As you probably know, cashmere is one of the most sought-after fibers in the world, especially for making scarves and sweaters.
It is softer, lighter, and can be up to three times more insulating than sheep wool but you probably know that.
Cashmere gets its name from Kashmir, a small region overlapping India, Pakistan and China
This is the home of cashmere goats, not sheep. These goats are found across the Himalayas where temperatures can drop to -30°C and their freezing cold habitat means that they grow an incredibly thick, warm coat. The wool is combed from the underbellies of these cuties.
Cashmere can only be collected in spring, the season of molting. This small window frame makes the wool quite rare and adds numbers to the price tag.
While a sheep can produce at least 3 kilos of wool each year, a cashmere goat will only give you around 200 grams. It takes between 3-5 goats to knit up one average sized sweater! Socks were the first cashmere product.
Ali Hamadani, a Persian sufi, gifted a pair to the king of Kashmir in the 14th century.
Its fibers provide excellent insulation. The fibers are 6 times finer than human hair, but the fabric is dense, keeping people warm in extreme weathers. The quality of cashmere is graded on its fineness and length and high-quality individual cashmere hairs can be as thin as 14 micrometers.
Cashmere doesn’t stretch or fade. If taken care of properly, it will retain its shape for lifetime. China is currently the largest supplier of cashmere followed by Mongolia.
Cashmere should only be hand washed.