Let's break down the different types of cashmere!
Have you heard of the terms: cheap, regular, baby, and pashmina cashmere? But what do they really mean to you? We'll discuss the differences and key details of these products here so that you can be better informed in making your fabric purchases.
Cheap cashmere (Grade C cashmere fibre)
Sometimes cashmere products can have a huge price gap between them but yet they are still labeled as 100% cashmere. Cheap cashmere refers to cashmere that may have shorter strands in comparison to others, or it can even refer to cashmere that is blended with other fabrics, in which case it will be referred to as a cashmere blend. Cashmere with shorter strands is prone to easier breakages and low-level durability. The strands are also likely to be less fine which will affect the overall feel of the cashmere. Whereas with cashmere blends, it is likely that the actual percentage of the cashmere may be low and instead mixed with fabrics like viscose or acrylic.
Regular cashmere (Grade B cashmere fibre)
As mentioned in the earlier blog post, regular cashmere averages around 19-30 microns (diameter of the wool fibre). The lower the micron count, the finer the cashmere feels. Regular cashmere is often made from 2ply or 3ply strands whereas cheap cashmere is likely to be made of 1ply strands. With the 2ply or 3ply strands, the cashmere is much more durable and less prone to damages or breakages. It also increases the longevity of the fabric and regular cashmere can actually retain a garment life of around 20-30 years.
Baby cashmere (Grade A cashmere fibre)
As obtained from the child goats of the adult goats that produce cashmere, baby cashmere is known for having an even smaller micron count of around 13 microns. It can sometimes be a favoured choice over adult cashmere due to its fineness resulting in higher insulation properties. The fibres are actually obtained in the Spring and something interesting to note is that the child goats only yield just over 1/10 of the cashmere fibre count in comparison to the adult goats. Hence, it is only taken once in a child goat’s lifetime.
One of the key differences that distinguish pashmina from cashmere is that they are sourced from different goats. The pashmina is seen more as a variation of cashmere as it is obtained from a goat called Capra Hircus – found in the mountains. Whereas cashmere is mainly obtained from Mongolian goats. The weaving process of both of these materials requires them to be handwoven. However, pashmina, due to its lower micron count, requires more attention and care when spinning in comparison to that of cashmere.
Watch this short video to learn why cashmere is so expensive. Enjoy!
More on Cashmere:
1. Cashmere Basics 101
2. Find out the making of cashmere
3. How to take care of cashmere products
4. What makes cashmere so expensive
5. Why aren't all cashmere fabrics created equal
6. From cashmere fibre to cashmere fabric