Cachemire and Alpaca are among the most luxurious wools around the world.
Cachemire comes from the Capra Hircus goat while Alpaca wool comes from this superb camelid, alpaca which lives in the high plateau in the Andes of Peru and Bolivia (between 3000m and 5000m high).
Cachemire : China has a production of about 10 000 tons per year.
This region provides the 3/4 of the total production. Pure cachemire is obtained in getting rid off the animal grease, the thick hair and therefore represents 6 000tons per year. The cachemire wool is a very fine fiber : from 14 to 19 microns. It is very soft.
This little goat is also called the Pashmina goat. Though the pashmina is a softer cachemire coming from the chest of the goat where the hair is softer. But there is often a confusion between the raw material pashmina and the word Pashmina itself which tends to become a generic word for a simple stole even in wool or polyester.
Alpaca and Baby alpaca : It exists 2 types of Alpacas the Huacayas which provide about 80% of the production and the Suris which hair is longer and silky.
Alpaca is a nice animal, sociable but reserved. It can be trained easily. Alpaca wool was considered as the fiber of the Gods. Only the Inca Royalty had the right to be dressed with alpaca clothing.
The Alpaca wool production is about 4 000 tons per year. to make a comparison sheep wool represents 500 000 tons per year.
The alpaca fiber is also very thin : from 15 microns to 25 microns.
Baby alpaca fiber is even more finer. It is a selection of the thinest and finest alpaca fibers which are found on the chest of the animal and after the first shaving of the 2 year old alpacas.
What are the advantages of Alpaca wool ?
Alpaca and Baby Alpaca wool arer very soft and warm. It contains microscopic air pockets that allow to create light knitwear and clothing with incomparable thermal properties.
Also Alpaca is more resistant than cachemire. Even very thin it is a resistant wool that lasts over time.
Recently alpaca clothes in good state have been found in Peru dating 2500 years.
Alpaca wool does not peel and keeps its shape during washing. It has a natural radiance which gives knitwear and clothes a beautiful look.