What is Cashmere
The term Cashmere is derived from its place of origin- Kashmir. The geographical territory that is located to the far north of Sub Indian continent, temperature in Kashmir is always at its extreme. Goats living in this region have been blessed with special kind of fleece for survival which prevents them from heat in summer and keeps them warm in winter. Cashmere is the under layer of wool that is close to skin which is collected by mechanical de-hairing method from these Kashmere goats.
Each year, during the transitional phase in between winter and summer, the Himalayan goats naturally go through shedding. This is the time when Cashmere is collected from these goats through combing. On the contrary to the popular belief, no goats are sheared or shaved to collect Cashmere.
There are two types of hair on Cashmere goat, the outer coat and underdown hair. Outer coat is not of use. The underdown is combed few times more till the fine raw Cashmere is extracted. The raw Cashmere is then arranged according to the color, texture and length. Longer fibres are considered of better quality. The raw material with diameter not more than 0.019mm is known as Cashmere.
Quality of Cashmere
After the Cashmere has been extracted, it is spun into a thread before preparing garment. The quality of Cashmere varies from 2-ply Cashmere to 4-ply Cashmere to 6-ply Cashmere to 8-ply Cashmere and the number continues till 12-ply Cashmere. 1 thread consists of single-ply yarn. When two single ply yarn is twisted, we get a double ply yarn.
What is difference between 2-ply Cashmere and 12-ply Cashmere
Although the quality of all Cashmere is same, the weight and thickness of Cashmere goes on increasing with the increase in number of ply. Cashmere item price increases with the increase in number of ply used to prepare the product.
Origin and history of cashmere
Cashmere has long been in use by the Himalayan people living in Mongolia, Tibet, Ladakh and Kashmir province. Due to the remoteness, it did not receive world attention until recently.
Characteristics of cashmere
Cashmere is the best of all natural fibres that is exceptionally smooth, highly durable and much comfortable to wear. Cashmere is appropriate for all climates as its insulation properties change with the change in relative humidity in air.
What is the natural colour of Cashmere
Before dying, the original colour of cashmere wool is different versions of grey, white and brown colour.