CASHMERE

STORY OF CASHMERE

Cashmere gets its name from Kashmir region of Himalayas. The wool of cashmere goats (Capra Hircus Laniger) grazing in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia and Inner Mongolia region of China was brought to Kashmir and processed to make the finest shawls called Pashmina. As the Europeans started to learn and enjoy this fine material, they called it cashmere in reference to Kashmir region. 

Cashmere goat lives through the -30C winters and then +40C summers of Gobi Desert, producing the finest and the softest natural product with excellent insulation quality ever known.  Under the thick coat of wool, they make the fine wool of fleece to protect themselves against the bitter cold. In spring the shepherds and their families start the process of laborious work of combing the precious under fleece from their goats.  Raw cashmere is sorted by hand to remove the impurities and then gently washed. 

WHY IS CASHMERE EXPENSIVE?

A mature cashmere goat yields 200-250 gram wool per year. This quantity is further reduced in the processing almost by as much as 2/3. It takes 4-5 goats’ wool to produce an average weight (about 200 gram) sweater.  The process from combing till achieving the actual finished product is laborious and costly. 

Since only certain natural circumstances similar to Gobi Desert are conducive to raise cashmere goats. Worsening climatic change in Gobi Desert also threatens the future of cashmere goat. Increasing demand for cashmere added to the difficult supply conditions result in increase in the price. 

CASHMERE QUALITY

For all the reasons explained above, even the cheapest quality cashmere yarn is more valuable than any other natural fiber. However there are is a wide quality range within the cashmere world. Cashmere is collected in three base colours: Brown, grey and white, white being the most expensive. Cashmere wool has to be separated into coarse guard hair and fine downy hair. At the end of this process, 50% of the wool has been discarded. 
The down is also separated according to length and thickness of the fibre,  longer and thinner the fibre more expensive it is. The difference between  the low quality fibre and  high quality fibre can be as high as 5 times. The most valuable cashmere yarn is made up of fibres reaching 30-35 mm in length and 14-15 micron in girth from white wool.  You can feel the difference of softness by touch. Cheap cashmere made from coarse hair will not have softness of the expensive quality cashmere hair.  

Knitted items from cashmere is usually made from 2 ply yarn to avoid twisting of the garment. Single ply garments loose their shape after wearing. This is nothing to do with the quality of the yarn. The yarn thickness vary according to the finished look aimed by the designer. Yarn thickness is measured by how many yards of wool in a pound and expressed as 26/2, 48/2 etc. We refer to items made from 48/2 thickness wool as “Fine Cashmere” or thinner yarn wool as “Super Fine Cashmere”.  The word “fine” here is used to describe the thickness of the yarn, not the quality. Regardless of yarn thickness, all our cashmere designs are made from the finest quality cashmere wool.