Sector Pins Hopes on Golden Fleece

Jim Johnston & Kerstin Lucas

A golden yarn developed by Kiwi scientists and containing pure gold is expected to be sold to wealthy buyers of luxury carpets, rugs and furnishings.

The Aulana-branded wool has been developed by Professor Jim Johnston and Dr Kerstin Lucas of Victoria University after $3 million of research and development.

Prof Johnston and Dr Lucas developed a novel colouring process for New Zealand’s fine merino wool. This colouring process utilises the unique properties of small gold particles as colourant, resulting in a range of colours that don’t wear out or wash out. Nanogold wool also has antimicrobial, antistatic and insecticide properties, making it appealing for use in luxury vehicle and yacht upholstery as well as for high fashion apparel, accessories, interior furnishings and premium carpets.

Professor Johnston, who has a background in sheep farming and owns a farm in Taranaki, likes to work at the interface between university and industry.

“I’ve always looked for ways you can use science to improve some particular natural resource or product,” he says.

The full story can be read here.