This is a fibre obtained from cashmere goats which originate from Ladakh. The cashmere fibre is obtained from the neck area of the goat which produces a double fleece, a fine soft undercoat mixed with a coarse outer coating of hair called a guard hair. The two are separated and the fine hair results in cashmere.
Two methods are used to obtain the cashmere yarn. The goat can be sheared and the finer yarn extracted mechanically or the goat can be combed by hand which produces a much purer cashmere yarn.
Cashmere has been produced in China, Mongolia, Kashmiri and Nepal for thousands of years but conversion into fine fabrics has rested with Scotland, Italy and Japan. A cashmere goat only produces 1/3 lb of fibre a year hence its expensive price tag.
Cashmere is finer, stronger, lighter and softer than wool. It is three times more insulating than even the finest merino sheep’s wool.