Cashmere - Brief overview of Production Areas and Quality
FNA | 27 August 2014

Cashmere goats in Inner Mongolia

Cashmere is one of the world’s rare specialty fibres. In the textile industry the high-grade raw materials is known as the “diamond fibre” and “soft gold.” Cashmere goats ward off cold in the mountains by growing a layer of wool and root growth of delicate and abundant hair, referred to as cashmere. The colder the weather, the richer the cashmere with finer, more valuable fibres.

As the Kashmir region of Asia has historically been the hub of cashmere exports to Europe, so cashmere in the international market is accustomed to being known as Cashmere.

World cashmere industry overview - Production Profile
The world’s major cashmere producing countries are China, Mongolia, Iran, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Turkey and other minor countries. China is the world’s largest producer of cashmere production, accounting for more than 70% of world output; Mongolian cashmere production accounts for about 20%. It has an important economic value and a variety of uses. Since the 1970’s Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, the United States, also have begun to develop a cashmere industry.

Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Tibet, Qinghai, Gansu, Ningxia, Shanxi, Hebei, Shandong and Liaoning cashmere regions are the main producing areas in China. Inner Mongolia has China’s largest number of cashmere goats and is a high yielding area due to climate and topography.

Quality Overview
The value of cashmere fibre is governed by three kinds of factors: fineness, length and colour. The International Textile industry demands cashmere fineness with a diameter of 13.0 ~ 16.0 microns for the best in the international market. The length of the fibres is also an important price factor.

Cashmere colours are blue velvet Zi Rong, which is one of the most precious and accounts for only about 30% of world production. Mongolian cashmere colour is blue, violet-based. About 5% of white cashmere and 70% of blue velvet and Zi Rong have a length of 35 ~ 37mm and a fineness of between 13 ~ 15 microns.

Afghanistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and other Central and West Asian countries produce velvet to dark, of short length and coarser to the touch. Afghan cashmere fibre has a diameter of 16.5 ~ 17.5 microns; Iranian cashmere fibre has a diameter of 17.5 ~ 19 microns; cashmere fibre of the Don in Russia is around 19.5 microns; Turkey’s fibre diameter is 16 ~ 17 microns: Australian feral cashmere has a fibre diameter of 16.5 ~ 16.9 microns. China’s cashmere enjoys good fineness with a fibre diameter of 13 ~ 15 microns and produces a higher proportion of white cashmere, accounting for about 40%.

In northern China, including Xinjiang, Qinghai, Gansu, Ningxia, Inner Mongolia, Liaoning and other places, mainly produce a the length of 34 ~ 42mmicron white dehaired cashmere. This is the primary raw material for knitwear. The central part of Shaanxi – such as Shanxi itself, Shandong, Hebei produce a length of between 22 ~ 32mm of dehaired cashmere that is suitable for production of woollen woven products. Tibet Zirong has a fineness of about 14.8 microns and a length of 34mm and is soft to the touch, with a pure colour and unique popular styles of finished products.

The Liaoning Cashmere goat produces a high volume of cashmere individually. Alashan (Inner Mongolia) cashmere goats, those in Arbas, Erlang mountain goats and Chifeng Saihan goats produce cashmere which is very white with a length of 36mm or more and a , fineness of 15.3 microns or below.