A valuable material
Cashmere is one of the most precious and luxurious natural fibers in the world. As one of the most important Italian brands working with cashmere, we have decided to tell you the story of this fiber which is so warm, soft and smooth.
The origin of Cashmere
Cashmere is obtained by processing the hair of Hircus goat, which lives on the Tibetan plateaus in the Himalayas and Mongolia.
This animal produces a particularly fine, soft and warm wool that allows it to protect itself from the rigors of the harsh winter with temperatures reaching even – 40°C. The longer and colder the winter, the greater growth of the cashmere fiber.
Every spring the cashmere goats begin to lose their hair and after the molt or when they are sheared, you need to select their hair since according to this selection, you will get a cashmere of higher quality. Once cleaned, these hairs are then woven into strands. The number of strands used generally gives a fairly precise idea on the thickness of the mesh: from fine (2 threads) to very thick (10-12 threads).
Each goat produces an average of 150 grams of cashmere per year and to make a sweater you need approximately 300 grams! It takes almost 4 years for a goat to produce enough cashmere.
The use of cashmere as a valuable fiber dates back to the ancient times. It is said that ancient Nepalese and Persian tribes used cashmere as a valuable source of isolation for their temples and mosques hundreds of years ago.
This practice has also spread rapidly in neighboring countries such as China, Mongolia, Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey. In ancient times, having clothes such as cloaks and shawls hand made with cashmere meant surviving the cold winter months.
In the 14th century, this practice of making clothes from cashmere wool was also discovered by explorers who began to visit the East and discovered the number of properties cashmere had compared to the sheep’s wool they had been using until then.
The spread of cashmere
Since the mid-1500s, the increasing production of cashmere blankets, cashmere and pashmina shawls meant that this material was starting to get more sought after all over the world. The European aristocracy had become very fond of cashmere and the trade routes between areas such as Tibet, India and Eastern Europe meant a constant flow of pure cashmere, enough to supply a large economy to the regions that produced it.
The symbolism of Cashmere, between then and now
In the ancient political and religious ceremonies in India and Iran, membership in a social class was sometimes determined by the quality and quantity of cashmere shawls owned by a person and those who did not own them were often looked down on by the high spheres of society.
The story goes that Josephine Bonaparte, Napoleon’s wife, was madly in love with shawls, coats and cashmere gloves to such an extent that she more than spread the trend in the aristocratic social circles of that time.
With the demand for pure cashmere so high, the industrial revolution inevitably had a major impact on its production. In the 19th century, when the revolution reached its peak, France, Italy and Scotland were the largest producers of the material in Europe.
The modern era of cashmere usage dates back to the 19th century, when Joseph Dawson, a Scottish manufacturer, devised the mechanical method for separating fine goat hair fibers from the rough outer hair, ensuring that this precious thread is refined even more.
The machinery helped to make what was previously a long and arduous process, a much easier process, leading to an economic boom for pure cashmere in the UK and across Europe.
Even today in the modern era, wearing good quality cashmere like the 999 Cashmere T-shirt collection is a sign of luxury, appreciated by those who love the beautiful things of life.
Cashmere is much softer, warmer and more isothermic than sheep wool. It can be worn directly on the skin (it does not produce any itching unlike wool).