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What is Cashmere And Why is it Expensive?

Cashmere products

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Last Update January 10, 2017 Clothes have been an obsession to mankind for thousands of years. What a person wears will determine a big part of what other people think of him, and he thinks of himself.

Which is why there’s an entire science behind the process of clothes manufacturing. And there are dozens, if not hundreds of different raw materials from which the clothes are manufactured.

10 of the best cashmere brands

Of these hundreds of different materials, cashmere is one of the all-time favorites for many people. It remains one of the most sought after materials for clothes manufacturing.

Is cashmere expensive?

Well it’s typically more expensive than other wool.

Why is this so?

We’ll begin by explaining how cashmere is made first.

Where does cashmere come from?

Most people are in fact surprised that the raw material cashmere comes from goats!

That’s right, there is a type of goat that roams mostly within parts of Asia, such as Mongolia, Tibet, Northern India, Iran, Afghanistan and Southwest China.

This is the so-called Kashmir goat (Wikipedia Source).

Every year from March to May these goats go through a process called moulting, and thus they create a certain mixture of coarse hair and fine undercoat.

This mixture in turn is then undergoing a process of dehairing with which there’s a separation of the coarse hair from the fine undercoat.

Finally, the fine undercoat of the Cashmere goats will be dyed and woven into yarn.

Cashmere goat, Himalaya, Himachal Pradesh, India -By Jelle Visser
Cashmere goat, Himalaya, Himachal Pradesh, India – By Jelle Visser

What’s specific about the cashmere fiber is the fact that the Kashmir goat can produce only 4 ounces of it each year, making this fiber extremely rare as compared to other types of hair, for example sheep wool.

It takes the yearly cashmere produce of more than two goats in order to produce a single two-ply sweater.

In order to produce one average-sized 2 ply cashmere sweater, it will need wool from about three to four goats.

Related reading: 17 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Cashmere

In fact, it’s estimated that while there’s a yearly production of over 2.000.000 metric tons of sheep wool, the production of Cashmere is much less than that, coming up to about 6.500 metric tons per year.

By now you should realize why 100% cashmere wool is so rare and unique.

Why is cashmere expensive?

Cashmere is more expensive and sought after has to do with the quality of the fiber.

Namely, clothes made from cashmere are up to 8 times warmer than clothes made from sheep wool, despite being a lot lighter in weight. And to top that off, the cashmere hair is extremely soft to touch, making for a perfect comfort for the person that decides to wear cashmere clothes.

You may now get the impression that the cashmere fiber is unified all throughout the world, and that its quality is always identical. This is not the case, however.

Cashmere products

There are three grades for quality of the cashmere material: grade A, grade B, and grade C.

The general rule of thumb as to the quality of cashmere is as follows: the longer and finer the hair, the better the quality.

As you’ve may realized by now, grade A cashmere is the best quality available for the fiber. Its main characteristic is that it’s 14-15.5 microns thick, and this makes it a lot thinner than cashmere with different grade of quality.

Grade B cashmere is in turn a bit cheaper, but still luxurious enough. It boasts a little worse quality than grade A cashmere as its fibers are around 19 microns thick.

Finally, grade C cashmere is with the worst quality of the three, and in fact is not considered as pure cashmere by many organizations that deal with the issue. The grade C cashmere hair has thickness of about 30 microns, making it a lot coarser than grade A cashmere.

Read our detailed guide about cashmere quality grades.

And as to the quality of the yarn, two ply yarn is generally better than one ply yarn, because of the offset of the torque that exist in a single yarn. Often additional plies are used by people manufacturing cashmere clothes in order to add color or weight, but anything more than two ply yarn doesn’t correspond with an increase of quality.

Cashmere Wool Ply

Cashmere products on the market

Because of the rareness and quality of the cashmere fiber that was mentioned in the previous part of this article, people all throughout the world are interested in buying clothes made from cashmere. You can find a lot of cashmere clothes on the market – sweaters, jumpers, gloves, hats, scarfs etc. Here at Cashmere Mania, we feature only the premium cashmere products by the most recognized cashmere brands in the world.

But whatever you do you mustn’t look out for “bargain deals’ that seem too good to be true, when buying cashmere clothes. If you should happen to run onto an item that’s touted as a cashmere item, with a low price, then you’ll do well to double your vigilance. Pure grade A cashmere tends to be a lot more expensive than mixtures of cashmere and other materials, and cashmere of lower quality.

So if you want to enjoy the benefit of wearing cashmere clothes be prepared to pay up a bigger sum in order to get the best quality.

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