x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Diamonds are a falcon's best friend

If your falcon has an important engagement coming up but nothing to wear, look no further: An Italian company is making jewel-encrusted hoods costing Dh23,000.

Jewel-encrusted falcon hood by Tiroler Goldschmied. Photo courtesy Tiroler Goldschmied
Jewel-encrusted falcon hood by Tiroler Goldschmied. Photo courtesy Tiroler Goldschmied

If your falcon has an important engagement coming up but nothing to wear, look no further.

An Italian jeweller can make it a diamond-encrusted hood, complete with a coat of arms, on demand.

Tiroler Goldschmied, based in Tyrol, northern Italy, said it had has sold "about 10 hoods", ranging in price from €5,000 (Dh23,407) to €47,000 in the past couple of years.

"We have made different coat of arms for Qatar and Bahrain [but] our biggest market is in the UAE," said Hannes Gamper, the chief executive director of Tiroler Goldschmied.

The hoods are an extension of jewellery that the company produces using trophies from hunting expeditions, such as a ring made from a deer's horn or tooth. "From the hunting jewellery we came to falconry," he said.

"I saw these beautiful hoods in the finest leathers and … I had the idea to refine these hoods with diamonds and also the coat of arms and the name of the falconer."

The company spent a year devising a technique to secure the diamonds in place, making sure the hood remained flexible and was not too heavy.

But the process is laborious and one hood can take up to three months to produce,said Mr Gamper.

The most popular combination is black and white leather with diamonds, but the company has also made hoods using stingray, lizard and crocodile skin.

Most of the hoods are used only on special occasions as they last only about five months if used regularly.

"The customer doesn't normally [use] this hood. He uses a cheap hood," said Mr Gamper's wife, Manuela, a marketing executive with the company.

"But it is possible. We have one customer who uses [it more regularly]," added Mr Gamper. "They asked me, what can I do [when it began to look worn]? I said, bring it to me. We will make a new hood with your diamonds."

The hood is considered to be the most important accessory in falconry, as it helps to keep the bird calm. And the ability to remain relaxed remains crucial for even the most fashionista falcon, so a special effort is made to ensure the design does not disturb the bird.

"With diamonds or without diamonds, it is important that the falcon is relaxed," said Mr Gamper. "It is our first priority."

gduncan@thenational.ae