The term “Cashmere” was introduced during the 16th Century that would literally describe the shawls spun by Kashmiri Craftsmen on the silk route bound for India. Authentic cashmere fibre is made from the soft undercoat hair of the Kashmiri Goats (Capra hircus). The typical geographical conditions of mountain plateaus and East Asian Steppe and some deserts are the most productive cashmere fiber grower’s places in the world.
As compared to other wool, cashmere is softer, finer, lighter and stronger that makes it the most luxurious and expensive natural textiles.
So today we are here to get you all your answers by listing 6 genuine reasons that why is cashmere wool so expensive.
1. Rarity Factor
Cashmere is the precious fiber in the world that could hardly be found anywhere on the planet, it only represents 0.5% of the world’s wool production. It comes from the high plateaus of the Himalayas, China, and Mongolia where these goat’s dwell. It takes six months of long winter when these goats get their undercoat.
2. Limited production
If you look at the consumption level, it takes 2-3 goats’ hair to make one scarf, so if you were to comb the wool off one cashmere goat, it will take you to wait for 4 years to get one standard sized scarf. Cashmere fiber is collected from millions of goats who live in the different parts of Mongolia and China but, comparing the quality level, goats dwelling in the Himalayan plateaus produce diamond-like material.
3. It’s warmer than any other wool
Since it’s made from the soft undercoat hair, close to the skin, the products made from it are warmer and softer than any wool. The fiber combed (not clipped like sheep) from the neck area is used for fine knitwear, while the overall collected hair is very less (approx. 120g). This sort of wool is called cashmere at 19 microns or less. It results in producing the warmest materials that you can never find anywhere on the planet (8 times warmer than the sheep’s wool).
4. High in Demand
Among the industry experts, Cashmere is nicknamed as “Soft Gold” and “Diamond Fiber” that clearly reverberates the grandiose luxury and wealth inherent in the products manufactured through this immensely material. Products made from the pure wool of cashmere goats are truly luxurious.
5. Season Specific
Every year, between the months of March to May, Kashmiri goats go through a process called ‘MOULTING’ that naturally, makes them creating a certain mixture of coarse-grained hair and fine undercoat. Since it’s a natural process, manufacturers have to wait throughout the year to receive their order. And when it finally gets into the market gets quickly fly. Therefore, the stock is always limited and the buying process is followed by first come, first serve.
6. Intensive labor work
The look, feel and quality of cashmere garment completely depends on the processing of wool, that requires a lot of hard work from sheering the goats to separating and sorting each strand of the hair individually by hand. The process is followed by the skilled artisan that also adds to the overall cost of scarves. It consumes days even months, years to prepare a single pashmina shawl, scarves.
Special Note: Over the ages, India was considered to be the topmost producers of cashmere products. However, today the cashmere industry in India seems to be sickly waned and most of the pashminas, which tourist from India import think and believe it to be 100% cashmere are just the replicas made from synthetic fiber.