Cashmere. The noblest fiber in the world

Cashmere blanketCashmere blanket

Cashmere is obtained from the fine undercoat of the cashmere goat. The precious natural material takes its name from the geographical region of the same name in the border region between India, Pakistan and China, where the cashmere goats are native. The animals protect themselves against the extreme cold and humidity with a fleece of long, coarse outer hair - the awn hair - and the smooth, much softer and warming downy hair underneath. The harsher the environmental conditions, the finer the downy hair is formed. It is particularly precious because an animal produces only about 100 to 200 grams of this fine undercoat per year, which is carefully combed out and selected by hand. It is then thoroughly cleaned and sorted by color - in various natural shades from darkbraun to gray and beige to almost pure white. Producing countries today include China and Mongolia, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey and, more recently, New Zealand, Australia and Scotland.

The properties of cashmere

Cashmere, like alpaca, yak and camel hair, belongs to the noble hair. Cashmere is one of the softest, finest and lightest animal fibers, but also one of the most expensive. Depending on the quality, a kilogram of cashmere raw material can achieve a market value of up to 200 euros: the longer and finer the hair, the lower the proportion of remaining awn hair and the lighter the color, the higher the price. However, why it is worth investing in textiles made of cashmere, we explain below: - Cashmere is unusually skin-friendly and does not scratch. It feels even softer and smoother on the skin than wool. The reason for this is the different scale structure of the fiber. The scale height of fine hair is only half that of wool fibers - Thanks to the low inherent weight of downy hair, textiles made of cashmere are feather-light and soft-flowing. At the same time, the material is incredibly warming. Cashmere can store heat up to six times better than wool - Cashmere is breathable. The fiber can absorb up to a third of its own weight in moisture and quickly wicks it back to the outside. This makes clothing and blankets made of cashmere or bedding with cashmere filling ideal companions for summer and winter - Cashmere is naturally odor- and stain-resistant. So washing the garments is usually not necessary at all. They can simply be aired out in the fresh air.

Quality criteria

There are four criteria by which a really good cashmere quality can be recognized: - The fiber length is usually between 15 and 75 millimeters, the fiber fineness at diameters between 14.5 and 19 micrometers. The fiber fineness of cashmere is measured by the proportion of awns, i.e. the outer hairs that remain in the down despite the most careful cleaning. In the top qualities, this percentage is less than 0.5 percent, but depending on the intended use, the awn percentage can be as high as two percent. - Finally: the color. Natural white cashmere fetches the highest prices, but it is very rare because there are only a few light - or even white - goats in the many herds. Some producers therefore bleach the by far cheaper darkbraune downy hair "beautifully white", with corresponding negative consequences for the material quality. The fact that a cashmere is natural can be recognized by the small sprinklings of darker hair - not a defect, but a characteristic of the highest quality.

Selected products with cashmere

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