How to Become an Expert at Identifying Real Fur

Pologeorgis Furs

Posted on September 18 2023

How to Become an Expert at Identifying Real Fur

Fur has long been a symbol of luxury and warmth. However, with the rise in popularity of faux fur, it can be challenging to determine whether the fur you are purchasing is real or synthetic.

So, in this article we will explore the basics of fur, the importance of identifying real fur, its characteristics, the best methods in identifying real fur, and the legal aspects of the fur trade. But before diving into the details, let’s take a closer look at what fur is, and its main types. 

What is Real Fur?

Real fur is a natural and sustainable material that has been used by humans for centuries that is derived from animals such as mink, fox, rabbit, chinchilla, and sable, and is known for its exceptional warmth, softness, and durability.

Each type of fur has its own unique characteristics and qualities. From the luxurious texture of mink fur to the fluffy hair of fox fur, there is an option for every fashionista out there! So, to further understand how these types of furs differ from each other, let’s take a look at the main types out there. 

The 5 Main Types of Fur

Understanding the different types of fur is essential to identifying real fur. So let’s take a closer look at the main types of furs available in the market and their differences. 




It comes from mammals that are bred for their fur, which has a luxurious texture and sheen, and is often found in high-end fashion items.


It is known for its long, fluffy hair that is frequently used as trim in collars and cuffs, and it is prized for its colorful beauty and warmth.


It is normally softer and more affordable, making it suitable for a wide range of products, from hats to gloves.


It is incredibly dense, with more than 50 hairs growing from a single follicle, which gives it its unique softness and warmth.


It is considered one of the most luxurious furs available, given they are known for their silky texture and rich, dark color.

Whether it's the opulence of mink fur or the affordability of rabbit fur, there is a fur option for every taste and budget. However, to further understand why these furs are so valuable, let’s take a closer look at their characteristics. 

The 3 Main Differences Between Real and Synthetic Fur

Real fur exhibits several physical characteristics that set it apart from synthetic alternatives. So let’s take a look at these characteristics to further aid you in the identification process: 

  1. Real fur is often soft, plush, and has a natural flow, as synthetic fur tends to feel unnaturally smooth, and lacks the same lifelike texture.
  2. Real fur comes in various shades and patterns, normally limited to black, brown, red, gray, and silver. 
  3. Each fur coat has a unique combination of colors and markings, as synthetic fur tends to have a more uniform and artificial appearance. 

When examining a fur garment or accessory, it is important to pay attention to these physical characteristics, as they can provide valuable clues about the authenticity of the fur. Now let’s take a look at why it’s important to identify real fur. 

The Importance of Identifying Real Fur

Identifying real fur is crucial for multiple reasons, so let’s get into these reasons to further understand how identifying the real thing can help you from getting a faux. 

1) The Ethical Sourcing

There are ethical considerations surrounding the fur trade, and by being able to identify real fur, you can support the ethical practices that preserve these animal species. Look for certifications such as the Fur-Free Retailer Program, as they ensure that the furs are sourced responsibly and ethically by following strict guidelines for animal welfare.

2) The Longevity 

Identifying real fur allows consumers to assess the quality and durability of their purchase, given real fur possesses superior qualities, such as its natural insulation and resistance to wear and tear, that allow them to withstand the test of time, ensuring a longer lifespan.

3) The Timeless Aesthetic

Real fur provides a luxurious and timeless aesthetic that synthetic alternatives often struggle to replicate. The natural beauty and texture of fur add a touch of elegance and sophistication to any outfit or home decor.

4) The Local Support

Identifying real fur also allows individuals to support local artisans and traditional craftsmanship, which contributes to the preservation of these traditional skills and helps sustain local economies that rely on fur production.

5) The Adaptability 

Unlike synthetic materials that may go out of style quickly, fur has stood the test of time as a timeless fashion statement. Real fur pieces can be passed down through generations, becoming cherished heirlooms that transcend fleeting trends.

6) The Prevention of Counterfeits

There have been cases where faux fur has been falsely labeled as real, deceiving consumers who are seeking genuine fur. By being able to distinguish between real and fake fur, you can avoid falling victim to fraudulent practices and ensure that your purchase aligns with your preferences and values.

Now that we have taken a deeper look at why it is so important to be able to identify counterfeit from real fur, let’s take a closer look at how you can achieve this when selecting your fashion piece for your winter wardrobe. 

The Best Methods to Identifying Real Fur

Buying real fur can be a complex decision, as it involves not only personal style preferences but also ethical considerations. By following these tips, you can make a more responsible and sustainable choice: 

  1. Opt for reputable brands that have established a track record of ethical sourcing. 
  2. Look for certifications and labels that guarantee the authenticity and quality of the fur, like the Fur Free Retailer Program.
  3. Research fur farms that prioritize animal welfare and sustainability, as they adhere to strict regulations and standards to ensure the well-being of the animals.
  4. Consider asking questions about the fur's origin, its treatment, and the brand's commitment to sustainability, to gain a better understanding of the brand's practices.
  5. Consider investing in a high-quality fur that is well-crafted and properly cared for to ensure that it lasts for decades.
  6. Take a small sample of fur and carefully burn it, as real fur will singe and smell like burnt hair, while synthetic fur will melt and emit an unpleasant odor. 
  7. Insert a pin into the fur, as real fur will allow the pin to pass through the fur with a little bit of stretch and resistance, while synthetic fur will resist penetration and fray.
  8. To further verify its veracity, inspect the fur under a microscope to look for specific characteristics that are unique to real fur.

Some synthetic furs are designed to closely mimic the look and feel of real fur, making it difficult to differentiate between the two. In such cases, it may be necessary to consult with a fur expert or rely on the expertise of a reputable fur retailer.

The Most Common Misconceptions About Fur

There are several misconceptions surrounding fur, which can lead to confusion and misinformation. So, let's explore a few of these misconceptions to better understand the difference between faux and real fur. 



Synthetic fur is always a more ethical and environmentally friendly practice. 

These materials are derived from non-renewable resources, such as petroleum. 

Misleading labels and marketing tactics used by brands and retailers.

Some organizations, such as the Fur Free Alliance, work to expose brands that engage in such misleading practices. 

By exploring these misconceptions in detail, we can gain a more comprehensive perspective and make informed decisions regarding fur consumption. It is important to consider not only the ethical implications but also the environmental impact and the accuracy of labeling when discussing fur as a material.

The Legal Aspects of the Fur Trade

The legal framework surrounding the fur trade is complex and varies from country to country. Governments around the world have implemented legislation to regulate the industry that aims to strike a balance between preserving cultural traditions and protecting vulnerable species.

One such agreement is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which is an international treaty designed to regulate the trade of fur and protect endangered species. Other international organizations also work towards the conservation of wildlife and the sustainable use of natural resources. 

Furthermore, fur labeling laws exist to ensure transparency, which require accurate labeling indicating whether the fur used is real or synthetic, specifying the type of fur, and its country of origin, allowing consumers to support efforts to combat the illegal trade of fur.

Similarly, the EU Fur Labeling Regulation requires that all fur products sold within the EU be labeled with clear and accurate information about the type of fur used, its origin, and whether it comes from a captive or wild animal.

The legal aspects of the fur trade are multifaceted and aim to protect animals, preserve biodiversity, and ensure ethical practices. International agreements work together to regulate the industry and promote transparency in the fur trade.

Happy Hunting for Your Real Fur

By understanding these laws, consumers can make informed choices and contribute to the responsible and sustainable development of the fur trade. So happy hunting because you are now ready to distinguish real fur from synthetic and make an investment that will last for decades to come. 

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