5 Ways to Determine Good Quality Cashmere

Cashmere is known for its incredibly soft and warm yet lightweight and breathable qualities, making it a must-have fabric for any fall and winter closet. Higher grade cashmere is also very durable and elastic so it holds its shape well over time, allowing the wearer to enjoy its high quality and warmth for years to come. 

However, these qualities along with the complicated, time and labor-intensive cashmere production methods make the material very expensive. It is normal to see cashmere sweaters in luxury designer retail stores priced at several hundred, even a thousand dollars. Prices vary on the type of cashmere fabric, as well as the quality of construction.

The quality of cashmere is strongly dependent on the origin of the product, but also on the fineness and fiber length of the material. Long and fine cashmere fibers are used for high-quality fabric.

The word Cashmere is so widely used, here are the different materials that you might encounter in the market as Cashmere

Viscose: The most frequent imitation. Soft fabric, smooth to the touch, and slightly shiny. It wrinkles easily. 

Acrylic: soft synthetic fabric that tends to wrinkle, pill, and accumulate static.

Cashmere Silk: tightly woven, soft, and slightly shiny, complete with braided fringes. It is a natural and pleasant material but less expensive than pure Pashmina. 

Wool: sheep wool can be woven into diamond patterns and chemically made ​​softer. It is the imitation that is most difficult to tell apart from real pashmina. However, the fiber is less soft, less light, and less hot. And cheaper! But it is still a natural fiber.

Machine woven cashmere: It is not a cashmere strictly speaking since it is not woven by hand but woven industrially with Mongolian cashmere which has been added with a nylon thread to make it more resistant to the tension of the machine. This nylon thread is then dissolved in a chemical bath. Its appearance and touch are almost identical to that of a pashmina: only a very trained eye manages to recognize it.

Identifying the difference between cashmere and viscose is more difficult than it seems. Both fibers are remarkably soft. Cashmere is significantly more expensive, more durable, and much warmer than viscose.

Both viscose and cashmere can produce very soft fabrics. But cashmere is quite matt, without shine or shimmer. Viscose fibers have a remarkable sheen, especially when examined in strong light.  Viscose fibers rarely tend to pill. When you touch cashmere clothing for the first time, the surface should feel warm. At least you can tell very obvious counterfeits by the fact that they feel cool on the skin and shine slightly.

If the fabric is cold and slightly shiny, it is certainly viscose. This inferior synthetic fiber is often used in Turkish, Indian, and Chinese imitations because it is easy to produce and very cheap. If, on the other hand, the fabric feels warm, then that speaks for cashmere!

Good cashmere clothing has a very close-meshed structure. Because the looser the meshes, the less wool was used and the more savings the manufacturer wants to make. So tightly woven fabric is a criterion that you can be quite meaningful.

Similarly, you can gently pull the fabric apart – high-quality cashmere will return to its original shape even after being stretched, while low-quality cashmere will

remain stretched.

THE PRICE TEST

Lower-priced cashmere is most often an indication of lower quality. Cashmere is very expensive and rare. If you find a cashmere scarf selling for a cheap price it is most probably cheaper. At Alchemy Story we are able to offer reasonable prices for the product as we are the producer and no middle men are involved.

THE TOUCH TEST

Higher quality cashmere is soft and it softens over time with wear.  Some companies increase the softness by treating the cashmere with chemical additives and softeners or by over washing it.  This reduces the life of the cashmere garment, so beware of cashmere that feels unbelievably soft.  Rub the cashmere between your thumb and fingers, and then rub them together. 

PLY

Ply is the number of cashmere threads twisted together to make the cashmere yarn.  Two twisted threads are referred to as 2-ply, and 4 twisted threads are referred to as 4-ply etc.  Look for items that are at least 2-ply.  Higher plies such as 4-ply add additional warmth and smoothness but do not increase thickness.

PILING TEST

As Cashmere is a natural fiber it will definitely pill and pilling is a good sign. The nature of cashmere is to pill and can be easily removed by hand or by using a cashmere comb. Like a fine wine, cashmere will improve with age if cared for properly. we recommend you use a cashmere comb with all your cashmere products. Once you notice thicker balls of pilling form, take your cashmere comb to your fabric. It won’t hurt the fabric as long as you’re doing it where actual pilling exists.

STRETCH

Good quality cashmere will, while lower quality cashmere will remain out of shape.  Also, stretch it and look through it.  The tighter the knit of the cashmere the better it will retain its shape and be less susceptible to holes.

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