Where Does Best Cashmere Come From?
To find out where the best cashmere comes from, let’s start with a few interesting statistics.
How many goats are there around the world?
1,093,732,777 in 2019 according to FAO(Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). That’s a lot of goats but not all of them produce cashmere.
The two countries that produce most cashmere – China and Mongolia – have 137,231,700 and 29,261,661 goats respectively.
How much cashmere is produced worldwide each year?
The annual output of cashmere is around 25,000 metric tons(1 metric ton = 1,000kg), for which China takes up 75%, and Mongolia 20%. And in China, over 60% of cashmere is from Inner Mongolia. If you do the math, Inner Mongolia is providing one third of the cashmere across the globe.
If you’re confused about Mongolia and Inner Mongolia, check here Difference Between Mongolia and Inner Mongolia.
Now before we can talk about quality of cashmere, we have to know how it is defined.
What determines good quality cashmere?
The two most prominent factors for cashmere fiber are its length(in mm) and its diameter(usually called fineness and measured in micron, 1 micron = 1*10-6 meter).
Ideally, the longer and thinner the cashmere, the better. But why do we chase after these characteristics? The answer is, put in layman’s terms, thinner fiber gives the product softer hand feel and longer fiber makes it less likely to pill.
As far as quality is concerned, there is another factor lesser known to outsiders. That’s the color of raw fiber. Natural cashmere fiber comes in three distinct colors, white cashmere from white goats, beige cashmere from red goats, and brown cashmere from black goats. Among them, white cashmere is most valued because it can be dyed into darker colors easily, whereas if beige and brown cashmere need to be turned into lighter colors, it can only be achieved through bleaching, which has a much greater negative impact on quality of fiber than dyeing.
Why is cashmere from Inner Mongolia the best?
It is without doubt that Inner Mongolia has the best cashmere in the whole world, both in terms of quantity and quality. Most cashmere from Inner Mongolia is white fiber and it has supreme fineness, length, and luster. In contrast, cashmere from Mongolia is mainly comprised of beige and brown fiber, with white fiber accounting for only 5%. And it is also known to be of lesser quality compared to Inner Mongolian Cashmere.
What are the places that the best cashmere goats live?
There are a few regions in Inner Mongolia that are renowned for the cashmere they produce.
- Alxa League: where luxury brands like Loro Piana sources its cashmere.
- Ordos: where the famous Arbas cashmere goats are from, and where our cashmere goat farm is located.
- Bayannur: where the famous ErLangShan cashmere goats are from.
All these regions are mainly the Gobi semi-deserts in the western half of Inner Mongolia where climate is atrociously harsh. (END)