We're often asked about our ever increasing range of horn products stocked at Seed, so we thought it would be good to tell you a little about these wonderful pieces and their provenance...
Abbeyhorn, based in Cumbria, was started in 1749, that’s 265 years ago! Since then the range has constantly expanded to suit today’s modern requirements. Each piece is lovingly handmade using traditional techniques by skilled horn carvers – there can’t be many of them around nowadays!
The range is steeped in tradition and heritage offering something truly unique. As each natural piece of horn has it’s own distinct variations as does each item. We love that in particular there are so many wonderful pieces for the dapper gent, gifts for men – horn cufflinks, oh so popular money clips, combs and our tankards/soldiers mugs which have featured in Game of Thrones! Not forgetting the ladies, there’s wonderful jewellery including bangles, earrings and beauty for the home; condiment sets, cheese knives, spoons…
Abbeyhorn uses a variety of natural materials sourced ethically from renewable resources, often recycling a ‘waste’ product from the meat industry and as a result preventing it from ending up in landfill. The majority of finished products are biodegradable and/or recyclable, making a truly ecological product.
Here’s a little about where the majority of horn comes from:
Domestic cattle in the UK are bred so they no longer grow horns, so Abbeyhorn sources it from Ankole Cattle as a by-product of the meat industry in Nigeria. They produce very large distinctive horns with great length and circumference.
Both the male and the female have horns which have thermoplastic properties, once heated it can be manipulated to create many of the products in the range. In natural form it has a rough dull surface, but after sanding and polishing the horn takes on a smooth glossy appearance, it is only at this stage that it’s true colours appear. It can be nearly any colour, generally a light creamy colour, sometimes streaked with white, brown or black patches.
Antler is sourced from the Scottish Red Deer, one of the largest deer species in the UK. It is sourced as a natural by-product of the Scottish deer farming industry. Only the stags have antlers, which start growing in spring at a rate of around 2.5cm a day! In winter, the antlers are naturally shed and new growth begins in the following spring. It often has a rough texture and is usually dark brown in colour but can range from light brown to creamy white.
So now you know more about one of the oldest heritage brands in the UK!