Cashmere, in its de-haired form, is considered to be the most luxurious fiber currently available in commercial quantities, second only to Vicuna and Guanaco.
The Cashmere is a goat, which produces a coat with two distinct layers; a fine body or under hair and a long, strong coarse outer hair, known as guard-hair. The fiber is collected by combing the animal. It is the short fine body hair which is so highly prized, being finer than the finest wool/animal hair at around 14-18 Microns, with a very soft handle. This also means difficult care issues when used in garments and must be separated from the coarse outer hair. It is removed from the coarse outer hair commercially in a very fine carding process known as de-hairing. This process is slow and consequently expensive, as is the fiber. So, the yield of usable fiber from each goat is very small.
The fiber properties are very similar to wool and as a result it is found in blends with wool. Due to its very fine nature, it is possible to use the fiber in fine fabrics; however, the only drawback is shortness of fiber length, which does limit its use. It is a highly skilled job to produce fine articles in 100% cashmere. The main producing areas are China, Mongolia, Afghanistan and Iran. This cashmere is not sourced from China
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