Embarrassed because your peregrine falcon is sporting last seasons’ threads? Are the other falconers making fun of your bald eagle’s naked dome? Does prey hoot and holler when your owl goes in for the kill?
Then you’ve clearly never heard of the art of gem-studded falcon hoods, a fashion trend for your feathered friend that has swept the Arabian Peninsula. Affluent collectors of avian haberdashery come from regions in which falconry was originally practiced for the practical application of hunting food: trained birds of prey would hunt, and then return with small game. This continued until only 60 years ago, when oil was discovered in the region, and the need to rely upon falcons for food ceased. Today, wealthy inhabitants of Dubai and other such prosperous regions continue falconry for sport.
When surrounded by people in a bustling environment not native to the serene, natural habitat these birds are used to, their heightened senses need to be soothed. For this purpose, the falcon hood is traditionally employed to deprive the birds of sight while being handled, and to prevent what would otherwise be an agitating exchange.
These fitted blinding caps have now been elevated from function to fashion, and are among the most sizzling fashion trends of the desert. In their creation, is not uncommon for multiple praiseworthy craftsmen to come together to work on a hood, to ensure that any finished piece will be fittingly regal to crest a feathery companion. Giancarlo Pirrotta, an Italian craftsman, is known for the prized hoods that he creates using a variety of soft, bird-friendly leathers such as stingray, lizard, and crocodile. The caps are then entrusted to the Italian jewelry company, Tiroler Goldschmied, for their final transformation...Through the careful application of stunning gemstones, ranging from pearls to diamonds and more, these hoods become couture as well as comfortable. Each hood created in their workshop is a one-of-a-kind work of art, and ultimately, a princely compliment to this “sport of kings.”