual internet sites and only offers the above as a suggestion to begin your own research.]
  5.) Give it away to charity to use as an itemized tax deduction. (Please visit our store or call so we can give you an accurate and current value on which to base your deduction.)
  6.) Take it to a resale or pawn shop and have them sell it for you. While this option usually offers the least amount of $$ for your item, it is typically more convenient than selling your fur item yourself.
 
 

 
 
Q: How much is my fur garment worth?
Is my fur a good quality?
A: Unfortunately it is impossible for us to tell from a description or picture. We need to examine your garment in person. You can either bring it to one of our two locations or ship it to our Detroit location (we will have to charge for return shipment) where our managers will use over 100 years of expertise to examine it, at no charge. We will be able to tell you approximate age of the garment, condition, quality level and an approximate "fair market value" value and/or retail value.
We offer retail replacement Appraisals for insurance purposes and Letters of Valuation for estate or tax purposes.
 
 

 
 
Q: What is the difference between an "appraisal" and a "fair market value"?
A: A "fair market value" takes into account the age and condition of a garment and is the amount for which it should be sold privately. An Appraisal is an official certificate stating the current replacement cost of the garment. (retail price to purchase that exact same garment as a new item.)
The fair market value is usually used for estate and tax purposes.
Dittrich Furs offers Certificate of Appraisals and letters stating a fair market value for individual garments. Our appraisal certificates are accepted by U.S. and Canadian taxing authorities and insurance companies worldwide.
If you would like to know what you should sell your fur garment for via a private sale (such as in the classifieds) we can help you with that also. This is usually a verbal assessment and there is no charge for this service.
(For any of the above values, garments must be brought into Dittrich’s for a manager’s examination)
 
 

 
 
Q: Do furs appreciate or gain antique value?
A: Unfortunately, furs do not appreciate in value with age. Like most used clothing, it depreciates greatly upon the first wearing. Their value comes from your enjoyment of pure and practical luxury and warmth..
Take care of your garment properly to keep it looking great for years to come with Dittrich’s storage and cleaning.
 
 

 
 
Q: I bought my coat elsewhere, can I bring it to Dittrich’s for cleaning, storage, insurance, appraisals, or any other service?
A: You most certainly can. We would appreciate your business!
(To check out our available services please click here.)
 
 

 
 
Q: Should I insure my fur garments?
Does Dittrich Furs offer insurance?
A: Yes, it is important to protect your investment. Dittrich Furs offers the most comprehensive alternative to Insurance available at for very low rates. Dittrichs FUR REPLACEMENT CERTIFICATE entitles you to full replacement value of your fur toward the purchase of a new Dittrich fur with no deductible and no depreciation. Your fur is covered for all risk of loss such as fire, theft, vandalism and accidental damage. Our certificate covers your furs world-wide and while in possession of third parties.
Plus… FREE COLD STORAGE (in and out as many times during the year as you wish) & FREE PICK UP and DELVERY is included with your policy.
 
 

 
 
Q: Why is it important to store and clean my coat every year?
A: Cleaning your fur removes everyday dust and air pollutants from the hairs, keeps the leather soft and revives the sheen and luster of the fur. This process slows down the evaporation of the natural oils in your fur lengthening the useful life of the garment. Please see our section on fur cleaning under "services".
Cold storage (approx. 34° F) protects your fur from the summer’s heat and humidity. Heat is a furs worst enemy, drying out the leather skins and subtracting from the life of the garment. Low humidity can dry out the skins and high humidity can cause "dry-rot" in the leather. Proper storage facilities are temperature, humidity and light controlled. They are also impervious to other dangers that may threaten your fur garment, such as insects and vermin. Please see our section on fur storage under "services".
Wherever you may store your fur garments it is important to ask to see the vaults. You should certain your coats are being stored in adequate facilities. If your furrier's facilities consist of an air conditioned room you are throwing your money away!
For information or caring for your fur please reference www.furcare.org.
 
 

 
 
Q: How often should I have my fur coat cleaned?
A: Fur experts recommend cleaning your coat at least once a year, even if it has not been worn. If you wear your fur a lot, then it is recommended to clean it twice, once during the winter season and once during the summer.
Fur attracts dust and pollutants in the air. These substances get caught in the hair and absorb the natural oils from the pelts like a sponge. This causes them to dry out and become stiff and brittle. When your coat is cleaned these substances are removed, slowing the inevitable drying process. Cleaning and storing your fur every year could be the difference between your coat lasting 8 years or 20+ years.
 
 

 
 
Q: Where should I have my fur coat cleaned?
A:

By an Authorized Furrier only. Trust your investment only to experts who know their business. The cleaning of fur is an entirely different process than cleaning any other material. The dry-cleaning process severely damages fur material. Most dry-cleaners either send their customers furs to furriers, or in some cases, due to their lack of knowledge, damage their customers items by dry-cleaning their furs.
For more information, and to locate an Authorized Fur Care Specialistsm please visit www.furcare.org.

(Note to Drycleaners: Dittrich Furs offers wholesale cleaning services. We can also provide repair work for any fur garment damaged from the drycleaning process. Please contact Dittrich Furs by phone for further details.)

 
 

 
 
Q: Why is Cold Storage so important? Why 34°F?
A:

Remember that your fur is a biological product that biodegrades over time. There is nothing you can do to stop this biodegradation, but you can slow it down.
The goal is to bring the garments temperature to as close to freezing as possible, without actually freezing it. The colder the temperature, the slower the degradation. Freezing a fur would actually stop the process entirely, but a cycle of freezing and thawing would cause damage to both the leather and the fur itself. (think about all the potholes that appear in the roads during the spring.) Temperatures above 38°F begin to loose its effectiveness as cold storage. Temperatures in the 40's and 50's are not effective at all.
For information or caring for your fur please reference www.furcare.org.

 
 

 
 
Q: Where should I hang my fur garment at home?
A:

To increase your furs longevity just follow these simple rules...

Keep your fur in a ventilated closet. Keep it away from any heat sources. Limit its exposure to light (both artificial and sunlight). NEVER keep your fur in a cedar closet or near mothballs. Attics and basements are usually too humid. Use a hanger with wide shoulders. Under NO circumstances should you ever put a fur garment in a refrigerator or freezer!
Do not keep it in a bag. Cloth and paper bags will cause crushing and wear. In addition to wear, plastic bags will prevent air circulation, causing your fur to dry out.

DO NOT STORE FUR GARMENTS IN A BAG OF ANY MATERIAL INCLUDING BREATHABLE CLOTH, PLASTIC, ETC.
GARMENT BAGS SHOULD BE USED FOR TRAVELING PURPOSES ONLY!

For information or caring for your fur please reference www.furcare.org.

 
 

 
 
Q: Should I keep my fur in a cedar closet or with mothballs?
A:

Absolutely not. Cedar absorbs moisture from the air. It is a natural de-humidifier. Keeping fur or leather products in a cedar closet will dry out the leather and quickly shorten the life of the garment. In addtion, fur will absorb the odor from the cedar.
Mothballs chemically react with the natural oils in fur and leather causing it to effectively dry out and molecularly breakdown. The smell will also permeate the leather and will be very difficult, if not impossible, to remove.

For information or caring for your fur please reference www.furcare.org.

 
 

 
 
Q: Why do I need a lining protector?
A: It costs less ($26.50) to protect your lining than to replace it ($300.00 to $900.00). Most linings are made from a silk and satin blend. As luxurious as these materials are, they retain stains rather stubbornly.
 
 

 
 
Q: What should I do if my coat gets wet?
A:

It's OK to wear your fur in snow or light rain. (remember that animals wear their fur in the rain). The natural oils in fur are resistant to water. If the fur gets wet shake it out and hang it in a well ventilated place (away from heat).
Don’t let snow and rain keep you from wearing your fur!

IMPORTANT: If it should get soaked completely through to the leather side and feels "water-logged" 1.) seal it in a plastic bag, and 2.) immediately take it to a reputable fur retailer with an on-site Master Furrier.
Special attention will be required to assure that the pelts do not shrink or mis-shape.

 
 

 
 
Q: I'm doing a school project, do you have any information or materials I can use?
A: Contact us for information about what organizations to contact and other possible resources.
Note: this FAQ section may also be of use to you.