What has four legs, two horns, and fur that can be prized for over $500? A Cashmere Goat!
Mainly found in China and Mongolia, these goats, along with pashmina goats and others, are the source for the highly sought-after cashmere fabric.
We all know about the connotation cashmere provides: the most luxurious of fibers, expensive and delicate, making for a statement piece of the highest caliber. But, many don’t know where cashmere comes from or even how it’s made!
As stated earlier, cashmere is made from cashmere goats primarily, but it can also be made from select goats. Specifically, it is made from the soft underbelly of these goats. The undercoat of the cashmere goat must be separated from the outer layer, so it’s not visible for us to see. A single cashmere goat does not produce a lot. Typically, after processing and getting rid of the grease, dirt, and thicker hairs, you will get about four ounces of fur. That means it takes about four goats to make one sweater.
That means it is one rare fiber. In terms of jewels, cashmere is the clothing industry’s gold or diamond. The United States has to import most of its cashmere from China or Mongolia, where cashmere goats are found (specifically the Gobi Desert).
So, how is it made? First, you must shear a cashmere goat and strip the desired undercoat of grease, dirt, and thicker hairs. This is how the fiber begins to become soft and plush. Then, you dye the fiber to your desired color and aerate the fibers to prevent clumping. One fact about the production of cashmere is that it can’t be treated with harsh chemicals. If the fibers aren’t handled delicately, they lose their softness. Finally, the fibers are carded, which is a process that helps with de-tangling and lines the hairs in thin sheets to be spun into a yarn.
So, why is cashmere so expensive? Well, one factor is its rarity, but also its quality. It is more delicate, lighter, less itchy, more durable, and three times more insulating than your standard wool. In fact, it’s known for being one of the softest fabrics in the world. Plus, when you invest in cashmere, you are investing in a lifetime product. If taken care of correctly, cashmere can be passed down through generations, creating a priceless heirloom. Vintage is always in style!
However, cashmere can come cheap. There is merit in warnings: cashmere products that have been marketed as 100% cashmere but are incredibly cheap have been found to have rat fur or yak hair in them.
So, you have your cashmere product. How do you take care of it?
There are many tips and tricks you can find all over the Internet. Still, we’ve researched the most fundamental points in maintaining your cashmere product.
The first tip is to shave it! We’re not kidding. As is usual with other wool products, pilling, or the formation of fuzzballs, occurs where there is natural friction. These places include the armpit, the shoulder, and other sites. Use a razor blade or a lint roller to gently get those fuzz balls out!
Another tip is to wash it sparingly, meaning don’t wear and wash! Unless your cashmere product is full of sweat and stains, it can last two to three days before needing a wash. However, you can’t wash cashmere like a typical piece of clothing. It’s best to hand wash your cashmere with a mild detergent. Let it soak for about twenty minutes in cold water, turn it inside out, and pop in it the washer for a brief but gentle spin-cycle. Also, don’t use fabric softener! Cashmere becomes softer with time, just like human hair! Instead of drying it in the dryer, lay it flat and let it air dry. Cashmere is at its most delicate when wet. Don’t wring it too; press out the excess water and lay it in a shady spot to dry! Another thing to note is that heat can cause cashmere to shrink, so try to avoid putting it in the dryer unless necessary.
Borregioso has a beautiful collection of Cashmere Scarfs (over ten colors selections). If luxury could be felt it would be Cashmere and if there is one thing a French woman knows best, it’s wearing a scarf! Scarves are the staple of a European woman’s wardrobe, the perfect accessory of every outfit.