The Difference Between Wool and Cashmere
Many of our customers have expressed curiosity about the difference between wool and cashmere. You may have heard that cashmere is a type of wool, but this is not exactly the case. Wool is a fiber obtained from sheep, while cashmere comes from the soft undercoat of a type of goat. Cashmere goats naturally shed this overcoat in the spring when the weather warms up. Because each goat can produce only a few ounces of cashmere fiber each year, and because the fibers are so soft and fine, cashmere is considered more luxurious than wool, and often comes at a higher price.
Cashmere and wool do share many properties in common. Both are protein- or animal-based fibers which have a hollow core. The air within the hollow core, and the loft produced by the natural wave or crimping of the fibers, makes them very insulating and warm in cold weather. Cashmere has an extra advantage in that its high moisture content means that its insulating ability changes with the humidity of the surrounding air, which makes it comfortable to wear even in warmer climates.
Cashmere is generally softer than most varieties of wool, and can be tolerated even by many people who find wool to be scratchy. This is due to the fineness of the cashmere fibers, which are less than 19 microns in thickness. Thus, a cashmere garment is also generally more lightweight than wool. On the other hand, wool is generally more durable. This is why you will often find wool/cashmere blends used for outergarments such as coats. These blends combine the softness and fine hand of cashmere with the durability of wool to produce a garment that looks good, feels great, and makes a good investment.