Cashmere is a fine and luxurious fibre that is obtained from the Kashmir goat. It is a very rare commodity and it’s quality depends on the thickness of the fibres of hair obtained from the goats, which may range between 14 and 30 microns. This difference in thickness is usually determined by the origin of the goats and the lower the number of microns the higher the softness and quality. The cashmere fibre is also known as pashmina in the Persian language.
How is cashmere fibre graded?
One of the most important factors used to determine the quality of cashmere is the fineness of the hairs on the fibre as well as the length of these hairs. Garments made from long and thin fibres are normally considered to be of high quality since they tend to maintain shape for longer and are also more durable than those made from cashmere fabrics that have short, thick hair. This variation in thickness and length of the cashmere hairs results into a number of cashmere grades, with the best quality normally considered to have hairs whose diameter ranges between 14 and 15.5 microns. The three most common grades include:
Grade A fibre is usually the longest and thinnest, and is the best in terms of quality. The fibres have the smallest diameter, ranging from 14 to 15.5 microns. The threads are the finest and the feel is the softest as well. The fibres are longer than any other grades, normally from 34 to 36 mm. Cashmere products made from grade A fibre always last longer than the rest.
Grade B fibre is normally thicker than grade A, with a diameter of 19 microns. It is still a luxurious fabric, however it feels less soft and fine than grade A and also costs less.
This is the lowest quality of the cashmere fibre. It is very thick and is about twice in thickness to grade A. Grade C fabrics are about 30 microns in diameter and cost much more less than both grade A and B. Garments made from this grade usually feel less soft when touched.
Cashmere garments never list these grades on their labels and therefore if you want to go for one with the best quality then you should judge by its softness. The finer the width of the hairs, the softer the texture of the garment and the higher the quality. You will also be able to tell a good quality cashmere product by checking the price as most of them are always more expensive.