What Are The Differences Between Cashmere Grades?
For either a comforting windbreaker during a cold snap or a stylish way to battle back against the elements, cashmere clothing is a lightweight, delicate feeling yet resilient way to keep warm.
Made from the combed wool gathered from cashmere goats, cashmere garments are made from natural materials that inevitably can vary in thickness, length and quality, as well as colour, as natural cashmere is either grey, white or brown and this can affect the availability of certain colours, texture consistencies and patterns.
Most of these qualities are evaluated within the profession and given a grade from A to C, which has up until recently remained something of a trade secret.
It was seldom listed on the products themselves, which typically differentiated themselves by the amount of cashmere used relative to other materials. This is why tactile tests are often so important when evaluating cashmere garments in a retail context.
However, as cashmere has increased in popularity again, these secrets have revealed themselves.
Grade C Cashmere
Typically the lowest consistency fibre, Grade C cashmere has a diameter of around 30 microns, twice the diameter of the highest quality threads, alongside a relatively low or at least inconsistent length.
This typically makes it less soft and often less resilient, as the shorter strands need to be linked and loomed together to make them long enough to make clothes.
Cashmere grading is relative, so a Grade C cashmere garment is often still better than other wools, but is often the cheapest cashmere available and is typically seen in lower-cost clothes.
Grade B Cashmere
The difference between Grade B and Grade A cashmere is far more subtle than between Grades B and C. Grade B cashmere is typically around 19 microns in diameter, with fibre lengths shorter than Grade A.
Often this translates to very high quality, comfortable clothes that will last a long time, but slightly less long than Grade A cashmere.
Grade A Cashmere
The longest and finest fibres, Grade A cashmere has fibre diameters as low as 15 microns and strands as long as 36mm, which translates to the characteristic softness, lightness and warmth that cashmere has had a reputation of possessing for centuries.