No other wool is quite as luxurious or sought after as Cashmere. Cashmere garments provide excellent insulation while they feel softer than regular wool and wool blends.
Here are ten facts you may not know about Cashmere:
- Cashmere wool is a spun fiber obtained from cashmere goats and other selected types of goat. General usage defines the fiber as a wool, but in fact it is a hair and this is what gives it its unique characteristics when compared to sheep’s wool.
- The word cashmere is an anglicized spelling of Kashmir. The term is drawn from the northwestern region of South Asia. Until the mid-19th century, Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley located between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range.
- In the United States, what is and isn’t able to be sold or bartered as cashmere is clearly defined as law under the U.S. Wool Products Labeling Act of 1939. The Cashmere & Camel Hair Manufacturers Institute was also established in 1984 to promote the use of genuine cashmere and camel hair products and to protect the interests of manufacturers, retailers and consumers of these products.
- Ultra-fine Cashmere is called Pashmina. This is still produced by communities in Indian Kashmir but its rarity and high price, added to the political instability in that region, make it very hard to source authentic true pashmina and more difficult to regulate quality.
- While long associated with Asia, Europe has had a long history of its own with Cashmere. In 1799, William-Louis Ternaux, the leading woolens manufacturer in France under Napoleon, began to produce imitation India shawls (cachemires) using the wool of Spanish merino sheep. By 1830, weaving cashmere shawls with French-produced yarn had also become an important Scottish industry.
- Austrian Textile Manufacturer Bernhard Altmann is credited with bringing cashmere to America on a mass scale beginning in 1947.
- Cashmere is collected during the spring molting season when the goats naturally shed their winter coat. In the Northern Hemisphere, the goats molt as early as March and as late as May. The annual yield is up to one pound of fiber per goat, with an average of 4 to 6 ounces of Underdown.
- The natural colors of Cashmere are gray, brown and white. The wool is readily able to absorb most dyes, which explains why products have such a wide range of colors.
- In 1973, the film Cashmere is Scottish was released. It was a documentary about the Scottish wool industry. The film featured Joanna Lumley, best known as Patsy Stone from the British television series Absolutely Fabulous.
- Cashmere may also refer any to the following:
- Kashmir, (song) by the English rock band Led Zeppelin from their sixth album Physical Graffiti, released in 1975.
- Cashmere (painting), a painting by John Singer Sargent.
- Cashmere (band), a post-disco and soul music group.
- Magnus August Høiberg, an electronic music producer was known as Cashmere Cat.
- Cashmere, a minor character in The Hunger Games.
Places also named in honor of Kashmir include:
- Cashmere, New Zealand, a suburb of Christchurch, New Zealand.
- Cashmere, Queensland, a suburb of Brisbane, Australia.
- Cashmere, Washington, a city in the United States.