Cashmere is the finest natural down fibre of the Capra Hircus (cashmere goat). The buttery soft hair is located under the course guard hair which insulates and protects the goat from nature’s elements.
The Cashmere goat is native to the high altitudes and steppes of Inner Mongolia’s Gobi desert, Outer Mongolia, the autonomous region of the PRC, Tibet, the Himalayan plateaus and mountainous regions of Nepal, Afghanistan and Iran. Varying characteristics of fine cashmere are produced. Mongolia and Nepal produce very fine cashmere suitable for garments, where as Afghanistan and Iran produce thick coarse cashmere. It is the countries geographical regions that produce fibres with distinct qualities.
Mongolian Cashmere, of the Aegagrus Hircus goat, is exclusively valued above all. It has the longest fibre, with a length of 39 to 45 millimetres, with an average diameter of 16.5 microns, and as small as 11.5 microns. The Gobi desert is one the coldest regions in the world. It is the fierce long cold winter months, where temperatures plummet to -50 * C, creates the perfect conditions for the fibre to grow to the finest and rarest fleece in the world.
The process of producing cashmere takes a series of intricate steps, from the collection of raw cashmere to achieve the luxurious quality required for a fine finished garment. Cashmere is harvested once a year in the spring. The harvest is conducted in a relatively unchanged method; as it has been for centuries deep rooted in tradition of the Nomadic herders. The goats are hand combed to remove their fine fleece while leaving the outer course or guard hair. It takes a skilled comber on average 1 hour per goat to perform this task. This is very labour intensive when you consider that thousands of goats are hand combed each spring. This task is performed by extremely talented combers who have learned this trade, as it has been passed to each generations. Bales of soiled hair combings are separated by hand, according to colour then washed and dehaired. The dehairing process separates guard hair from the soft down.
It is the expertise in all the stages of the manufactures process that are integral to the transformation of goat hair, pure virgin cashmere created to an elaborate and exquisite cashmere garment.
The Value of Cashmere
Cashmere down is collected only once per year, and is sold, as a “commodity” on the world markets. The once annual harvest, coupled with the limited number of goats as well as other external factors, such as infection and disease can result in death of the cashmere goat. These factors all combine to determine global availability and market value of cashmere on an annual basis.
The rarity makes it one of the most expensive natural fibres. The amount produced, does not always meet the needs of all global markets. In essence, It also offers a cursory insight and explanation as to why cashmere is the finest, most highly sought out garment fibre in the world.
It is not simply the fibre that creates a sense of mysticism and desirability of cashmere, It is it’s unique qualities its rarity, the series of complex steps required in transforming this fibre into a garment of light weight and warmth.
Mother nature’s gift, a “goat” this inconspicuous animal, who requires hair fibres to protect their body from the harshest conditions of the world, produces the most sought out and traded, of all luxurious fibres.
This exquisite, fine down has been for centuries, desired for it’s sensuous qualities, and obtained from far reaches of the world. Cashmere is the embodiment of sophistication, the true essence of nature’s beauty.
Did you know?
- Cashmere is only harvested once per year, in the spring.
- It takes 220 g or 8 oz of cashmere fibre to produce one medium ladies sweater.
- It takes one hour to comb one goat.
- It takes one goat, 4 years to produce enough cashmere to make one medium size ladies sweater.
- Annually, one goat may produce approximately 90 grams or 3 ounces of raw cashmere. However, the remaining useable cashmere totals, a meagre 60 grams or 2 ounces annually.
- It takes three to four goats annually to produce enough cashmere for one medium ladies sweater.
QUALITY ASSURANCE STANDARDS AND FIBRE TESTING
Cashmere quality rating is a scientific process. HILDEBRANDT & CO., Indulgence Cashmere, employ the services of the most well respected laboratories in the world, considered leaders in the testing and evaluation of luxury natural fibre products. Our cashmere is tested by our independent laboratories, to analyze the fibres. This process includes microscopic analysis and chromatographic procedures. Microscopic analysis, tests fibre content and composition (to confirm that the cashmere has not been contaminated or mixed with sheep’s wool or other fibres). As well as coarse hair content, diameter, length and softness durability and piling. Chromatographic tests, test the colour changing and staining, as well as the prevention of the use of unsafe dyes.
Manufacturing companies of HILDEBRANDT & CO., Indulgence Cashmere, understands and appreciate the complexity, the rarity as well as the luxury of the fibre. Experts in the world of cashmere, share our commitment in providing our clients with only the highest quality cashmere.
We are committed to providing our clients with only the very highest quality of cashmere and the most current, “Au courant” custom designs, with precision to detail, from the selection of the cashmere down and throughout the manufacturing process of the fibre to the finished cashmere garment.
It is our intention at HILDEBRANDT & CO., Indulgence Cashmere, that each and every garment is throughly inspected for quality to ensure that our standards are complied with. There are no exceptions to this process.