The thirst for exotic ornament among fashionable women in the metropoles of Europe and America prompted a bustling global trade in ostrich feathers that flourished from the 1880s until the First World War. When feathers fell out of fashion with consumers, the result was an economic catastrophe for many, a worldwide feather bust..
Ostrich feathers were valuable commodities at the beginning of the twentieth century, their value per pound almost equal to that of diamonds.
Ostrich feathers, it seemed, could be found wherever there were arbiters of style: a consignment of £20,000 worth of the plumes was lost during the sinking of the Titanic.
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