Why are some cashmere sweaters $75 while others cost thousands of dollars? How do you know that you are holding 100% cashmere just by touching and looking at it? While cashmere is the ultimate sign of luxury, it still isn’t easy for everyone to separate high-quality cashmere from poor ones. Pure cashmere is expensive due to labor-intensive production methods and the scarcity of the material when collected from goats. Keep reading to find out how you can become a cashmere connoisseur and be able to tell the difference between high-quality cashmere and cashmere-blend fabrics.
Check the Label
Oftentimes, brands will label a garment “cashmere” when it is a blend between wool and cashmere. Blends make the item cheaper and greatly reduce the quality and feel of the product. The cashmere should be labeled as “100% cashmere” and Inner Mongolia is one of the best origins. However, even 100% cashmere pieces are not all equal, as the quality of manufacturing can impact how long your cashmere lasts. Thus, there are other methods for you to further investigate your product.
The Pilling Test
When you pick up the cashmere, you should see fibers that are about 1-2mm in length. Longer fibers may indicate that additional fibers have been added during the manufacturing process to make the product softer, but these extra hairs reduce the garment’s quality. To do the pilling test, run your fingers back and forth over the cashmere. If you see small wads of fibers, this means the cashmere is of poor quality. High-quality cashmere will pill over time due to friction, but this should not happen in the first few wears and washes.
The Itch Test
Gently rub the cashmere material on your neck, chin, or another sensitive skin area to test whether or not it is itchy. Cashmere should feel incredibly soft and light rather than itchy and rough.
The Stretch Test
Although cashmere is a delicate material, a high-quality cashmere piece should have no problem holding its shape after multiple wears. To test this, gently stretch out a portion of the garment and see how long it takes to bounce back into its original shape. Low-grade cashmere will stay in its stretched form or become misshapen, while pure cashmere will return to its previous form.
The Knit Test
A closely knitted cashmere should be more expensive than one that is loosely woven. Loose-knit cashmere signifies that less fabric was used that the garment is, therefore, less durable. To test this, lightly stretch a part of the item to inspect the tightness of the knit.
The Glue Test
If there are any labels or tags that are glued onto the product, it is likely fake cashmere. Glue cannot stay on real cashmere for long and genuine cashmere pieces will have tags sewn in.