So why is Cashmere so expensive ? 100% cashmere has a rarity value that makes it desirable, and that makes it expensive.
Unlike wool, Cashmere is actually made from the hair of the Kashmir goat. It is a very strong natural product, both soft and light in texture, and warmer than wool while weighing 10 times less.
Cashmere goats thrive in a very small part of the world, with an extremely harsh climate. The wool is harvested only once a year, and it is a complex process of combing the goat (rather than clipping), then separating the soft undercoat hair from the coarser top hair of the goat. This coarser hair is shorter than the fine underhair, and cheaper yarns are made up by leaving out the separation process - in the case of the cheaper high street garments, it is likely that this coarse shorter hair has not been removed - this results in a poorer quality cashmere that will eventually cause bobbling on the finished fabic or garment.
The intricate step of combing out and separating the fine cashmere hair is time consuming and adds to the rarity and the cost. The yarn is then dyed ready for production.
Only a few ounces of cashmere can be harvested from each goat each year. So to give perspective, to create a single 100% cashmere sweater for a woman, would require the hair from 3 goats harvested over one year. Cashmere is reknowned for its durability and its adaptable insulating properties make it comfortable for all seasons and all climates.
Which is why a 100% cashmere blanket can range in price from over £1,500 for a single blanket to almost £3,000 for a large kingsize blanket.
An alternative to buying lower quality cashmere, is to buy blended cashmere. Blending can make cashmere more affordable, but cost will depend on the percentage of the blend, the bigger the percentage of cashmere, the more expensive. The ideal blend is with lambs wool, which is the highest quality of sheep's wool and is supremely soft, smooth, and resilient. Because of its soft silkiness and warmth, it is ideal for the production of garments worn close to the skin. Lambswool is harvested at the sheeps' very first shearing. and is the most hypoallergenic of all wools, with a resistant to dust mites, which is ideal for bedding and linens.
To compare prices of 100% cashmere vs a blended cashmere and lambswool, a blanket with 15% cashmere blended with 85% soft lambswool can cost as little as £200 to £300.