Cashmere, with its unmistakable shine and softness, is one of the finest fibres, used in the world of fashion. But Which animal is this luxurious cashmere wool produced from? In this article we will discover: how cashmere is produced, where cashmere wool comes from, the differences with other wools and we will delve into its production and processing.
TRUE Cashmere: how it is produced and how to recognize it
Which animal produces cashmere wool?
The name “cashmere” comes from Himalayan region of Kashmir, where the trade of this precious wool originated centuries ago. Cashmere is obtained from the undercoat of Capra Hircus, native to the mountainous regions of central and northern Asia. This animal resists harsh winter temperatures, developing a thin, soft layer of fur to protect yourself from the cold. This undercoat, known as cashmere, is collected through a delicate process of combing or cutting, WITHOUT causing DAMAGE to ANIMALS.
How is cashmere collected?
Cashmere harvesting is a delicate and artisanal process that preserves the HEALTH and WELL-BEING of GOATS, while guaranteeing the quality of the precious fibre. Here's how cashmere is harvested:
1. Petting or Cutting
Cashmere harvesting can be done through two main methods: petting (or combing) and cutting. Both methods are designed to harvest the undercoat, the softest and most valuable part of the goat's coat.
In the combing method, craftsmen use special fine-toothed combs to gently separate the cashmere from the goat's outer hair. This process is slow, and requires great skill to avoid causing damage to the goat and guarantee the quality of the cashmere collected. Combing is considered more respectful towards animals, since the process does not involve cutting the hair.
In the shearing method, cashmere is harvested by cutting the undercoat with specialized scissors. Again, it is essential that the operation is performed precisely to ensure the quality of the fiber. Trimming can be quicker than combing, but great care is essential to avoid injury to the goat.
2. Collection Period
The cashmere harvest takes place in a specific period of the year. Usually, it takes place during the spring, when goats have developed a thicker layer of undercoat to protect them from the winter cold. At this time, the fiber is at its maximum length and quality.
3. Animal Care and Welfare:
It is necessary to underline that the collection of cashmere must be carried out with the maximum respect for animals. Goats must be treat with attention and love during the harvesting process, and the long-term health of the animals must be preserved. Companies that follow ethical and sustainable practices are particularly careful to ensure that cashmere is harvested respectfully and without compromising animal health.
What is the DIFFERENCE between wool and cashmere?
While the merino wool comes from sheep, cashmere is obtained from goats. There main difference lies in the texture: Cashmere is incredibly soft and light, offering unparalleled comfort.
How is cashmere wool colored?
Dyeing cashmere wool is an artisanal process that can significantly affect the final appearance of the fabric. Cashmere can be colored in one wide range of shades thanks to specialized dyeing techniques. Here's how the cashmere wool coloring process happens:
Before proceeding with dyeing, cashmere wool must be subjected to a pre-treatment for remove any impurities and natural oils. This step is essential to ensure that the color sets evenly on the fiber.
2. Choice of dyes
The choice of dyes is a crucial step in the dyeing process. THE Dyes can be of natural or synthetic origin. Natural dyes often come from plants, flowers or insects and are prized for their sustainability. Synthetic dyes, on the other hand, offer a wider range of colors and can be more durable.
3. Immersion or Hand Application
Once the cashmere wool is ready, it can be soaked in a dye bath or the color can be applied manually. Dipping allows for uniform colors across the fiber, while hand application can create more nuanced or artistic effects.
4. Color Fixation
After applying the color, it is necessary to fix it on the fiber. This is done through a setting process which may involve the use of chemical setting agents or heat. Fixing is essential for ensure that the color remains resistant to washing and in the light.
5. Washing and Drying
After the color has been fixed, the cashmere wool is carefully washed to remove any residues of unfixed dye. Afterwards, the fabric can be dried completing the dyeing process.
READ OUR GUIDE ON HOW TO WASH CASHMERE:
6. Quality control
Throughout the dyeing process, quality checks are carried out to ensure that the color is uniform and that the cashmere fiber retains its softness and shine.
Some companies use special dyeing techniques, such as Tie dye or the dégradé effect, to create particular patterns or colours. These techniques require advanced craftsmanship skills and add a unique touch to cashmere products.
Dyeing cashmere wool requires attention to detail and a respect for the fiber. By choosing high-quality dyes and following careful processes, it is possible to obtain colored cashmere garments with vibrant shades and at the same time preserve the qualities of this precious fiber.
How much cashmere does a goat produce?
The amount of cashmere produced by a single goat can vary greatly depending on several factors, including the race, the environmental conditions, the animal care and his general health. On average, one Capra Hircus goat, the species from which cashmere is derived, can produce approximately 150-200 grams of cashmere per year.
Cashmere is a precious and rare fibre, which contributes to its value on the market. Limited production makes cashmere a exclusive material, requiring attention and care in its harvesting and processing.
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