Where does cashmere come from?
Where does cashmere come from
Learning that cashmere comes from a goat probably does not add to its intrigue. Knowing however, the many steps that are taken to obtain that very special fiber may actually increase its appeal.
These particular goats have a double fleece that has two distinct layers. One is very soft and is the undercoat. The outer or guard coat is much more coarse. In order to produce cashmere, the goat must be de-haired. This will allow the undercoat to be used in the production of cashmere.
The Kashmir or down goat is the source of the down that is used to produce the fiber for clothing and other textiles. The production of cashmere is primarily done in China and Mongolia. The northwestern provinces of China which includes Inner Mongolia, among others and Mongolia itself are the primary countries that produce this luxurious fabric.
The large amount of goats in that area allows the production of this high end export that is vital in the economical status in some of the provinces.
In Mongolia and China the hair is removed by hand with a comb. The coarse hair is removed and used for things other than the production of textiles. It is often used in brushes and other functions other than apparel. By using this hand combing method, there is a greater yield of the pure cashmere. Shearing of the goats mechanically results in a more coarse fiber and lower cashmere production.
Mongolia produces over three thousand tons of cashmere each year. The total annual production of all countries that produce cashmere is between fifteen and twenty tons. China is the primary source, Mongolia is the second largest producer. This number includes the total yield from the goats.
Pure cashmere, which has all of the coarse fiber removed, yields about 6500 tons each year. The cashmere is dyed and spun into yarn that will be woven into textiles and made into apparel. While the natural colors of cashmere are white, brown and gray, the process of dying will produce a huge variety of colors that can be used.
Of the five hundred grams of fiber that is produced by each goat, only 150 grams are the luxurious underdown.
There are two different types of cashmere. Virgin cashmere is that which has not been processed in any way. It has not been dyed or woven into textiles and is experiencing it for the first time.
Recycled cashmere are fibers that are reclaimed from scraps that were either felted of woven and may or may not have been used by consumers around the world.
This amazing fabric is worn with style and pride. It is soft and comfortable and will produce a lot of warmth during the chilly spring and autumn evenings and very warm during the winter months. It is an investment in your apparel, but well worth it if you consider the quality and the durability of the well cared clothing or blankets that result.