The Hexi Cashmere is used
primarily in the production of cashmere fiber. Found mainly in China, the
largest producer of cashmere down. Hexi Cashmere goats are usually white but
sometimes they are black, brown, or pied.
The name "cashmere" comes from
Kashmir, the wild and mountainous area of India and Pakistan; however, the
fiber came from Tibet and was woven in Kashmir. We know that in 15th Century
India, more than 50,000 people were employed in the processing of cashmere.
In the 19th Century, a Scottish manufacturer,
Joseph Dawson, developed the first mechanical method of separating the fine
down fibers in the goat's fleece from the coarser outer hairs. This
breakthrough shifted the cashmere manufacturing to Scotland and the modern era
of fine cashmere knitwear began. Recently this business has shifted back to China,
the origin of the fiber. Importing the latest technology and quality control
from Japan, China has become the major source of high quality cashmere
The best cashmere garments are, to a great
extent, made by hand. This starts with the combing of the goats. Each goat is
combed by hand in the spring when they are shedding the fine underdown that
protected them during the winter. These fleeces are then washed and dehaired,
dyed and spun mechanically. The hand work returns in the knitting.
Each knitting frame is operated by hand. The
knitter pays careful attention to the specifications of the garment being
knitted. Critical factors like yarn tension and garment shape are monitored
The finished garments are then individually inspected
to insure perfection. All this hand work is what separates a Chinese-made
garment from garments from other sources where the labor is too expensive to
allow for this kind of individual attention.
The finest cashmere comes from the high desert
plateaus surrounding the Gobi desert. The yarn is so fine that it takes 4 miles
of it to make 1 sweater.