Cashmere wool, usually simply known as cashmere, is a fiber obtained from cashmere goats and other types of goat. Common usage defines the fiber as wool but it is finer and softer than sheep’s wool. Some say it is hair, but, in reality cashmere requires the removal of hair from the wool.
The word cashmere is an old spelling of the Kashmir. Cashmere is finer, stronger, lighter, softer, and approximately three times more insulating than sheep wool. Such wool product is the fine (dehaired)undercoat fibers produced by a cashmere goat (Capra hircus laniger). Average diameter of the fiber of such wool product does not exceed 19 microns; and does not contain more than 3 percent (by weight) of cashmere fibers with average diameters that exceed 30 microns. The average fiber diameter may be subject to a coefficient of variation around the meanthat shall not exceed 24 percent.
Cashmere wool fiber for clothing and other textile articles is obtained from the neck region of Cashmere and other goats. Historically, fine-haired Cashmere goats have been called Capra hircus laniger, as if they were a subspecies of the domestic goat Capra hircus. However, they are now more commonly considered part of the domestic goat subspecies Capra aegagrus hircus.
Cashmere goats produce a double fleece that consists of a fine, soft undercoat or underdown of hair mingled with a straighter and much coarser outer coating of hair calledguard hair. For the fine underdown to be sold and processed further, it must be de-haired.
De-hairing is a mechanical process that separates the coarse hairs from the fine hair. After de-hairing, the resulting “cashmere” is ready to be dyed and converted into textile yarn, fabrics and garments.
Cashmere is collected during the springmoulting season when the goats naturally shed their winter coat. In the Northern Hemisphere, the goats moult as early as March and as late as May.
In some regions, the mixed mass of down and coarse hair is removed by hand with a coarse comb that pulls tufts of fiber from the animal as the comb is raked through the fleece.
The collected fiber then has a higher yield of pure cashmere after the fiber has been washed and dehaired. The long, coarse guard hair is then typically clipped from the animal and is often used for brushes, interfacings and other non-apparel uses. Wikipedia