Cashmere, also known as fiber of kings or Golden Fleece, comes from remote places populated by people with an ancient culture, around which they have built an antique and constantly metamorphosing tradition.
Cashmere comes from the undercoat, or duvet, of the Capra Hircus, originating in the lonely and arduous highlands of Ladakh and Tibet. Nowadays the Cashmere region covers China, Mongolia, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran, where the Capra Hircus is bred at an altitude of at least 4000 meters. This extraordinary animal has managed to survive in inhospitable habitats, with freezing, windy winters, and hot, dry summers. This harsh environment is why it has developed an undercoat consisting of thousands of particularly fine, smooth, soft and warm fibers, which are concentrated in a small area, under the dense outer coat. Real Cashmere only comes from such fibers, which allow the Capra Hircus to resist temperatures of -30°C.
The undercoat grows until the days get shorter, and stop its growth when the days get longer. For this reason, Cashmere fibers are collected during the molting period, in the spring, when the goats naturally lose their hair.
The fiber collection is the first of several stages of the Cashmere production process. Mongolia and Tibet, which are the sources of the best Cashmere, are the only sources chosen by CASHMERE CULTURE to create its unique, exclusive and comfortable products. In these two places, the fibers are collected by hand with a special comb. In other areas, the animals are mostly shorn. Once the first phase is complete, there is a manual sorting, to separate the coarser hair from the finest ones, and washing to remove dirt, grease and vegetable impurities accumulated during the fiber collection. Subsequently the process continues with the dehairing, which is a meticulous and very important procedure to ensure a high quality raw material. In this step, thin, precious fibers are separated from the bristly, coarse ones of the outer coat. At this time, Cashmere is ready to be transformed into yarn for weaving or knitting.
It is estimated that only 200, 300 grams of duvet are normally acquired from each goat. Furthermore, this amount decreases during the fiber collection and refinement stages.
The complexity of the process, the small volume of material and the distance of the places of origin make the cost of this special, ancient natural fiber high.
In some respects, Cashmere resembles diamonds. In fact, for its classification and beauty, Cashmere is examined for its color, purity, fineness and length. The lighter Cashmere is, without impurities, fine and long, the more it is valuable.
Cashmere capes and scarves were handcrafted in the seventeenth century and were initially brought to England by soldiers of the East India Company. These valuable handcrafted items were hugely successful, and Cashmere products spread first to France and later to all Western Europe.