Know More About Cashmere
A Brief History
Considered the eternal myth, shrouded by millenniums of legends, “the golden fleece” or “king’s mantle” always arouses an incomparable charm for those in search of taste and classic and refined style, and who like to wear the warmth and softness of a very valuable natural fibre of ancient origins. It is said that since the days of Julius Caesar, the Roman nobles wore beautiful shawls, soft and with original designs, made of cashmere and of Indian origin. These stoles were the symbol of very high social status because they were very rare and expensive. At the end of the thirteenth century, Marco Polo, on his return from his voyages to the East, described the fine fleeces from the goats and camels, used by Turkmen and by the Tartars.
The knowledge of these wonderful materials became more widespread in Europe, and particularly in France, following Napoleon Bonaparte’s 1792 Egyptian campaign, during which the French army found itself fighting against the army of the Turkish Mamluks. Turkish officials had had supplied to them in their kit a gorgeous triangular cashmere shawl beautifully designed, called a “boteh”. The fashion for these shawls became widespread in the mid-1800s in the palaces of Eugenia Bonaparte, wife of Napoleon III, and the court of Queen Victoria of England who, by means the East India Company, imported to Europe the precious shawls made of “pashmina” (“pash” means “wool”).
Count Camillo Benso di Cavour in Italy tried to raise the goat from which cashmere comes. However, this attempt failed miserably because in Italy the climatic and environmental conditions that favoured the animal in producing the precious fibre that defended him from the cold didn’t exist.
A few numbers
– 300 grams: is the amount of cashmere provided by a goat in a year.
– 6.5 km: is the length of thread needed to make a sweater.
– 3: the goats from which the fibre comes needed to produce a long cashmere cardigan
– 104 million: the goats that are bred all over the world; including 75 million in China, 14 million in Iran, 9 million in Mongolia and 9 million in the rest of the world.
Wool cashmere adds to the properties of wool an extreme lightness and softness thanks to its greater fineness (fibre width). Here’s an example to demonstrate: extra-fine merino wool has a fineness ranging from 15 to 19 microns while cashmere goes from 11 to 18 microns (1 micron = 0.001 millimetres).
Colours are white, the most in demand and the most valuable, light grey, light brown, dark brown and red. Significant is the fact that the annual shearing of 3 or 4 goats is necessary to collect sufficient cashmere to make a single sweater; This, combined with limited global production and the morphological characteristics unique to the fibre, makes it easy to understand its value when it reaches the market.
The characteristics of this fibre are unique and extraordinary: it is warm and soft, but at the same time light and strong, it lets your skin breathe, and is comfortable.
These are the reasons why so many of us love it!
Our sweaters are produced in finenesses of 3, 5, 7, 12, 18. The higher the number that expresses the fineness, the finer the yarn;
“2 ply” cashmere: a common mistake (even by some experts in the field), is to confuse the indication of the yarn “two threads”, that is the definition of “2 ply cashmere” with the technique of working of knitwear in which the threads of two bobbins are simply coupled. The cashmere yarn, to be called such, must be composed of two strands twisted into a single head (2/28000 title, i.e. two heads of 1/18000 twisted).
Furthermore, a “1 ply” yarn corresponds to a length of thread of 18,000 metres per kg. To produce instead a “2-ply” cashmere yarn, would need a length of 28,000 metres per kilogram.