Where Does Cashmere Come From

April 25, 2016

Melanie Costa Leite

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The origin of cashmere:

Cashmere is one of the most precious natural fibres on earth, people in China even crown it as the “soft gold” but where does cashmere come from and why is this material so expensive? 


The Cashmere Goat

Cashmere is not a wool but a hair, which comes from the underfleece of cashmere goats. Most of the cashmere goats lives in northwest China and Mongolia. In the winter these goats develop a soft and thin fibre in their downy undercoats, the longer and colder the winter is the better the cashmere fibre grows.


In the spring the fibres of the warming undercoat must be separated from the guard hair around it during the molting season, that is when the shepherds help them by combing and sorting the hair by hand. Each goat produces on average 150 grams per year, it takes almost 4 years for one goat to produce enough cashmere for one single jumper.


The story behind its name:

The name cashmere comes from an old spelling of Kashmir, the region where cashmere was traded and produced as early as the Mongolian empire in the 13th century.  


The manufacturing:

Pure cashmere

Pastel colour cashmere yarns

Although China is the largest supplier of the raw material, Europe has mastered the art of manufacturing cashmere through several hundred years of research and development.  Scotland and Italy have developed the most sophisticated technique when it comes to spinning and knitting cashmere. That is why Melanie Cashmere only select our yarn from the best Italian and Scottish Cashmere.             


To read the story behind Melanie Cashmere and how we designed our collection  here.


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