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We first discovered Cashmere on a long train-ride to Inner Mongolia in 1992. It was the dead of winter, with temperatures dipping to ten below zero and a wicked wind that blew thick coal smoke through the region’s factory-town capital of Huhhot. With no contacts and only a smattering of Chinese, we set out to find a company that could provide us with the legendary fiber of that region. With that trip began our education about one of the world’s most expensive fibers.
Cashmere comes from the fine underhair of the Cashmere Goat. These super-fine fibers are a tiny percentage of the animal’s coat, and it takes two to three animals a year to produce the fiber for one sweater.
Quantities of fiber are low: only about 6500 tons per year, as opposed to 1.3 million tons of sheep’s wool. While wool may sell as low as $3/kilo, and alpaca or Pima cotton for $28/kilo, cashmere’s price currently fluctuates from $110-$170/kilo, depending on the quality of the yarn.
The high cost of the raw material, combined with the extensive handwork to make a sweater, result in cashmere’s high price.
Today, 60% of the world’s cashmere fiber comes from China, though it may be knitted in Scotland, Italy or other countries.
Cashmere fiber can be spun in all different qualities.
While it’s true that cheap cashmere occasionally comes onto the market at low prices, this material is the lowest quality fiber and is often adulterated with synthetics or wool. Invisible World cashmere is 100% cashmere spun to the highest specifications.