Ever since my mom brought me to this crazy cashmere sale last year, I've had an obsession for cashmere everything. They're just soooo soft to the touch and so warm. As a result I've acquired cashmere sweaters (esp the RL ones-they are just divine), scarves, hats, cardigans-all for the freezing cold winter of Chicago of course. Then the other day, my friend asked me, "What IS cashmere?" and that put me on the spot. How can I be truly cashmere crazy without knowing what makes cashmere different from say. . wool?
So I googled it up and this is what you need to know:
The name cashmere was derived from Kashmir, the state of India, where the cashmere (kashmir) goat was initially found. Cashmere is the fine, downy wool that grows beneath the coarse outer layer of hair, called the guard hair, of the cashmere goat. These wool are naturally white, grey or brown.
The luxuriously soft wool provides light weight insulation- enough to originally keep the goat warm in the cold mountain temperatures-without bulk, which is another reason why we love it so much-it keeps us stylish and warm. It is also appropriate for all climates, because the high moisture content of it allows the insulation properties to change with the humidity in the air.
But what makes it so precious is limited supply. Out of the annual clipping of 15000-20000 tons of cashmere, only 6500 tons turn into pure cashmere after the natural animal grease (ew), dirt and coarse hair are removed from it. Due to the conflict at Kashmir, very little actually comes from there. Nowadays, cashmere comes from the other high plateaus of Asia, such as northwestern China, Mongolia, Iran and Afghanistan.
There. Don't you feel much better equipped to truly appreciate the beauty of cashmere, now that you know all there is to know about it?