History of Cashmere
Cashmere has forever been synonymous with luxury, status and wealth. The comfort of such a rare and exquisite yarn has captivated consumers for centuries.
Cashmere is the fleece of the cashmere goat which is now found in Inner Mongolia, China, Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Afghanistan. First found in the Himalayan Mountain Range, the cashmere goats were brought to Mongolia, Tibet and China by Chinese herders in the 10th and 12th centuries. Its first documented usage began two hundred years later.
The rise of the Asian empire saw cashmere traded to the West and brought to Italy in the 13th century. Due to its rarity and unparallelled quality, it quickly became the most desired fiber among wealthy Italian aristocrats. By the end of the 19th century, cashmere shawls were being exported from Kashmir and India to Western nations such as Britain and France. Woven into stylish designs, these shawls were worn by the wealthy European elite.
After the knitwear revolutions of the 1920s, 1950s and 1970s, cashmere was mainly featured in sweaters and cardigans. Today it is highly sought after due to its softness, lightweight nature and superior warmth. It is eight times warmer than the standard sheep’s wool and 33% lighter. This is due to a small crimp in the wool that holds in pockets of warm air.
Each year around half/two thirds of world cashmere production comes from regions of China (including Tibet and Inner Mongolia), one-quarter/one-third comes from Mongolia, and less than one quarter originates from Iran and Afghanistan.