We all appreciate a good cashmere, especially during the winter, but do we know where our favorite fabric comes from? Cashmere is a fine wool taken from the Hircus blythi, a goat from Kashmir, the region of Central Asia that covers the northern part of the Indian subcontinent between the territories of India, Pakistan and China.

 

big_thumb_aa3998c5ef87d04c6c43fc8f198a72b6Photo Credit: Wallpaper up

 

Cashmere can attribute its spread to the Western world to the notorious East India Company, which helped to market it as a status symbol. The cashmere’s quality is due to the fact that these goats, inhabitants of cold and hostile environments, have developed a unique wool.

The goat’s wool, composed of rough, long fibers, is used mainly in the production of furniture as the beautiful Denis Colomb rugs made by 100% Tibetan wool. However, the lower part that grows on the abdomen of the animal, called “Golden Fleece,” is used for luxury knitwear as it very soft, warm, and dense.

 

Hircus BlythiPhoto Credit: Cashmere Classics

 

This special wool is used in the famous Umbrian processing of cashmere. This tradition began in the 1800s, thanks to Luisa Spagnoli, who started several rabbit farms for her namesake brand, allowing the creation of angora cashmere.

Today Umbria is referred to“Cashmere Valley” by the British, thanks to a production district of about 500 companies there that specialize in handweaving this precious wool, true to the Italian aesthetic of quality and precision.

 

cashmere umbriaPhoto Credit: Time Travel Turtle

 

There are 3 factors you should look for when buying cashmere, to help you verify the quality:

  • Pilling: The lint accumulation on the areas of greatest wear of the garment is directly proportional to its quality.
  • Washing: Quality cashmere tends to become even softer after repeated washings.
  • Compression: Cashmere crushed in the hands will quickly return to its initial state once released. 

 

filatoPhoto Credit: Cashmere Cloud

 

Regarding how to care for your cashmere, the process may be cumbersome, but by following these tips you will be sure to not ruin your precious garment:

  • Wash the item by hand with cold or lukewarm water, and a small amount of soap for delicate fabric
  • Rinse it under running cold or lukewarm water
  • Pat dry with a towel to remove water, and let it finish drying between towels on a clean flat surface

WARNING: The two most important rules are: Never wring out cashmere, and never roll it up in a ball.

Now that you how to care for your cashmere, here are 3 must-have pieces for your closet:

 

COAT

For those on a budget, even cashmere blend will suffice, but if you want to go all out, this Annie P hand-stitched cashmere coat will do the trick!

 

cashmerePhoto Credit: Annie P

 

TURTLENECK

 This elegant model by Barna Cashmere is a timeless classic, suitable for any winter evening.

 

Photo Credit: Barna Cashmere

 

SCARF

Protect yourself from the cold with a soft scarf. F cashmere has many trendy options in unique metallic colors.

 

Photo Credit: F cashmere

 

One element to consider is that global warming has unfortunately affected the cashmere market because of overheating in the areas where Hyrcus blythi lives. This has already led to the death of a large percentage of livestock, and a decrease in the fibers suitable for manufacturing.

The good news, however, is that action is being taken by certain cashmere manufacturers, such as Falconeri, who dye their yarns with natural dyes extracted from flowers, leaves, berries and roots – an eco-friendly venture that also provide a unique shade of color for each item.

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