Are there different grades of cashmere?
Yes, there is.
The quality of de-haired cashmere is assessed by
- Diameter of the fibre (14 to 19 micrometres)
- Colour (grey, white and brown)
- Length (150 to 450 millimetres)
- Course hair content
The most important of these qualities is the diameter of the cashmere fibre. This has the biggest influence on the price of the cashmere. Cashmere fibre diameters of 14 to 16 micrometres are considered the best and most valuable. (To help you visualise, the average width of a human hair ranges between 60 and 100 microns in thickness.)
The next most important quality of cashmere fibre is the colour. White is considered most valuable because it can be used as it is, and it can be dyed to fashionable pastel shades. Brown is the least valuable colour because it can only be dyed to darker shades. The fibres can be bleached but this badly affects the softness of the cashmere.