Cashmere – Nature’s Finest Gifts
One of nature’s finest gifts, cashmere is an exceptional, rare fibre - and the best of its kind is even rarer. It is incredibly light and soft to the touch, yet somehow manages to be just as warm, if not warmer, than the thickest, chunkiest of lambswool. It is this combination of qualities that has earned cashmere its name, “the fibre of kings”.
How Cashmere is Made
A wonder to touch, it is found in the soft undercoat on the belly of a mountain-dwelling breed of Asian goat, Capra Hircus Laniger, that has adapted to the extreme temperatures of the Himalayas in Inner Mongolia. The harsh temperature at high altitude provides the precise climate appropriate for the development of cashmere fleece and that is why there is only a handful of places on Earth where cashmere cotton is found. In these environments, there are big swings in temperature between night and day, where it can get extremely cold at night, but with the temperature warming up considerably during the day. As a result, goats who have inhabited these regions developed a protective coat of hairs that is incredibly temperature-regulating, i.e. a material that is able to keep you warm when it is cold without over-heating you, and keep you cool when your body starts to warm up. It is nature's own "textile development", so to speak!
Only a tiny amount of cashmere is yielded. One goat can only produce about 100 grams of cashmere, and it takes anywhere between four and eight goats to produce enough for one cashmere garment. Cashmere’s exceptional qualities and its rarity make it an extremely sought after fibre.
Different Levels of Cashmere Quality
Even for this precious fibre, there are many different grades, ranging from the coarsest and shortest to the finest and longest. This has a great impact on the resulting quality of the final garment. At Colhay’s, we only use the very finest, so when you put on one of our cashmere garments, you know you’re wearing the crème de la crème of cashmere.
Our Cashmere’s Material Properties
Our cashmere is made using Todd & Duncan’s celebrated cashmere fine yarns collection which uses the world’s highest quality cashmere fibres sourced from inner Mongolia. The fibres are 15.5 microns in diameter and 38mm in length. This makes the fibres some of the finest and longest in the world, meaning they are the softest yet most durable. The finer the fibre, the softer the cashmere feels. The longer the fibre, the more durable the resulting yarns will be when it is spun and, consequently, the more durable the garments made from this yarn will be too.
The fibres used by our spinners Todd & Duncan are triple-tested. A rare and self-imposed requirement, it is to ensure that only the highest quality fibres that have passed rigorous tests make it into Todd & Duncan’s yarn collections.
When the fibres are first collected, they are tested at source for their quality - in particular, the fineness and length of the fibres which are the key determinants of quality. The fibres that have passed this initial test are gathered at testing facilities, where they are tested a second time. Only the fibres that pass these two initial tests are put on boats to Scotland. They are then tested for a third time when they arrive at Todd & Duncan’s facilities at their Loch Leven Mill in Kinross to the narrowest margin of tolerance and any fibres that do not make the cut are sifted out.
Premium Cashmere Construction
There are many cashmere garments on the market today which may feel very soft given the fineness of the hairs used but because the fibres are short, they are susceptible to small breakages over time, becoming entangled and sticking up, a phenomenon known as pilling. Conversely, fibres that are long may be more durable but these fibres could also be thicker resulting in a fibre that feels scratchy.
Cashmere from Todd & Duncan is world renowned, in part because they are committed to securing cashmere fibres that have the best of both worlds - the finest and the longest, to ensure that you enjoy the softness of cashmere while being able to wear it for a longer period of time too.
Explore our cashmere collection here.