Why is Cashmere So Expensive? The Top 5 Reasons Behind Cashmere Prices!
Table of contents
- There are grades of cashmere
- Cashmere is rare
- Cashmere has limited production capability
- Cashmere has a high demand, but low supply
- Cashmere is just that good of a material
Whenever you read about cashmere, you’ve probably noticed that it’s constantly being described with adjectives like ‘prestigious’, or ‘luxurious’. That’s no coincidence. We’ve already told you a bit about where cashmere comes from, as well as shown you the main differences between cashmere and many other popular clothing fibres. Keeping all that info in mind, let’s now answer one of the most popular cashmere questions. Why is cashmere expensive?
There are Grades of Cashmere
Not all cashmere is created equal. And as with most things in the world, the higher quality a thing is, the more expensive it becomes. Cashmere has a grading system to help determine whether it’s of high or low-quality fibers. There are three quality grades of cashmere: A, B, and C.
- Grade A: Indicates the best quality cashmere. Clothes made from this type of cashmere are guaranteed to provide the smoothest and finest feel. The individual grade A cashmere hairs have an average width of about 14 microns.
- Grade B: This is your run-of-the-mill cashmere. With width hair of usually close to 20 microns, this grade of cashmere still indicates fairly good quality, but you can expect some scratchy feeling already.
- Grade C: The black sheep of the cashmere family. Grade C cashmere has thick strands of hair of 30 microns and can be even thicker. This cashmere is almost guaranteed to itch and scratch, as such it’s not recommended to wear it directly against the skin.
You should always look for an indication of the quality of your cashmere. Grade A cashmere may be the most expensive, but it’s also the finest, highest quality one. So keep in mind these types of cashmere when buying your garments. And also keep an eye out for any blends in cashmere clothes. 100% cashmere is where it’s at!
Cashmere is Rare
Cashmere comes from a very specific species of goats, one that can’t live anywhere in the world. The cashmere goats live almost exclusively in specific regions of Mongolia, China, and the Himalayans. They also don’t produce the precious wool 24/7, 365 days a year. This dramatically limits the time cashmere can be harvested.
Let’s put some numbers on the rarity of cashmere, shall we? There are almost 1,200,000 tonnes of wool being produced yearly and an estimated 24,000 tons of cashmere produced per year. That makes cashmere about 99.8% rarer than sheep wool. And such rarity has its costs!
Cashmere has Limited Production Capability
Another reason why cashmere is so expensive is its limited production. This is something tightly connected to cashmere’s rarity factor. Not only are cashmere goats rare, and their undercoat fur sheds only after a long winter, but they also don’t produce that much of it at once. In fact, it takes about 3 goats to produce enough cashmere for a single scarf.
The processing of cashmere also can’t be significantly scaled up. Everything, from shearing the goats, through sorting the individual fibres, to the weaving process is done by hand, by expert artisans. The time it takes to craft a single scarf also varies greatly. A single cashmere scarf can take either a couple of days or a couple of weeks to be made.
Cashmere is Just That Good of a Material
With all these factors increasing the price of cashmere, you may be thinking to yourself: “Is cashmere worth it?”. And the answer is a resounding “Yes!”. High-quality cashmere doesn’t cause skin irritation, it’s warmer than other wools, and it’s very fine, smooth, and unbelievably lightweight. In fact, there are so many qualities of cashmere, that we created an entire article about them.
And now you know the answer to why is cashmere so expensive. It’s a combination of many factors which all shape the price of one of the most luxurious materials in the world. The next time you wear your cashmere clothes, think of how rare and prestigious this material truly is.