Everything about cashmere wool items
Cashmere wool Cashmere wool is obtained from weaving the hair of the she-goat Capra Hircus, which used to live on the high prairies of Tibet and Himalayan area, essentially in Mongolia. This animal has a very thin, soft and warm wool to protect it from the rough and severe winter weather (temperatures can fall to around –40°C). After the she-goat has lost the hair, or after being sheared, the batch of hair is hand picked (to guarantee a fine quality) cleaned, and woven into threads. The number of used ply makes a quite good idea about the thickness of the pull-over: from thin (2 ply) to very thick (10 to 12 ply).
The Cashmere wool is much softer, warmer and thermal than sheep wool, and you can wear it directly on the skin (sheep wool tends to be too itchy).
When you wear your first Cashmere wool cloth
you will notice a great difference between cashmere and sheep wool – cashmere is many times more comfortable.
History and origin of the Cashmere wool.
According to legend, in the 13th century Marco Polo discovered caves in Mongolia with pictorial drawings representing wild she-goats bred by farmers. The idea suggests that shepherds have been farming she-goats for centuries so it is quite probably that warm garments from this wool could have been created then. This is like a god-given gift for regions where the winter is severely cold. In the 19th century, a completely astonished Europe discovered this precious wool and named it cashmere wool.
You have to climb up to the high Himalayan prairies of the Ladakh and Tibet if you want to find the authentic Cashmere wool. You might then come across the Capra Hircus at around 4000 meters of altitude. Nowadays, this she-goat is not wild any more and is totally bred; you can also hear about it under the “Pashmina” name.
This animal needs to produce a very thick fleece of wool made of very long hair in order to go through the winter season that lasts for a 6 months period.
This extraordinary wool made a very highly famous nomination “Cashmere wool” all around the world.
The collection of Cashmere wool.
In springtime, when the air becomes warmer, the she-goat loses a lot of its hair. This is a very particular time, when the precious wool can be collected.
This collection can be made according to 2 possibilities: either the she-goat is still a wild animal (most of the time in Himalaya) or bred (principally in Mongolia).
In the Himalayan area, a totally ecological method is practised: indeed, when the she-goat suffers from the heat, it used to scratch the skin against the mountain rocks or tough bushes. It helps the wool to skin off, making precious balls of hair (pills) that can be then easily collected by mountain people seeking for this mythically soft hair.
Mongolia is a huge region (it is bigger than France, Germany, Italy and Spain put together). It is the least inhabited region of all the world and as dry as a big desert. Actually you can consider 2 countries: Mongolia itself and deep down Mongolia that refers to a Chinese county. This geographic part gathers from 70 to 80 % of Capra Hircus she-goats world wide livestock.
The breeding remained very rustic but helps to keep for centuries a local and traditional population in place. In Mongolia, the goats are carded and/or sheared. One goat provides by itself around 100 grams of useable Cashmere wool. Consequently, 2 to 6 goats have to be sheared to make one pullover.
Why is it called "Cashmere wool" if the she-goat is not from this region ?
This apparent anomaly occurs because the weaving style for this fabulous fabric was initially developed in India's Kashmir region. Thus, the name of this district became the reference to the texture of this material, and thereby the product itself.
Things have gradually changed since Cashmere was first produced. The Indian market has reduced production, unable to adapt products for substantial output. However, a vast number of tourists still bring back “Pashmina
” as special souvenirs from India; often paying a high price even though the garments are constructed of 100% viscose. Therefore, authentic Cashmere products will always be valuable.
Production of Cashmere wool in the world.
The worldwide production of Cashmere represents only around 0.5 % of all wool production. When this fact is considered it is clear just how special the fabric is.
At this time, production from Himalaya is low. The majority of she-goat breeding takes place in Mongolia, with around 75% of worldwide trading in this material comes from this region.
Iran and Afghanistan are responsible for the remainder of the Cashmere produced for consumption; however, Cashmere from this region is not as well known. Although she-goats tend to be quite easy to rear, breeding becomes difficult in such rough terrains. Therefore, there are few places in the world where she-goats can be raised effectively. For these reasons, Mongolia is certain to remain the primary location for the production of the best Cashmere wool.