Are there different grades/quality of cashmere?
Posted on December 11 2020
In short – yes! This impacts on how much you should be paying too. So, do your research and be informed as to the quality of the yarn and its process. Other factors that can influence price are also design, brand name and a heritage factory. These things may be important to some, but quality and great design are the key, in my humble opinion.
First, check the label. It may not be 100% pure cashmere. Sometimes cashmere is mixed in with wool, possum or ‘other’ and labelled cashmere, which it isn’t… Only cashmere should be called ‘cashmere’. Combining cashmere with less expensive yarns such as silk, wool and synthetic fibres compromises the coveted softness and insulating properties of cashmere. It also lowers the value of the garment so should be offered at a lower price point. This isn’t to say that some mixes don’t have their place.
Second, there are different grades of cashmere – A, B and C. This is dependent on a few factors; the purity of the thread, the section of fibre (between 14-18 microns) and the length. The longer and thinner the raw material, the finer and more valuable the thread. The thread should also always be 2 ply (two threads twisted together) which makes for a garment that hangs beautifully and maintains its shape. All making for that ultimately desirable silky, soft and light luxury garment.
Grade A cashmere is soft to the touch without heavy washing as part of the production process, which is what B-C grade yarn requires to achieve the same softness. Soft doesn’t mean fluffy though, lower grade cashmere will be fluffy due to the washing process. And lower grade pieces will pill badly and not have the longevity of A grade.
When following the care instructions for your beautiful A grade garment, you will have a piece that softens beautifully over time and maintains its shape.
It really is a magical and very special fibre, which is what elevates it into the luxury sphere.