If you are even slightly interested in fashion, you understand that the silky, luxurious feel of cashmere is second to none. Maybe you have experienced cashmere in a high-end boutique and hopefully you already own at least one cashmere garment.
You know how it feels. You understand that cashmere is a coveted fabric. But what exactly is cashmere? The highly sought-after fabric is a cornerstone of luxury fashion. It is unbelievably soft, perfectly insulating and is one of the most valuable natural materials used in the luxury fashion industry today. Cashmere's softness comes from its incredibly soft finish. Silky to the touch, it isn't itchy like typical wool and still provides warmth without the need for multiple layers.
How Is Cashmere Made?
A goat's coat has a soft, fleecy under layer that grows during the winter months to keep the goat warm. Goats who live in extremely harsh, cold environments rely on this coat to protect them from the elements. Once the weather begins to warm, the goat will naturally lose the under layer. At this time, cashmere producers will comb out the cashmere and store it for spinning and dying.
Different types of cashmere are collected from different breeds of goats. To earn the coveted "cashmere" name, the coat must meet a specific criteria. The hairs must measure less than 19 microns and be of a certain quality. Goats used for cashmere are typically roaming in nomadic herds in Mongolia, China and Iran. The temperature fluctuations allow for ideal conditions for cashmere coat growth.
Types of Cashmere
There are several types of cashmere with various characteristics and levels of quality.
Cashmere wool. Originating from the cashmere goat of the Gobi Desert region, cashmere wool is very soft, but also very durable.
Pashmina wool. The Pashmina goat produces coat fibers similar to cashmere, but slightly higher quality.
Grade C cashmere. This level of cashmere is the roughest and least desirable. It is commonly used to make garments that are not in constant contact with skin, since the garment is rougher.
Grade B cashmere. This is considered to be mid-grade and is still less soft and silky than high quality cashmere.
Grade A cashmere. The most expensive type of cashmere, this level of quality is unmistakable and well worth the expense.
Signs of High Quality Cashmere
When it comes to cashmere garments, the higher percentage of cashmere in the fabric, the higher quality cashmere garment. One of the most common ways to spin cashmere is with silk. The process helps to prevent pilling while ensuring that the garment is silky soft.
Cashmere garments that are very tightly knitted with two ply yarn are among the highest quality, also. They will provide the most warmth and be the most durable. Another way to tell that your cashmere is of high quality is to look for bright colors. When very bright hues are achieved with cashmere garments, that is an indicator that the cashmere was very clean and the dying process was top notch. Vibrant colors lets you know that your cashmere is of the highest quality.
Benefits of Cashmere
Cashmere’s most noteworthy qualities are:
If you have not treated yourself to a cashmere garment yet, don't wait another minute.
Here are some beautiful garments from which to choose: