Cashmere, a type of fine woolen fabric, is made from the processing of the hair of a goat named Capra Hircus, which lives on the Tibetan highlands, in the Himalayas and principally in Mongolia. The animal produces a particularly fine wool that is soft and warm, which protects it from the harshness of winter (-40° C). After the animal moults, or after shearing, its hairs are selected, cleaned and then woven into threads. Cashmere is much softer, warmer and holds more heat than sheep’s wool.
The name ‘cashmere’ is derived from ‘Kashmir’, because this is where the processing of the precious wool first developed, as a result traders who came from the Silk Road. Since then, the name has stuck – despite India’s production of the wool having reduced considerably. What many tourists end up with today in the name of cashmere or ‘pashmina’ is a fabric made from viscose. Authentic cashmere is very expensive, no matter which country you buy it in.