Cashmere should feel soft and not scratchy against your skin. Higher quality cashmere is soft, but not overly soft to touch – it softens over time. Some companies increase the softness by treating the cashmere with chemical additives and softeners or by over washing it.
The Look Test
If you can see a very small amount of fluffiness, approximately 1mm - 2mm, it's a sign of good quality cashmere. If the fluffiness rises higher than that it indicates that shorter hairs have been used, which do not bind together as well as long hairs, and the item will pill and wear more quickly.
Since pashmina or cashmere is made from real natural hair, it should also smell like burnt hair, not like a burning plastic. Moreover, despite being burned, the material should still feel matte or very similar to the way it was. Otherwise, if it feels viscose, then you know that it's fake.
Absolutely: there are different grades of cashmere that directly reflect upon its quality. These grades can be broken down into three: A, B and C. Grade C cashmere is the lowest quality, measuring around 30 microns width per cashmere hair. Grade B cashmere is intermediate, around 18-19 microns width per hair.
The Burn Test
Roll them into a small ball and place them on a hard surface. Slowly burn the fibres with a flame. Cashmere will burn slowly and shrink then reduce when the flame is applied, this will create the smell of burning human hair. The ash will then turn to powder.
Genuine cashmere should be smooth and super soft to the touch even if it is lightweight. Here's one easy way to tell if your cashmere is of high-quality, it's called the ring test: 100% cashmere should be so soft that the whole shawl can pass through a wedding ring.
Only pure cashmere sweaters can be labeled 100% cashmere. There's a law (The Wool Products Labeling Act) that actually makes it a crime to mislabel cashmere if it's not legitimate. Since it's such a treasured fabric, Lands' End cashmere sweaters are independently verified by a lab in London.
Grade A. Grade A is the highest quality cashmere. The type of goat hair used to produce Grade A cashmere is long and thin, which amplifies the material's softness. In addition to this being the softest cashmere available, it is also of the highest quality.
Number of ply: Look for to two-ply cashmere garments, where two threads of yarn are twisted together to give a more resistant knit. Single-ply cashmere will be less durable and might develop holes more easily. Two ply also means that the sweater will be knitted more tightly, therefore being softer and warmer.
The best quality Cashmere comes from North India, Ladakh. Even though Ladakh contributes to less than 1% of the total production of Cashmere, this is the best quality Cashmere ever. The same wool from other countries is not as fine and as warm as Ladakhi Cashmere. The reason is just the climatic conditions.
Is cashmere itchy? Cashmere is considered to be far less itchy than other wools. Cashmere does not contain lanolin, so it's an entirely hypoallergenic alternative to merino and other fibres. However, cashmere is a natural yarn and this can cause mild irritation for some people.
Even the scales on cashmere are finer than those on wool – and the scales have a lot to do with how itchy a garment feels. Think of each fibre like a long, thin file. As your body moves against the fibres, the scales can catch, which is the leading cause of skin irritation and a feeling of itchiness.
The fibers are also referred to as “cashmere wool,” which can be confusing. A good way to think about it is that all cashmere is wool, but not all wool is cashmere. Still, cashmere is finer, lighter, softer, and offers three times the insulating properties as sheep's wool.
But here's the question, Are cashmere jumpers and sweaters worth a premium? Cashmere is worth the high price tag because of what it is. It's a luxurious wool, soft to touch and is usually made to last. If you buy a good quality cashmere sweater or knit, you'll have a piece of clothing which will last several years.
Mongolian cashmere is the best in the world because it's so cold that the goat develops a tighter fur. GOBI works directly with the nomadic herders of Mongolia who produce raw materials from their herds and rely on the sale of their raw cashmere to manufacturers for half of their annual income.
Cashmere is a high quality, but very delicate fiber, and it deserves high quality care. Since the fiber is so delicate, it can “pill” after friction. This can happen with all sorts of fibers and materials & you've probably seen it before.
The more plies are used to produce a sweater, the warmer it is. Six, ten, and twelve-ply cashmere sweaters are ideal for the cold days in the UK, from the end of fall until the beginning of spring, when they perfectly protect against the freezing cold.
Pilling is inevitable
All cashmere, no matter how good the quality, is prone to pilling. Keep a comb on hand to deal with bobbles: lay your cashmere flat, gently pass the knitwear comb over the fibres, and the pills will be picked up.
Warmer: Cashmere can be seven to eight times warmer than merino wool. Softer: Cashmere has a higher loft, which makes it softer. More Durable: Merino wool is sturdier and resists pilling more effectively. Easier to Care for: Merino generally requires less care in washing.
Cashmere products can range from as little as $40 to as much as $2,400. Cashmere made with Mongolian goat wool is considered the highest quality, having the longest and most resilient fibers. Buyers should beware of counterfeit cashmere or "cashmere blends," which may be lower in price but not made of 100% cashmere.
Can You Wash Cashmere? Yes you can wash cashmere. Hand wash cashmere or with machine-washable cashmere put on a wool or delicate cycle with a cashmere shampoo or mild detergent at a maximum temperature of 30 degrees. Turn your cashmere jumpers inside out before machine washing to preserve their softness.
A sweater made of baby alpaca wool, in terms of softness and strength, wins over cashmere. Cashmere fibers are four centimeters long, while alpaca fibers measure between eight and twelve centimeters. This means that alpaca fiber garments are more resistant, therefore long-lasting and less prone to pilling effect.
A warm, herbal musky fragrance with a light musk base woven with notes of muget, sandalwood, creamy vanilla and patchouli, with top notes of mandarin and lime to create a sophisticated blend.
Cashmere is sourced from the Kashmir goats, traditionally found in the Himalayan region of Kashmir. Whereas lambswool is as the name suggests from lambs, aged 7 months or younger. And merino wool comes from the merino breed of sheep. Cashmere is known to be one of the softest fibres in the world.