Cuenca hats and Montecristi Hats-the difference

Published: 10th February 2009
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The Panama Hat, as everyone now know is not made in Panama. In fact, it is in Ecuador where thePanama Hatsare weaved. The two Ecuadorian towns of Cuenca and Montecristi are the main producers of the Panama Hats. However, these two towns do not produce the same quality of Panama Straw Hats even though the designs may be close.

So how can you tell the difference between a Cuenca hat and a Montecristi Hat? There are major differences between these two hats. TheMontecristi Hat in quality is much more superior to the Cuenca hats. The Cuenca hats are made much faster so there are weaved in less time than that of the Montecristi Hats. The production level is also much larger and much cheaper to produce and sell. The Montecristi Hat on the other hand can take several months to make. More than quantity, here quality is a real issue. So in production level, the Montecristi Hats are produce less in number each year.

Another difference between the two hats is that the Cuenca hats can have only one shape. The Montecristi Hats on the other hat can have varieties of shapes. A true Montecristi Hat has the ability to re-blocked in any shape. The Cuenca hat does not have that flexibility to change shapes. Once made, the shapes are permanent. Montecristi Hats are made to last a lifetime because the straw is so thin that becomes flexible. The Cuenca hats are made with thicker straw that might break after heavy usage. On the edge of the two hats, it is back weaved. The Cuenca hats do not have a strong back weave like that of the Montecristi Hat.

The Cuenca hats are bleached with chemicals in order to turn the different color tones of the straw into white. The straws will start breaking sooner or later if exposed to the strong sun with poor humidity. The Montecristi hats have a natural straw color and the process involves to be smoked with sulfur and hand washed in water. The process of making the The Montecristi Hats are far more careful and better than the Cuenca hats.

The Montecristi Hats can be custom made to suit the taste of the buyers while the Cuenca hats are not. It is as impossible to tell the difference between a Cuenca hat or a Montecristi Hat unless you are not a hat expert. But one easy thing can help you out is the color and that is the price. The Cuenca hats are mainly white and a lot cheaper. If you find a Montecristi Hat being sold in less than $60 dollars, beware, as no Montecristi Hats are found at this price. With their fine quality, the Montecristi hats are more expensive.

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