How to examine the quality of cashmere during purchase

Recognizing good, pure cashmere is not easy. Even a professional cannot know simply by touching the garment whether or not it has other fibers, such as sheep wool, which is a lot cheaper than cashmere, added to it. Only a laboratory analysis can determine this for sure. However, remembering a few tips upon which we shall now elaborate will make choosing a cashmere garment a lot easier.

  • Cashmere is the wool of Tibetan mountain goats, so an old and well- known technique commonly used with wool will work. Light a single thread on fire. You should smell burning hair and the ashes should crumble between your fingers. If the thread forms a hard lump, the scarf includes synthetic materials. Sadly, this method can’t always be used during purchase.
  • Cashmere has a special “underfur”. If you wrap the material around your hand and look at it against the light you will see a tender fluff on its surface. These are the extremely fine cashmere fibers. Normal and merino wools do not possess this quality.
  • Cashmere is extremely soft to touch, it’s like like it almost immediately wraps around you and makes you feel warm. However you will not feel sweaty like you eventually would in a thick woollen jumper since cashmere fibers are light and excess warmth is thus aired out.
  • Good cashmere can't be cheap by definition. If you purchase a ten dollar pashmina at a street market, be prepared that it can include any fibers but the presence of cashmere itself is not guaranteed. The same applies to big, affordable brands. The fraction of cashmere in a product can be extremely small despite all the labels screaming “The touch of cashmere”. The prices of cashmere products by famous brands can start at around five hundred dollars. However, cashmere products are a great investment since, when well taken care of, they will remain in perfect condition for many years.
  • Cashmere does not have to be purchased in an expensive boutique to be good. If you're travelling in a country known for its cashmere production such as Mongolia, India, Nepal, Pakistan, or certain parts of China, you can find good cashmere there. Talk to the locals and examine the local stores with our advice in mind. You will be happy with the result!