Example of Fino Weave in cms
This is not an inch, it's 1 centimeter. Every horizontal line is a millimeter. The price driver is definitely the fineness of weave and for the sake of being realistic and pragmatic I group the weaves in four main clusters. The first thing you should know is that every piece is unique and no two hats will be identical to each other no matter how fine the weave is. The second thing you should know is that there is no global standard of weave parameter-price ratio. There is no regulated "grade" system. The third thing you should know is that the name "Montecristi" is also not a protected denomination and any straw hat can be called Montecristi. Many straw hats not originating in Montecristi are called as such because of the prestige and value the name itself carries. I have been with the artisans in Montecristi following the entire manual process in the production chain to understand the effort involved in each step and what makes the difference between a hat and a master piece. The best objective and simple advice upon judging a hat is to count the knots in edges. Another way is to count the knots along a cm or an inch and compare it to another hat. In some cases you need a magnifying glass but then you have a factual and objective comparison rather than hearing that a hat is "Grade 30" or "Grade 50". Grades, as a true expert, do not tell me anything. I get my measuring band out and start counting the knots to make myself an idea of the quality. Take a measuring band and a magnifying glass to do a proper comparison, then use your analysis to compare to these photographs and make your own conclusions. For the sake of ease I have grouped the weaves in 4 main clusters as a basis for pricing. Other elements go into the pricing though they don't weigh as much. Such are: color harmony of the straws, softness, pattern, amount of work in terms of brim length. For sure, the finer the weave, the longer it takes to complete and the lighter it is. What you see to your right is a genius. He and another gentlemen are known to weave the finest in the world. They have the patience to spend almost a year in one hat. This is the Royal Weave. It means that 2 people out of 7 billion world-wide can own a new Royal per year. Pay attention to the edges of a hat. A Montecristi doesn't need stitching. It never needs a machine at all. We even sow the decoration by hand. Make sure that when you purchase a Montecristi, the seller has evidence of having been to Montecristi and worked along with the artisans in every step of the process.