Eclectic Homes

Love Luxury? Comb Through the Wonders of Cashmere

We deliberate for hours over the finishing touches in our homes. We want our couches to have lovely throws our curtains to feel luxurious, our cushions to be plump and our beds to become havens. Cashmere is one of those textiles which may help in all those areas. It offers texture, warmth, lightness and sheen. Surprisingly flexible, cashmere is an unbelievable cloth that has to be touched to be considered.

Cecilie Starin Design Inc..

The origins of cashmere. The word “cashmere” originates from two words : “Kashmir,” from the Kashmir breed of goats that initially produced the wool, and also “pashm’,” that the Persian word for “wool.” This luxurious fabric is referenced in Indian papers as early as the next century.

However it was not until the 16th century that the word “cashmere” was first used, when spinners traveled to India along the Silk Road and spun and traded shawls. Around this time more than 50,000 of those craftsmen wove cashmere products for transaction.

Cravotta Interiors

Legend has it that Napoleon gave his wife Empress Eugenie, 17 cashmere shawls. The shawls have been said to be so fine that they might be drawn through her wedding ring. The celebrated “ring shawls” started a craze among the royal courts.

“Cashmere” was first used in the style lexicon around 1837, to refer to finely twilled apparel cloth in England, which was made from Kashmir goat wool.

These magnificent lakefront window panels are a gorgeous example of how you can use this cloth to its maximum potential in the 21st century.

Katerina Tana Design

How cashmere is made. The Kashmir goat lives on very high and dry terrains, such as the Gobi Desert in Mongolia, Iran and northern China. This particular breed sheds only once a year, that accounts for the high price of this cloth.

The shield hair, or the external coat on the goat, repels the components and shields the much finer undercoat, which can be used to make cashmere. The coarse coat is 1 1/2 to 2 inches long, while the finer undercoat is only 1 to 2 3 1/2 inches long.

Brian Dittmar Design, Inc..

In the spring, shepherds comb the fleece just before the goats start the shedding procedure, which lasts a few weeks. 1 goat generates about 1/2 pound of white, gray or brown fleece. White cashmere is the rarest.

The raw fiber is washed and the shield and undercoat hair are split, so that only the undercoat stays. This process reduces the weight of the total fleece by up to 50 percent. The soft undercoat then goes on to be dyed and spun.

The rarity of the raw material and also the hard work that goes into producing the final result makes it really precious; it requires fleece from roughly 40 goats to create one quilt.

Marlene Wangenheim AKBD, CAPS, Allied Member ASID

Modern cashmere. From the end of the 19th century, the Scottish had designed machinery to easily separate the Kashmir goats’ shield hair from the undercoat hair. This started cashmere’s commercial production.

Today some of the world’s finest cashmere comes from China — which generates around 70% of the planet’s cashmere. If you’re looking for the very best of the best, go for A-grade cashmere, that will have a fiber thickness of about 14 microns (14 millionths of a meter).

This library plays homage to a masculine, elegant style. These cashmere curtains are impeccable — maybe not glitzy or over the surface, using just the ideal amount of fall.

More: Browse cashmere throws and more in Products

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