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  • Cashmere is one of the most

  • sought-after fibers in the world.

  • Its fine hairs are softer, lighter

  • and can be up to three times more insulating

  • than sheep wool.

  • It's been a prized material for centuries,

  • but its quality comes at a cost,

  • and a luxury cashmere jumper could cost you

  • well over $500.

  • So why is it so expensive?

  • Cashmere doesn't come from a sheep

  • like you might think, but from the cashmere goat.

  • These goats are found across the Himalayas

  • where temperatures can drop to minus 30 degrees,

  • and their freezing cold habitat

  • means they grow an incredibly thick, warm coat.

  • It's not the outer hair you can see

  • that's used for making garments,

  • but the super soft coat just underneath it.

  • Johnstons of Elgin has been making cashmere

  • products since 1851, and to do that,

  • they need a lot of goats.

  • We are using the cashmere from about 1.2 million goats,

  • and those goats are spread right over Outer Mongolia,

  • China, a little bit in Afghanistan as well.

  • There's a reason so many goats are needed.

  • While a sheep can produce at least three kilos

  • of wool each year, a cashmere goat

  • will only give you around 200 grams.

  • So basically, this much cashmere from every goat.

  • For a scarf, we could be working with

  • the production of a single goat,

  • but for a jumper, for example,

  • you could be working with five, eight,

  • 10 goats' worth of cashmere.

  • Because of the tiny amount each goat produces,

  • the supply is severely limited,

  • and the fibers can only be collected once a year.

  • While sheep are sheared for their wool,

  • cashmere goats are usually brushed

  • to remove the soft hairs that molt in the spring.

  • Even when you've harvested the fibers,

  • the usable weight halves once it's been stripped

  • of grease, dirt, and thicker hairs.

  • And despite its popularity,

  • cashmere still only makes up 0.5%

  • of the world's total wool production.

  • Once you have the pure cashmere,

  • processing it takes a lot of work.

  • The fibers are first dyed to the right color

  • and aerated to stop them clumping together.

  • Cashmere softness means that it needs to be treated

  • delicately throughout the whole process.

  • Any chemicals or overprocessing will damage the fibers.

  • The fibers are then carded,

  • a process that detangles and lines up the hairs

  • in thin sheets so that they can be spun into a yarn.

  • The quality of cashmere is graded on its fineness

  • and its length, and a high-quality individual

  • cashmere hair can be as thin as 14 micrometers.

  • When it's finally ready, this dyed and spun yarn

  • can then be used to make everything

  • from jumpers to scarves.

  • When you're making a cashmere scarf,

  • everybody thinks this is the most simple

  • product in the world.

  • And of course, when they come to the mill

  • and they see how it's actually done,

  • they realize actually there's a huge amount to it,

  • and there's an awful lot of hands and skilled work

  • that goes into making that possible.

  • So it is absolutely about the knowledge of the people,

  • about the skills of the people,

  • how you nurture this really delicate fiber

  • through the process.

  • - [Narrator] Cheaper cashmere products

  • have become hugely popular recently.

  • These claim to offer the quality of cashmere

  • for a lower price.

  • Some may use a slightly lower grade of cashmere

  • or different processing methods

  • to make the end result more affordable,

  • and while they are comparatively cheap,

  • they're still usually at least twice the price of wool.

  • There have been extreme cases of mislabeling, too,

  • and some supposedly 100% cashmere products

  • have been found to contain yak hair or even rat fur.

  • If you do find a really cheap product

  • that claims to be cashmere,

  • it may be too good to be true.

  • There is nothing in the world like cashmere.

  • I mean, there are other precious fibers

  • or other fine fibers, but cashmere has great properties.

  • It's very strong. It is very warm.

  • It's very soft, and you can make from it

  • anything from a very thick, robust,

  • almost rug-like product through to

  • very fine, wispy, cloud-like,

  • very, very subtle pieces.

  • There are other precious fibers out there,

  • there are other fibers that are as fine,

  • but we can't do as much with them.

Cashmere is one of the most

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B2 US cashmere wool sheep yarn quality dyed

Why Cashmere Is So Expensive | So Expensive

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    Liang Chen posted on 2019/02/27
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