Cashmere is made from the soft fleecy under layer of a goat’s coat. These particular goats live mainly in Mongolia and China, a region characterized by wide temperature fluctuations between seasons. Cashmere goats adapted to this harsh climate by developing a double fleece: an outer guard layer that protects the undercoat from water, and an undercoat made of ultra-fine hairs with strong insulating properties. This keeps the goats warm in the winter but not too hot in the summer.
The fibers are collected through a very laborious and difficult process and are then divided into different quality ranges, based on thickness, length and colour.Cashmere producers then comb out the valuable product before it is spun and usually dyed all sorts of.
Up in the Himalayas, goats grow very fine hair to keep them warm during the colder Winters, so this fine hair is much better for producing super soft Cashmere. The most luxurious Cashmere wool comes from this area, where the yarn is noted for its long, smooth straight fibres. As well as the thickness of the hairs, the length of the hair makes a difference in Cashmere quality.
The name Cashmere is derived from the location Kashmir, where the fibre was originally produced as far back as the 13thcentury. In the 1500’s to the 1800’s, emperors from Iran and India used cashmere shawls in religious ceremonies and political proceedings, for example in the Mughal Indian courts. Cashmere has a long and rich history, particularly in Europe where its popularity has soared over the last 500 years. It began being imported into Scotland in the 18th century, after a Scottish manufacturer discovered the Cashmere shawls in India. Since then, its use in the textile industry has increased dramatically, defining its luxury status.
Quality cashmere is not only the finest, softest and warmest yarn, but it is also a very durable product, which can easily last 10 years and over 200 wears when taken care of properly. Differently from wool, cashmere improves with wears and hand-washes, by becoming softer and developing a slightly fluffy layer, and keeps its shape much better over the years.