INTRODUCTION TO CASHMERE (KASHMIR)
Cashmere the fiber of kings, is a valuable natural fiber and a high-quality material of the textile industry. It is also eulogized as "fibre diamond" or "soft gold". Sixty percent of the world's supply of Cashmere is produced in China and the remainder in Turkey, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Kashmir, Australia and New Zealand.
Cashmere goats are easy to raise. They can survive on bushes, trees, desert scrub and aromatic herbs when sheep and cattle would starve to death. They are healthy animals and take only minimal care and are sheared once a year - a full grown adult will yield as much as 2&1/2 pounds of fleece. The fleece consists of two kinds of fiber, Cashmere which accounts for up to 60% and guard hair the rest. The fleece then is dehaired and called dehaired goatswool.
To keep out cold during winter times there appears a kind of fine and thick underfur on the goats body. The colder it is, the thicker, finer and longer the underfur becomes.
The coarse wool taken from goats will undergo the process of selecting, washing and combing, so the coarse hair, skin scraps, oil and other contents are excluded - this final product is called cashmere. Its fineness is 7-19 microns with average fineness about 14 microns. Cashmere fibre is light, soft, smooth, resilient, moisture-absorbing and is keeping warm. Its luster is natural and soft. The annual output in China is 9,000-10,000 tons. The best cashmere comes from the grassland of Inner Mongolia autonomous region of China.