Why are kolinsky sable brushes so expensive (A $300 Brush?!)

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The kolinsky sable brush was first designed in 1866 at the request of Queen Victoria and took over a week to create. The reason was that these brushes were handmade, required the right handling skills, and were a time-consuming process. 

While these facts are reason enough to make the brush quite expensive, there’s more to the price of a Kolinsky sable brush than meets the eye. 

What are kolinsky’s sable bristles?

Kolinsky sable bristles are the hairy part of the brush. These hairs are gotten from the tail of the Mustela Sibirica kolinsky, a specie of weasels. 

This Is A Siberian Sable

How kolinsky sable brushes are made

Kolinsky sable brushes are natural hair paint brushes made from trapping sable martens, a specie of Siberian weasels hunted every spring under the guidelines of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). 

Then the guard hair or tail fur is extracted to form the hairy part of the brush head. 

These hairs are then hand-weaved, combed, tied, twisted carefully boiled, ironed, and packaged by skilled brush makers, keeping the hair at a length of 28- and 32-millimeter. Then, it’s time to fix the handle. 

Manufacturers use birch wood handles imported from Italy, then glue the brush into place and crimp the brush heads on the handle with a metal part keeping the bristles attached to the wood. 

Once this process is completed, manufacturers brand and test the brush before putting it up for purchase. 

Where kolinsky sable brushes are made

Most manufacturers produce their kolinsky sable brushes in China. However, some kolinsky brushes are also produced in some parts of Europe. For instance, Princeton Siberia Kolinsky paintbrushes are handmade in Germany.  

The price of a kolinsky sable brush is worth it

A cheap synthetic brush costs under $2, while a Kolinsky brush may cost as high as $300 and more. So, why would anyone pay for a brush that costs over 20 times the price of a synthetic brush? 

The simple answer is that while the Kolinsky brush was created in 1866, manufacturers still utilize the production standards as in the 1860s, from the hand skills to the design, production time, and use of the finest quality hairs. 

The bristles of every kolinsky sable brush are gotten from a Siberian weasel. Technically, a Siberian weasel’s hair cost three times higher than gold. It’s no wonder why the brushes are expensive. 

On the other hand, mastering the hand skills required to make a kolinsky brush takes years of training and practice. Hence, manufacturers won’t always find it easy to hire skilled laborers for a cheap price. 

More than this, kolinsky sable brushes often have a fine pointed tip with a good color-carrying capacity, unlike most synthetic brushes. 

So, if you’re wondering whether the price of a kolinsky sable brush is worth it, the answer is yes. The people, skill, generational knowledge, natural Siberian weasel hair, and high standards manufacturers full into making a kolinsky sable brush means a kolinsky brush is the best painting brush in the market, better than synthetic brushes

Using Kolinsky sable brushes will feel extremely different than Synthetics

When you switch to a kolinsky sable brush, you enjoy a firm and springy paintbrush with excellent paint absorption and offers color retention capacity, so when you paint, your brush does not feel too stiff or frustratingly floppy but bounces well. 

Synthetic brushes have their advantages, some of which are their beautiful tip and ease of maintenance. But, most synthetic brushes don’t have enough spring and firmness to effortlessly paint miniatures and scale models. 

An expensive kolinsky brush will last for long

The biggest benefit of a kolinsky brush is that its natural structure means the hairs will wear out slower than a synthetic brush and therefore, have a longer lifespan. 

Natural hair brushes are quite resistant to fading and can withstand being washed for 10 to 30 years, with only a little care, expensive kolinsky sable brushes can last a lifetime. 

a set of kolinsky sable brushes will be cheaper to get 

The Series 7 line of kolinsky sable paint brushes is one of the most expensive kolinsky sables brushes since they are between $20-$30 per brush.

If you think this price is far too expensive for a single brush, you will gain more when you buy a kolinsky brush in a set.

You can get a kolinsky sable brush sets for the price of one Da Vinci or Winsor and Newton brush. 

‎For instance, the Cheap Joe’s Legend Kolinsky Sable Brush Sets cost $41.57 for five brushes. 

How much are kolinsky sable brushes?

Kolinsky brushes are expensive. They cost between $20 to $300 and more. But, synthetic brushes are far cheaper. You can even get a synthetic brush for less than $2 to paint your miniatures. 

However, if you need a high-end brand offering superior-built kolinsky brushes, Winsor & Newton are the best brands to consider. They offer some of the best sable brushes, notwithstanding the size of the painting miniatures. 

Then again, they aren’t the only good brands out there. Brands like Rosemary % Co, Raphael, Da Vinci, and even Princeton makes some good kolinsky brushes for miniature painting – but their price varies. Consider the following. 

Princeton Aqua Elite Professional Watercolor Brushes$46.49
Series 7 Finest Kolinsky Sable Brushes$25.59 to $30
Escoda Optimo Kolinsky Sable Brush$61.99
Raphael kolinsky sable fine point round brush size 08$ 25.00
Da Vinci Maestro Series 10 Watercolor Brush$49.99
Silver Brush Limited Black Velvet Series $45.38
Rosemary kolinsky sable brush$11.75

If kolinsky brushes are too expensive for you, but you are still looking to get the quality painting they provide, I advise you to consider kolinsky brushes alternatives. They are synthetic paintbrushes that hold the same quality and characteristics as natural hair sable brushes.

Wrapping Up

So, why are kolinsky brushes expensive? 

It is because they are time tasking to produce, require specialist hands with experience to hand-make them, and the process of obtaining the kolinsky bristles can be challenging. Besides this, Kolinsky sable paint brushes are designed with natural weasel hair, unlike synthetic brushes. Hence, they often have high-quality soft bristles, suitable for moving paint and helping painters better control their paint.