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What is Cashmere and why is it so expensive?

February 01, 2020 5 min read 2 Comments

What is cashmere? Cashmere is a fiber obtained from cashmere goats, pashmina goats, and some other breeds of goat. It comes from goats which are mostly grown up within Asian areas such as Mongolia, Tibet, Northern India, Iran and Southwest China. It has been used to make yarn, textiles and clothing for hundreds of years. It is an extremely soft, expensive wool that is commonly used in shawls, jumpers and cardigans.

It grows when the weather getting cold in winter, it falls off when the weather turns warm in spring. It naturally adapts to the climate and belongs to a rare special animal fiber.

cashmere from goats

The name Cashmere is derived from the location Kashmir, where the fiber was originally produced in the 13th century. Kashmir region contains several territories that are controlled by India, Pakistan, and China. With a very high altitude, the temperature there is lower than in other places.

Between the 17th to 18 century, A French men, Napoleon, had a war in the Kashmir area, when the war ended, he brought one Kashmir shawl to his wife, then the cashmere began to be popular in Europe.

It quickly turned into a symbol of fashionable living across Europe. It has been a must-have for most fashion aficionados in the wardrobes of rich and royal families in the west since the 18th century.
E.g Empress Josephine of France had more than sixty Kashmir shawls.

Cashmere has a long and rich history, particularly in Europe where its popularity has soared over the last 500 years. It began being imported into Scotland in the 18th century after a Scottish manufacturer discovered the Cashmere shawls in India. Since then, its use in the textile industry has increased dramatically, defining its luxury status.

A number of countries produce cashmere and have improved processing techniques over the years, but China and Mongolia are two of the leading producers as of 2019.

Cashmere is much thinner than wool, and the outer scale is also finer and smoother than wool. Therefore, it is light, soft, and tough. When wearing cashmere products, it is light, soft, soft, smooth, and very comfortable, which is incomparable with any fiber.

What kind of animal does cashmere come from?

Cashmere is the hair from a special goat and it clings to the skin surface of the goat. In spring, these thin cashmere are grabbed by herdsmen with special tools to become original cashmere. It is one of the best animal fibers.

Cashmere goats mainly grow in Northwest China, Mongolia, Iran, Afghanistan, and other areas in which it is dry and cold. The temperature in day and night differs largely and the sunshine time is longer. Due to the special geographical factors, the quantity of cashmere goats is small, so it is expensive.

goats for cashmere material

How is cashmere made?

1. Cashmere catch
In May and June every year, herdsmen begin to catch cashmere for goats. In spring, when the weather gets warmer, cashmere begins to fall off naturally.

If the hair on the head of a goat begins to fall off, it is certain that the time for cashmere combing will come. When picking up the scissor, first cut off the outer long hair, and then use a thin comb to gently comb the grass and feces on the coat along with the hair, and then use a dense comb to comb cashmere against the hair.

The dense comb should be close to the skin, and the force should be even. Do not use too much energy to avoid damaging the skin.

2. Cashmere selection
In this step, the grass, goat dung, pebble, and other sundries need to kick off from the collected cashmere.

3. Cashmere washing
In the washing process, the impurities and smell in cashmere are removed and disinfected.

4. Carding
With the professional equipment, the mixed wool will be separated from cashmere to ensure the purity of cashmere.

5. Laboratory color matching
In this step, we need to look for the best dye method to dye colors.

6. Staining
With the laboratory color matching test, we dye the colors according to the ratio of the laboratory. Cashmere fiber has good hygroscopicity, the final color does not fade after dyeing with high saturation.

7. Spinning
With professional equipment, the dyed cashmere is processed into cashmere yarn.

8. Weaving
According to the design style with a certain procedure, the yarn is woven into a certain shape of cashmere one-sided.

9. Machine sewing
Sew one side of the knitted cashmere.

10. Hand sewing
Remove the sealing yarn after machine sewing and take off the thread.

11. Shrinking
Shrinking means that, under the wet and hot environment, cashmere intertwine with each other through friction, shrinks longitudinally and transversely to increase thickness and tightness, and forms a layer of short and dense fluff on the surface.

In this way, the fabric will be more compact, fuller in appearance, smooth in hand touch.

12. Steam ironing
After washing and shrinking, steam ironing can make the product in good condition for the shape and style.

13. Selecting
The inspector selects the wool from cashmere that may remain on it to ensure its comfortability.

14. Packaging
After the inspection, fold the qualified cashmere products as required, put them into the packaging bag, then put them into the cartons smoothly.

With these steps above, the raw cashmere material is ready to make cashmere products.

What is cashmere used for?

Since cashmere is incredibly soft with good insulating properties, cashmere products are very popular for cold weather clothing and accessories.

  • Clothing: Cashmere wool can be woven and knitted into a variety of cashmere garments. Cashmere sweaters, from cashmere cardigans or pullovers to crewneck or v-neck sweaters are very popular items, but cashmere can also be woven into coats, pants, and other items.
  • Accessories: Cashmere accessories, like cashmere shawls, scarves, gloves, and socks, are very popular cashmere items, as they are warm and add nice luxurious touches to any outfit.
  • Home goods: Cashmere blankets are warm and luxurious and are great as throws on a couch, chair, or bed.

Is cashmere wool cruel to animals?


Cashmere wool is very heavy for goats if not combed in spring. Each year from March to May, farmers will comb cashmere from goats to make them feel lightweight. After the combing, farmers usually cut the out hairs short for goats too. In summer, the weather is hot, goats keep them feel cool when going outside for eating grass. So it is not cruel to animals.

Some people may ask do goats die for cashmere, the answer is definitely no. As we just talk, if farmers do not comb cashmere for goats, they will suffer from hot weather in summer.

On another aspect, cashmere wool will grow up like people's hairs by self, especially in winter, this is their own ability to keep them warm when winter comes.

Why cashmere is so expensive?

Limited production

Due to the special geographical environment factors, the number of cashmere goats is limited, which makes the cashmere become one kind of limited material.

The world's annual output of cashmere is 10,000 tons. One goat can only produce 50-80 grams cashmere a year. That is to say, the cashmere produced by 5 goats in a year can only make a common cashmere sweater.

China is the world's largest producer of cashmere goats and cashmere. Cashmere production accounts for 60% of the world's total production. Quality is also better than in other countries.

Warmer than any other wools

Cashmere is different from other wools in the market, it is 5-8 times warmer than the sheep's wool. If you wear a same weighted sweater in winter, the cashmere sweater is warmer than the wool one.

Season specific

Cashmere grows on goats only in winter and farmers can comb it next year spring, which means the manufactures only can buy cashmere in spring. They have to wait until farmers have combed cashmere from goats.

Intensive labor work with complex processes

As we talked about how cashmere made above, we can see there are many steps to follow. It needs intensive labor work to finish each step. It usually takes many days even months.

2 Responses

Rebecca Linn
Rebecca Linn

December 03, 2020

Now I understand why it’s so expensive!!!
Good to know that it is not cruel to animals and the goats don’t die after cutting the wools.But the shocking news is from one goat they get only 50-80gm wools..


November 29, 2020

It’s really worth reading man. You cover up almost everything starting from the origin and history to production everything was there. Very informative and well researched👏

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